Early in the development of the Ponds Project, the Vale of Health pond was identified as one of the more sensitive ponds and because of this, the scale of work was minimised. The Vale of Health Pond has one of the steepest dams on the Heath with the causeway path running right along the top of it.
As part of the designs, a new spillway is required at the Vale of Health and this has been positioned in the southern corner of the pond, where the dog area is located. This location was chosen as it is the lowest spot on the current dam. This spillway will allow water to leave the pond safely, in the event of a large storm, without causing damage to the dam. The spillway will be grass lined and will look similar to what is there now. One tree (a Robinia) has been removed to construct this spillway, but the designs have been carefully considered to save the Giant Redwood.
In the above plan, you can see the new spillway marked in brighter green at the bottom of the image. You can view, and zoom in on, the environmental masterplan here: Vale of Health Pond PDF.
The new spillway will be turfed in a grass and wild flower mix, which has been specifically designed to fit in with the Heath’s landscape. The dam crest also needs to be raised a small amount and this is being done by installing a kerb which will sit along the path, in font of the fence on the downstream side of the dam. Vegetation will be allowed to grow over this and it will blend into the surroundings. The current path will also be resurfaced with a similar surface as is there now. To help improve water quality, there will be an aerator installed and the current reed bed will also be extended to provide additional habitat for wildlife and to benefit aquatic life in general.
The following before and after pictures were submitted as part of the planning application. These are views looking north from the southern end of the pond.
It’s also worth noting, that the scale of work has been reduced since the planning application was submitted. The proposed additional overflow pipe has now been removed and instead there will be a slightly wider spillway. This means the ground will not need to be excavated to install the pipe and as a result, there is less impact overall.
The pond will remain open for anglers throughout the work and when the works are complete, dogs will still be able to enter the water from the southern corner. Work will start here soon and will be finished in September. For a short-while, the causeway path will need to be closed while the path is resurfaced – this will be clearly signposted.