The finishing touches

Now the majority of construction works are finished, the focus moves to environmental restoration, specifically seeding and planting.

The areas to the west of Model Boating Pond have now been seeded and we are waiting for the green shoots to appear.The hillside has a bluish-green colour as it is the reminents of a dye used during the hydroseeding process.


Model Boating Pond

BAM Nuttall have also been carrying out some more work on the paths around the pond which have been getting water-logged when it rains.

Planting has been taking place at the Men’s Pond along the pond-side of the sheet-pile wall. This planting helps to camoflage and naturalise the wall. Pendulus sedge has been planted right along the front.This is a tall, perennial plant which forms large, dense tufts. It has been chosen as it grows well on heavy clays and should thrive in this location.


Planting at Men’s Pond


Planting at Men’s Pond

Environmental works are also taking place at the northern end of Men’s Pond where the corner of the pond is being slightly extended and planted with reeds in order to act as a sediment and filter bed to reduce the inputs into the pond. Two woody check dam have also been fitted here to collect sediment and debris before it enters into the pond. This work here is still in progress.


North west corner of Men’s Pond


North west corner of Men’s Pond

A number of trees and shrubs are also due to be planted but this will take place in November which is a more appropriate time to plant.


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Ponds Project provides homes for bats, birds and insects!

One of the first posts on this blog was about the installation of bat boxes as part of the environmental mitigation of the project. In March 2015  six boxes were put up to compensate for the loss of two small features in trees removed during the site clearance works for the Ponds Project. Another six have been put up as environmental enhancments and a further eight are to be installed.

Last week members of the Heath’s conservation and ecology team carried out regular monitoring of the boxes.


In one box there was a pipistrelle bat.



In a further four boxes, there was plenty of bat droppings – 18g of poo compared to the one bat, which weighed 6g. This is a good indication the boxes are being frequented by several bats.

And it’s not just bats making use of these boxes, three bird nests were also found, (we think these belong to blue-tits) along with several species of spider and a wasp nest.


Bird nest


Wasp nest


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Construction completion

This week marks the final completion of the construction phase of the project – 18 months since the project started in April 2015. To mark the occassion on Wednesday the paths around the Model Boating Pond were opened to the public. The island is still fenced off while grass becomes established.

Construction works across the Heath have now been completed with only some finishing off work remaining. This includes restoring the compound  and haul road at Pryor’s Field.


Haul road which has been seeded


Pryor’s Field compound

The area south of  Viaduct Pond is also being restored and the path replaced.


Viaduct Pond

There are still large areas of ground fenced off to allow turf  and seed to establish and the Heath staff will closely monitor these area and take fences down as soon as they can. There are also a number of trees and shrubs to be planted which I will describe in more detail soon.

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Ponds project progress

The finishing touches are being added to the various sites with the construction elment of the project expected to be finished on programme by the end of the month.

The spillway at Highgate No. 1 pond is now covered in turf.


Highgate No 1 spillway

On the path past Men’s Bathing Pond, we are removing a section of the old path, and instead making the diversion (where the old pond box stood) the permanent path. This is to protect the roots of a veteran oak tree, which is nearby.


Old path removed to protet veteran oak



Section of path from causeway by Model Boating Pond

The Model Boating pond is now almost finished, with some finishing work taking place on the paths around it. From next Wednesday (12, October) at 10.30am the paths will be open to the public. The island and the areas which have been turfed and seeded will remain fenced off to protect the ground until the grass has become established.


Model Boating Pond

The swan family from Highgate No. 1 must have heard about the new re-landscaped pond and have moved up to have a closer look.


Swans on Model Boating Pond

The new aquatic plants are now being fenced off to protect them from wildfowl and dogs


Fencing aquatic plants

Around Model Boating Pond there are a number of different edges – some with reeds, some without, and some the original sheet pile finish. This part of the design was developed after consultation with stakeholders, and is to ensure the pond can still be used by anglers and model boaters. An example of the new hard edge can be seen below – top soil is still to be placed behind the wooden poles to fill the gap.


Hard edge at Model Boating Pond

Hydroseeding has been taking place this week in the compound next to Model Boating Pond. The seed is applied with a blue/green dye which helps with a more even distribution.


Hydroseeded area


Hydroseeded area

The final path surface has been laid at Stock Pond. A golden gravel has been applied to the tarmac finish.


Stock Pond

A similar finish has been applied at Vale of Health, Mixed Pond and the causeway between Hampstead 1 and 2.


Vale of Health


Mixed Pond


Hampstead No. 2 causeway

A similar finish is to be applied to the path which runs past Sports Pitch and that work is taking place now.


Path to be resurfaced

Aquatic planting is currently underway at Hampstead No. 1 pond and at Mixed Pond.


Hampstead No. 1


Mixed Pond

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Progress – 1 month to go!

With one month left of the construction period, it’s all hands on deck getting the work completed.

