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Date updated: 29/06/2023

Model Boating Pond Island - wildlife sanctuary

Hampstead Heath is a lasting remnant of London’s former countryside. It provides opportunities for quiet enjoyment and appreciation of the natural world. Its vast size makes it a unique, quiet, habitat rich space close to the centre of London.

The Heath has over 30 ponds, with many created in the 17th Century as reservoirs. They are a haven for wildlife such as waterfowl, amphibians and aquatic insects. In recent years, habitats such as wetland planting have been introduced to many of the ponds to encourage biodiversity.

As part of a major water safety scheme completed in 2016, an ‘island’ (connected with a section of land) was created in the Model Boating Pond to protect a group of established trees. It was closed to the public whilst planting took place and wildflower meadows were established. As a result, the area has become an important reserve for various species of birds which have made this their home.

The Model Boating Pond island has since been designated ‘a sanctuary’ with no public access. Moorhens and great crested grebes have built nests on the edge of the island. A shy snipe was found using the new planting area as a refuge, showing the value of keeping this area as a dedicated place for wildlife.

To ensure the Model Boating Pond Island remains a sanctuary for wildlife, we need your support to raise £50,000 which will enable us to:

• Remove the connecting section of land to create a ‘true island’
• Establish further wetland planting where the connecting section of land has been removed
• Create wildlife homes on the island, including amphibian and reptile hibernaculum
• Install temporary fencing to protect the new planting
• Monitor the flora and fauna which are using the island
• Create a flourishing green space for a mosaic of natural habitats

Every donation, whatever its value, is vital to enable works that enhance the wildlife value of Hampstead Heath.

Hampstead Heath is a 275-hectare open space located in the London Boroughs of Camden and Barnet. It is managed by the City of London Corporation and is a registered charity (number 803392).

*Please note: If monies are raised above the required amount, or in the case that insufficient monies are raised to enable the project to go ahead, the amounts raised would be directed to similar projects within the charity.

As of November 2022, £6,228 has been raised thanks to your generous donations. 

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