A Hampstead pond painted by the artist John Constable is to be recreated following a long campaign.

The Redington Frognal Association (RedFrog) with support from the Heath & Hampstead Society, applied to the City of London in 2018 for support to reinstate the Branch Hill Pond on Hampstead Heath. 

The spring-fed pond was filled in in around 1890 but through the efforts of residents, and £7,000 funding from Camden Council, GLA and the City Bridge Trust, the pond will become a mecca for wildlife once more.

The City of London Corporation has contributed its Nature Conservation Team’s expertise and machinery into excavating the pond, which is now full of rainwater after recent wet weather.

“The reinstatement of the Branch Hill pond restores an important piece of English cultural history,” said Anne-Marie O’Connor, chair of the Redington Frognal Association.

“This is the pond John Constable sketched and painted over and over, where he watched the storm clouds and felt the wind on his face.” 

“The pond is a wildlife pond, designed to provide habitat for frogs, birds, hedgehogs, and other animals.

“It is one element of the RedFrog vision for habitat restoration, which includes making gardens and neighborhoods more hospitable to the wildlife that lives in the Hampstead Heath.”    

The pond was dug out in August and further work early next year will increase the chances of the pond retaining water and the amount of wildlife it will host.

Professor Jeff Waage, from the H&H Society, said: "For me a pond is a really fantastic resource for wildlife. Scarcity of water is a real problem, particularly as our climate is warming up and we're going to have more droughts like we did this year.

"Tens of thousands of ponds have been lost in Britain so putting in a pond is always good.

"This one restores where Constable's pond was but it creates a nice pond in an area without many ponds."

Nancy Mayo, a longtime RedFrog activist whose persistence brought the pond to fruition added: "The idea of reinstating the pond is to kickstart the nature recovery process in the Redington Frognal area.  

"Formerly, there were numerous natural ponds in this very wet area. Few ponds remain and we hope that other wildlife ponds may be recreated in the many gardens here.”