Last week the turf was laid on the spillway at Highgate No. 1.


Spillway at Highgate No. 1

At Model Boating Pond work has also been focused on turfing the spillway.


Spillway at Model Boating Pond

Landscaping work has also been continuing along with the aquatic planting.


Model Boating Pond


Model Boating Pond

The path from Parliament Hill to the Model Boating Pond has now been re-laid with a tarmac finish.


Path resurfacing

From next week, the Ladies Pond will be closed for two weeks while we carry out essential maintenance works to the building. Ladies only swimming is available at Mixed Pond from 7am until 4.30pm, and mixed swimming will be available at Men’s Pond from 7am to 8.45am during this two week period.


Ladies Pond

The turfed spillway at Stock Pond is establishing well.


Stock Pond

On the Hampstead Chain the Catchpit is now at it’s final profile and has been partially turfed.



The borrow pit in Pryor’s Field is now almost completely filled up. This has been filled with the dried out silt taken from Mixed Pond and Viaduct Pond plus some material from Sports Field.


Pryor’s Field borrow pit

The turf at Mixed Pond has also established well and is looking green and lush.


Mixed Pond

Aquatic planting will be continuing at Mixed and Hampstead No. 1 in the next week.

There will also be a series of path closures as resurfacing work takes place. More information on this can be found here.


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Path closures

Next week we have a number of path closures while resurfacing work takes place. We apologise for any disruption but these works will have a positive impact on the Heath by improving path surfaces throughout.

The schedule of work is as follows:

Monday 3 October

  • Stock Pond will be closed for a short period while a tar and chip finish is added to the path.
  • Vale of Heath will be closed for a short period while a tar and chip finish is added to the path.
  • Junction of the path by Parliament Hill playground will be closed while old path is dug out.

Tuesday 4 October

  • Junction of the path by Parliament Hill playground will be closed while new tarmac is laid.
  • Causeway between Hampstead 1 and 2 will have a short closure while a tar and chip finish is added to the path.
  • Half of Mixed Pond causeway will be closed for a short period while a tar and chip finish is added to the path. The other half will remain open for pedestrian access.

Wednesday 5 October

  • Stock Pond so tarmac wagon for ladies can work from it.
  • Mixed Pond will have path repairs, but there will be pedestrian access.

Thursday 6 October

  • Other half of Mixed Pond causeway will be closed for a short period while a tar and chip finish is added to the path.
  • Path by Sports Pitch will be closed while old path is removed.

Friday 7 October

  • Path by Sports Field closed for tarmac works.


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Ponds Project Progress

With less than six weeks left until the end of construction there is pleantly of activity happening across all of the sites.

Path resurfacing works are going well with around 200m (next to Men’s Pond) still to be laid. This will take place next week. At some points the edges of the path have been filled in with top soil which will be seeded.


New path surface at Parliament Hill

The spillway is under construction at Highgate No. 1. The new path has now been laid and is open. These pictures from earlier this week show the path surfacing in progress.


Highgate No. 1 – path surfacing


Highgate No. 1 – path surfacing

The spillway will be turfed now that the path has been completed.

The spillway at Men’s Pond has now been turfed and the works at this pond are now finished. The spillway will remain fenced off from the public to allow the turf to become established.


Men’s Pond spillway

Works continue on aquatic planting at Model Boating Pond, and the final earthworks are taking place in the compound to the west of the pond.


Island taken from the dam


New dam with aquatic planting in front, looking east


Eygyptian goose admiring the new island


Island looking north-east


Model Boat sailing on pond


Island and pond – looking east

One section of the new path around the pond may look slightly different and this is due to the fact a special pourous surface is being used to protect the tree roots underneath. The path goes between a willow and an oak which we were keen to protect.

MBP 21 Sep 2016 (27).JPG

Section of path which will have pourous surface

The area which was borrow pit has now been finished and the ground has been carefully  prepared for hydroseeding. Hydroseeding is a planting process which uses a mulch of seed and water. This is spryaed from a hose. It enables large areas to be seeded in a relatively short space of time.


Model Boating Pond compound

Over on the Hampstead Chain, the Sports Pitch is now waiting for the ground to be prepared for hydroseeding. The mounds you can see in the background of the below picture, is the topsoil which will be spread out first.


Sports Pitch

The top of the Catchpit is now being shaped into its final profile.



Aquatic works are currenly taking place at Mixed Pond. Planting is taking place at both northern and southern ends of the pond. The planting at the northern end of the pond is a mixture of common clubrush, lesser pond sedge and yellow iris. These plants will help to filtrate the water as it arrives in to Mixed Pond from further up the chain. At the southern end, the plants are a mixture of soft rush, water mint, gypsywort, purple loosestrife, lesser pond sedge and yellow iris. These plants will look good, and also help oxygen levels in the ponds and provide good habitat for wildlife.

There are also more aquatic works due to take place at Hampstead No. 1 and No. 2.

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