Construction update

Progress continues as we move towards the end of the construction phase of the project, in October.

Highgate No. 1’s trianing wall is now almost finished with only work on the crest raising and spllway to be completed.


Training wall at Highgate No. 1

At Model Boating Pond, work is in progress installing the aquatic planting which will be placed around much of the new dam face and the new island. This planting has several benefits: it is visually attractive and makes the pond look natural; it provides excellent habitat for nesting birds, amphibians and fish; and it helps improve water quality by filtering and oxygenating the water. Previously the Model Boating Pond had been one of the worst on the Heath for biodiversity, but these new plants will change this situation, giving the pond a much richer ecological future.


Installing revetments for aquatic plants


Installing revetments for aqautic plants around the new island

The high heras fencing has now been completely removed around the extended compound and replaced with net fencing. This fencing has been put in place to protect the ground and also the newly seeded grass and wilflowers to grow. It will stay in place until the grass and wilflowers become established (approximately one growing season). If you would like to read more about the restoration of this area, you can read about it here.


The Ladies Pond Spillway area is now being prepared for turfing.


Ladies Pond spillway

All of the silt from Viaduct has now been removed from the Sports Pitch area. Some material will now be taken from the top in order to fill up the borrow pit in Pryor’s Field. The area will then be restored as a flat grassy field.


Sports Pitch area

The wooden decking at Hampstead No. 2 outlet is now almost finished and affords a lovely vew into the pond.


Hampstead No. 2

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Word from the ponds

With summer in full swing and the recent dry spell (to be broken over this weekend!), the conditions have been good for construction works.

Now that the works on top of the dam have been completed at Highgate No. 1, the focus is now on the spillway area. A training wall, made of oak sleepers, has been built along the boundary of Brookfield Mansions. In the event of the spillway coming into use, this wall will keep water on the spillway, and prevent it from flowing into the block of flats at Brookfield.


Training wall at Highgate No. 1


View of Highgate No. 1 from the dam

The upstream dam face at Model Boating Pond has now been turfed and is being watered daily to ensure the survival of the new turf.


Downstream face of Model Boating Pond

The path on top of the dam is now open to the public, with the Marylebone Bird Watchers spotting a kingfisher and a buzzard from the vantage point earlier this week.

Earthworks are taking place on the western side of the ponds, as the hillside is sculpted  as close to the original contours as possible.


View of the pond from the hillside to the west.

The island has now been excavated, apart from two narrow stips on each side, and revetments for the new aquatic plants are being installed.


Revetments for aquatic plants


The island

The high construction fencing has come down around the extended compound, and has been replaced with stock fening which will remain in place until the vegetation has had a chance to become established.


Extended compound

Turfing is now almost finished at Stock Pond.


Stock Pond

Desilting works at Viaduct Pond are now almost finished. Water quality will be much enhanced thanks to the removal of silt and debris from the pond bed.



The causeway at Mixed Pond is looking green and the turf is establishing well.


Mixed Pond


View of Mixed Pond across Hampstead No. 2

At Hampstead No. 2, work on the decking area continues and will be finished very soon.


Decking at Hampstead No. 2


Swan family with Hampstead No. 2 outlet in background.

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Progress update

As we approach mid-August, the Ponds Project continues to make good progress.

At Highgate No. 1, the timber capping on the sheet-pile dam is now finished. Work will soon begin on the spillway and training wall.


Highgate No. 1

Men’s Pond is finished other than some final aquatic planting, some fencing and turfing of the spillway.


Men’s Pond

Turfing is underway on the new dam at Model Boating Pond and the new path on top will be open to the public from Monday.


Turf being laid on new dam


New path to be opened on Monday


Island, looking south.


Egyptian geese enjoying the tranquility of the new island

The island is almost fully excavated, and water will be pumped into the channel in around two weeks. The reason for this delay is due to the weather and water levels. When the new channel is filled, the levels will drop temporarily in the existing pond, so BAM Nuttall are waiting until there is some wet weather forecast before this is completed.

The borrow pit is now completely filled and the extended work compound is being restored to grass land.


