20 February 2015

Hampstead Heath ponds

Last Sunday 9th Jen organised a wander around Hampstead Heath. When I met the group I noticed everyone was carrying great big cameras. I hadn't realised that it would be a gathering of avid photographers so I'd arrived with what was in my pockets – my keys, my wallet and my phone. So the snaps you see below are just that; snaps. I'd misunderstood the whole thing and thought it would be mainly to see what's happening with the proposed works around the ponds which are causing a lot of consternation. More here and here.

We met opposite Swain's Lane and headed to the Highgate ponds. A lot of trees have already been chopped down and areas have been cleared. I was surprised to hear that the boating pond is going to be made even larger and a mini copse of standing trees will become an island. 
I am not really sure what I think about this damn nonsense. It's not like this will be rape of original landscape as the ponds are already man made features constructed by damning the Fleet River. Walking along the fenced path between the Men's Pond and The Boating Pond it occurred to me that I'd never really considered before whether what we have already is beautiful or not. Once the new works have been finished I am sure in time it will look fine. 

But the problem is not aesthetics; it's more about the huge sum of money that is going to be spent on something that has scant chance of ever actually happening.

Bird Sanctuary Pond, walkers, purple brambles, fungus on a dead tree, Kenwood House, a spreading chestnut tree, paddling, BS Pond again and tree shadows. 
It was a beautiful day to be out and about (Sunday 8th Feb). And it was absolutely perfect for photography and there I was with my archaic Blackberry*. No surprises that were a lot of people out and about enjoying the weather on the heath that day, though I managed to omit them from my photos. And dogs, dogs, dogs; happy dogs, lovely dogs. I fell in love too many of them.
Onward and upward past The Ladies' Bathing Pond, The Stock Pond, Thousand Pound Pond and Wood Pond and then a stop for tea and cake at Kenwood House cafe (scrumptious red velvet cake recommended). Then around to the Vale of Health, across Lime Wood Avenue and down to the three Hamptead ponds where we were saddened to see that quite a few mature trees have been felled; their stumps showing their gorgeous peach and apricot coloured interiors.

Wind-felled tree, they've got big ones, a redwood, Hampstead Pond No.1, saw marks, treetastic, Vale of Health Pond, beechy fingers and yours truly
We visited all the ponds bar one; the Viaduct Pond and noticed that some of the signs for the ponds are incorrectly placed ("noticed" ha ha); for instance, the sign for Hampstead No.2 Pond is against No.1, and the one for the Mixed Bathing Pond is against No.2.
Pond pond pond – the word 'pond' is now starting to look and sound sillier every time I write it.
Then up to Parliament Hill for the obligatory view across Central London and down again, past the bandstand, the café and the tennis courts (which I hear are also about to be redeveloped/adjusted to look less "municipal" or something daft – er, it's park for the people!) and out onto Highgate Road for a much needed pint of ale.
And then I walked home.
*If anyone is upgrading from and ditching their old iphone4 please do contact me. 

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Thanks, Jane