Hampstead Heath Ponds Project delays leave female swimmers without single-sex bathing pond

Kenwood Ladies' Bathing Pond was closed on Monday. Picture: Polly Hancock

Kenwood Ladies' Bathing Pond was closed on Monday. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Female swimmers face at least a week without a single-sex bathing pond on Hampstead Heath because of a delay to the Hampstead Heath Ponds Project works.

Women who want single-sex swimming were due to move to the Mixed Pond for three months when the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond closes tomorrow to allow dams project works to go ahead. But the City of London Corporation allegedly told the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond Association (KLPA) on Tuesday that there has been a delay to dredging works at the Mixed Pond. Female swimmers now face a wait of at least a week before they can move to single-sex swimming at the Mixed Pond.

The group has been told alternative arrangements are in the pipeline, which could include mixed swimming sessions at the Men’s Pond, and women-only sessions at Parliament Hill Lido. These were set to be confirmed as the Ham&High went to press.

The delay comes in the wake of an announcement that works to the Model Boating Pond are three months behind schedule.

The KLPA are to mark the closure of the pond tomorrow by wrapping the outskirts with a 180ft-long knitted scarf they have made.

A spokesman for the City of London Corporation, said: “Desilting at Mixed Pond will take one week longer than programmed and ladies will be able to move there from Monday, 8 February.

“Mixed swimming for ladies will be provided at the Men’s Pond and the Lido this week with ladies-only sessions in the afternoon.

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“We are building a new changing and lifeguard facility at the Ladies Pond which will be a big improvement.

“It provides indoor and outdoor changing, indoor and outdoor showers, toilets and a first aid room.

“The new building is sympathetic to its surroundings and was designed in consultation with swimmers.”