Borrow pit


Extended compound area

Desilting continues at Viaduct. Below is a photo of all the debris pulled out during the desilting operation.


Debris from Viaduct


Look closely and you can see a moped which was pulled from the bottom.


And a rather grubby teddy bear.

At Hampstead No. 2, the decking is being constructed. This includes a hand rail for safety.


Hampstead No. 2

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New route opens 15 August

From Monday, 15 August, the public will be able to admire the views from the new path on top of the Model Boating Pond dam.

The dam is currently being turfed.IMG_7786

When the new route is opened, the existing causeway path will be closed for a few days while it is resurfaced. We will be asking cyclists to dismount and walk their bikes while this work takes place.

Elsewhere on the Heath, the Mixed Pond causeway will be closed for one day on Monday, 15 August while it is resurfaced and the causeway between Hampstead No. 1 and No. 2 will be closed for one day on Tuesday, 16 August, while it is resurfaced.

Apologies for any inconvenience this causes.



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Latest from the Ponds Project

The timber capping on the sheet-pile wall at Highgate No 1 is progressing well.


Highgate No. 1


Highgate No. 1

Some ducting work between Highgate No. 1 and Men’s Bathing Pond is due to take place soon.  More on this here.

Men’s Pond is waiting on some fencing, and the turf for the spillway.


Men’s Bathing Pond

Preparations are underway to lay turf on the upstream face of the new dam at Model Boating Pond.


The upstream side of the dam at Model Boating Pond

The causeway to the island has now been constructed and the pipe which goes underneath is currently being finished off.


Model Boating Pond

At Ladies Pond, the fencing is now in place around the spillway. Reinforced turf will be laid here soon.


Ladies Pond spillway

The desilting work at Viaduct is now almost complete. Rock-rolls (visible in the picture below) are to be placed into the pond by the edges to ensure the new reed beds do not encroach into the pond.



Mixed Pond causeway is looking good with all turf now in place.


The decking of the inlet at Hampstead No. 2 continues.


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Limited access to path

IMG_7717.JPGOver the next day or two there is some work taking place to connect up power supplies which will power the new aerators which are being fitted in the ponds. One of these power supplies is located on the north edge of Highgate No.1, next the path between Highgate No. 1 and Men’s Bathing Pond. The photograph above shows the location of the new cabinet which will house the electrical supply.  The aerators will help oxygenate the water and improve the water quality. To connect the supply, some ducting needs to be run beneath the path. This is the best place for it, to avoid tree roots. While the work takes place the path will have limited access for pedestrians. We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause.

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Update – 3 months to go

With only 3 months of construction on the project left to go, it’s all hands on deck finishing off the construction element at the various ponds.

On Highgate No. 1, a timber capping is being added to the the sheet-pile wall.


Highgate No. 1

At Men’s Pond, the construction of the sheet-pile wall has been completed, with only fencing and turfing of the spillway left.


Spillway waiting to be turfed at Men’s Pond

The aquatic planting which was put in a month or so ago, is esablishing well. Not only does this planting look nice and help soften the pond edge, it also has a beneficial impact on water quality and provides good habitat for wildlife to feed and nest. It must first become established, and it is fenced off to protect it from wildfowl while it is immature.


Aquatic planting at Men’s Pond

As Model Boating Pond the island is nearly fully excavated.


Island at Model Boating Pond

The borrow pit is also now full up.


Borrow pit

Turfing is now beeing finished at Stock Pond


Stock Pond

An operation to desilt Viaduct Pond is still underway. This is taking longer than planned due to the amount of debris in the pond. The pictures below show how the operation takes place.



An excavator removes silt and larger debris and places it in a skip which is being floated on pontoons



These are then separated and the silt is being left to dry in the work compounds, before it will be placed in the borrow pit at Pryor’s Field.



Woody debris removed from the pond

At Catchpit, a channel south of the dam is currently being exacavated. This is another environmental enhancement  to the Heath and will provide good habitat for amphibians and birds to feed from.


Channel south of Catchpit dam

Turfing is now nearly complete at Mixed Pond.


Mixed Pond

The decking is now being added to the top of the Hampstead 2 outlet, with a little help from the swans!


Hampstead No. 2

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