Major investment set to make Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds more accessible
Work has begun to improve accessibility and safety at Hampstead Heath’s Bathing Ponds, thanks to an investment of over £900,000 from the City of London Corporation, which manages the Heath as a registered charity.
The facilities will be upgraded at the Ladies’, Mixed, and Men’s Bathing Ponds.
Hoists will be installed to help disabled people get in and out of the water, and more accessible changing, toilet and shower facilities will be provided, alongside other measures to improve access for people with disabilities.
The works will also improve safety for all swimmers.
New long windows will be installed in the lifeguards’ huts in the Men’s and Mixed Ponds to give a better view of the water.
The observation deck at the Mixed Pond will be upgraded, providing faster access to the water. A new fence and gate will be installed at the Ladies’ Pond to improve security.
In a survey of almost 2,000 Hampstead Heath swimmers, the vast majority supported the plans for improvements.
Chair of the City Corporation’s Hampstead Heath Management Committee, William Upton KC, said:
“Outdoor swimming is booming thanks to the major benefits it brings to our physical and mental well-being.
“These improvement works will ensure everyone can enjoy our Bathing Ponds, while keeping swimmers safe.”
Works will be managed to minimise disruption to swimmers as much as possible, with the Ladies’ and Men’s ponds due to stay open throughout.
The opening of the Mixed Pond for the warmer season will be delayed until 13 May, but opening hours at the Lido have been extended to offer alternative swimming.
The City Corporation manages over 11,000 acres of open space in London and southeast England, including Epping Forest, Hampstead Heath, and over 200 smaller sites in the Square Mile, investing over £38m a year.
The City Corporation’s open spaces, most of which are charitable trusts, are run at little or no cost to the communities that they serve.
They include important wildlife habitats, Special Areas of Conservation, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and National Nature Reserves.
They remove around 16,000 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere a year, equivalent to 44% of the City Corporation’s annual carbon footprint.
They are protected from being built on by special legislation.
Notes to editors
The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk