Moving on

The Ponds Project has now come to an end, with the exception of the restoration of some of the work compounds. We won’t be updating this blog anymore, but you can keep up to date with activities on the Heath in various ways:

On Twitter: @CityCorpHeath

On facebook:

On our web pages:

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Time lapse video

During the construction of the Model Boating Pond dam we had a time-lapse camera taking a photo every few seconds during working hours. We’ve put these altogether, along with some of the drone footage which we’ve published on this blog before, to create a short film showing the progress of the large scale works.

You can view the 3.36 min video here.


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It’s competition time

After the success of our writing competition for young people last year, we’ve decided to run a series of three competitions (art, science and writing) related to the Ponds Project.

Our writing and science competitions are for secondary schools students (years 7 to 11), and are both themed aroundĀ  ‘Hampstead Heath of the Future’. The closing date for both is 6 April 2017.

We are also running an art competition for school children of all ages, in partnership with the Affordable Art fair and Anscombe and Ringland. The challenge is to create an artwork entitled ‘Wildlife on the Heath’ using the Heath as your inspiration.

If you know any young people who might be interested, please contact us on 020 7332 3738 or email for more information on the rules of the competitions and how to enter. You can also check out our website for information about this, and free education sessions that we run:


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Mother nature kicks in

Nearly two months after construction completion, nature’s amazing ability to regenerate is evident in the work sites and compounds.


Model Boating Pond

The hill-side next to Model Boating pond is beginning to look green as grass and wild flower seed establishes.

The island and pond are also looking good in the winter sun.


Grass on the Sports Field is also shooting back to life.


Sports Field

The haul road and work compound at Pryor’s Field were seeded slightly later, but green shoots are visible.


Haul road


Pryor’s Field

South of the Catchpit dam a new channel has been dug allowing water to flow down towards the Mixed Pond. Previously, this water would have flowed through a pipe under the ground. The benefits of having it above ground are: it becomes a wetland habitat and provides feeding and habitat for wildlife, including birds, insects and amphibians. Plants which like marsh habitats will also be able to grow around the new stream.


North of the Catchpit, the silt trap has filled up with water flowing down the chain.


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More tree planting

Last week, BAM planted more trees to replace some of those removed at the beginning of the project.

Two semi-mature London Plane trees were planted by the deck at Hampstead No. 2 pond, to replace the two mature trees removed to allow the culvert to be built. These are in slightly different locations to the removed trees but will still be part of theĀ  existing avenue of trees.

Planting has also taken place at the bottom of the weir at Hampstead No. 1. Ivy has been planted to help camoflage the concrete as well as a few yew trees.


Hampstead No. 1

Over on the Highgate Chain, a new hedge has been planted in the place of the former path which was removed to protect the veteran oak tree.


Hedge planting

This hedge is made up of a mixture of shrubs including blackthorn and hawthorn. This will become a good habitat for nesting birds.

The Heath team will be carrying out more planting work over the winter months and into spring.

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Before and after

Last week we commissioned a drone flight to get some pictures of the Model Boating Pond now the construction work has been completed. Below are the new images and also similar images taken previously to compare the pond and landscape, during and after the Ponds Project.


Model Boating Pond – August 2015


Model Boating Pond – November 2016


Model Boating Pond – April 2016


Model Boating Pond – November 2016

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Through the seasons

Regular Heath visitor, David Cole, has been kind enough to send a selection of photos he has been taking from the same position on Hampstead Heath, as the works have progressed. David swims in the Men’s Pond daily and has been taking these pictures of the new dam at Model Boating Pond on his visits.

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