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Heath windfall to support pond conservation and disability sport

PUBLISHED: 15:15 27 February 2019

John Constable's famous painting of Branch Hill Pond on Hampstead Heath. Picture: Cleveland Museum of Art (Public Domain)

John Constable's famous painting of Branch Hill Pond on Hampstead Heath. Picture: Cleveland Museum of Art (Public Domain)

Archant

Two Heath-based community groups were celebrating a windfall this week thanks to the City of London Corporation’s grant scheme.

The Branch Hill Pond today. Picture: Redington Frognal AssociationThe Branch Hill Pond today. Picture: Redington Frognal Association

The Redington Frognal Association (RFA) has been awarded £15,000 – which will go towards the restoration of Branch Hill Pond – while Highgate Harriers athletics club has been given £10,000 to run weekly disability athletics sessions and attract more people to running.

The RFA will be using the money – and a further £20,000 it was awarded by the mayor of London –to restore Branch Hill Pond as an extension of its project that has mapped the flow and direction of the area’s underground rivers.

Rupert Terry, chair of the RFA, told the Ham&High the group was pleased to get the funding – which is part of its “ambitious and exciting” Watermarks project.

He said: “This is an extension of river-mapping work we were encouraged to do during research for the Neighbourhood Plan.

Highgate Harriers running an athletics session for disabled people. Picture: Highgate HarriersHighgate Harriers running an athletics session for disabled people. Picture: Highgate Harriers

“The area used to be full of ponds. That’s part of why its called Frognal! This project celebrates the area’s importance as the location of the headwaters of London’s most famous lost rivers, including the Westbourne.”

Meanwhile, Graham Norris from Highgate Harriers Athletics and Cross Country Running Club said he was thrilled.

The Harriers will run a new session that combines running with conservation work on the Heath, along with the weekly disability session.

Graham said: “We are keen to attract local residents who may not otherwise have considered running on the Heath.

“We have been heavily involved with disabled athletics in Camden for a number of years. This funding will give opportunities to people with any disability, physical or intellectual, to enjoy athletics at Parliament Hill.”

The City of London’s Graeme Smith said: “These schemes provide much-needed support for their local communities and Londoners which we serve.

“I hope this trend continues and look forward to seeing more organisations applying for these grants in the future.”

As part of the Watermark project, the RFA also called on Ham&High readers to get in touch with any memories of playing in garden ponds in the area. Contact redfrogemail@gmail.com

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