|Hampstead Heath | Clapham Common | Palmers Green. Nr Enfield | Hampton Court - Rick Pond / Bushy Park | Wanstead Flats | Kensington Gardens | Burgess Park | Blackheath | Richmond Park | Chingford | Ealing | Bexleyheath | Wimbledon Common | Clapton Common | Cheam Park | Gunnersbury Park | Victoria Park | Carshalton|
On the pond: Star Yacht SY4, Endeavour II, and a
10” Skipper, virtually invisible in the vastness.
Location - Town: Hampstead Heath
Updated by Jasp Britton, [19/04/2005]:
Hampstead pond/White Stone Pond is still there, by Jack Straws Castle pub... Turn right out of Hampstead tube, half a mile up the hill, there it is at the top...
Above - Then...Below - Now...
Location: Clapham Common, London
Directions: the Long Pond, on the corner between Clapham Common South Side and Rookery Road.
Tube Clapham Common and plenty of buses too.
Parking easy on Rookery Road
Don’t confuse it with the Round Pond further to the SW which is for fishing.
Type: purpose built model boat lake.
Local club: Yes. Clapham MYC who sail IOM and Vane racing classes, and have a clubhouse at the site. Sec: Jack Sanday, 0208 646 1806.
Public Access: Yes.
Anything else: Long history as one of London’s two great Victorian club ponds, if Kensington Gardens is Lords this is the Oval. Steady winds from SE. Clapham MYC come out on Sundays and the pond is sometime visited by other clubs such as the Vintage Model Yacht Club.
Note to pictures:
Location - County: North London
Description/directions to location: Broomfield Model Boat Club
The club is located in Palmers Green North London and was formed in 1983 with the aim of fostering the appreciation of model boat in both sail and power models. Members interests range through all kinds of sailing craft including vintage yachts, modern sail and preserved working boats such as Thames barges and all types of navel craft. Most of these are electric powered but some members delve into steam. IC is not permitted on our lake. We attend various shows and regattas around the country both as visitors and also as exhibitors. We have a diary of club events including one of the rounds of the Model Barge Championships and visits from the Vintage Model Boating Association all these are well attended during the season. We sail as a club on Monday, Friday and Sunday mornings from around 10am but as the lake is open to the public it can be used at any time. The location is about 2-3minutes from the North Circular Road next to Palmers Green station in Aldermans Hill and is called Broomfield Park. Parking is in the road adjacent or in a side street.
Type: General boating lake
Size: Medium / Large
Shoreline access: Full access
Toilets / Shop / other facilities - please list: Toilets in Park. Shopping centre close by.
Open Public Access: yes
Any restrictions? (Noise, speed, etc): no I.C.
Listed by Pete Ennifer, [22 October 2004]
Head for the west end of Kingston bridge and the roundabout at the junction of the A308 and the A310. The entrance to Home Park (also called Hampton Court park) is about 30yds along the A308 from the bridge, on the left, at the side of a pub, the Old Kings Head.
If you want to drive in go past signs saying AUTHORISED PERSONS ONLY, if you want to sail your boat you must be authorised! Although mostly used by the HCMYC who are a fine club, the pond is open to all.
In the park follow the signs to the Golf Course, ignoring the first
lake on your RIGHT. Distance from the park entrance to the club lake
is about 1 mile. When you see a lake on your LEFT (and possibly fountains
The Rick Pond is a superb lake in Hampton Court park, site of the Hampton Court flower show, at the back of the palace. The lake is situated in a bend of the river Thames, surrounded by open park land and has clear air from all directions. It is approx. 800' x 200' and the long axis runs SW-NE, which is often the direction of the prevailing wind. The lake is shallow near the edge, but with good access on all sides. There is NO Landing stage, skippers of deep boats will need waders or long wellies, small boats will be ok with a long pole.
Hampton Court Model Yacht Club has a club building, ladies and gents toilets, and good parking.
There is no access to Hampton Court Palace, but the river Thames is close and Kingston shopping is not far away.
Type: ancient fishpond probably, at the far end the of series of Hampton court waterworks, but with grass banks rather than stone edges
Size: medium but long and narrow
Shoreline access: 100% but a few gorse bushes to get round
Facilities: none when clubhouse is closed, bit of a walk back to the pub
Open public access: yes
Local model boat club: Hampton Court Model Yacht Club, who are a long established yacht racing club affiliated to the MYA, with a full racing programme for RM, RA and IOM classes, taking place on Wednesdays and Sundays. They also have visits from the Vintage Model Yacht Group and a 'Square Riggers' day.
Restrictions: none that I know of. Bear in mind on club racing days,
all radio frequencies will be used up!
Note to shots: taken on a day-after-boxing-day informal meeting of the VMYG. Those who care will see an impressive sequence of four SY7's in a row.
This meet was also reported at http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/hamptoncourtmyc/Reports/Xmas-Rick/xmason.htm with nice photographs.
Listed by Andy Tribble [24.02.2005]
Type: park pond used for sailing model boats. Medium sized.
Bushy Park is right next to Hampton Court on the north side. It has a variety of ponds and waterways but this triangular pond at one end of Heron Pond is the only one used with official permission by model boaters, the others are reserved for fishing. It is clearly visible on Google Map just east of Chestnut Avenue which runs N-S across the park.
Facilities include a car park right next door (helps if you have a big boat) and a square concrete launching platform. OK for reliable r/c but not ideal for freesailing as there are bushy bits and shallows as the aerial pic clearly shows.
The Diana Fountain that Chestnut Avenue goes round has nothing to do with the late Princess, it was designed by Christopher Wren.
If there is a club I can't find it listed.
For transport, the closest National Rail stations are: Hampton Court to the south; Hampton Wick and Kingston, both to the east; Teddington and Fulwell to the north; and Hampton to the west. All are between 10-20 minutes' walk away. Transport for London bus routes, including the 111, 216, 265, and 411 services all pass by the Hampton Court Gate, the main southern entrance to the park. The R68 service from Richmond serves other entrances at Hampton Court Green.
Listed by Andy Tribble [23.04.2006] with thanks to Trevor Smith for the information.
Updated by Az [16.11.2008].
It has a leveled concrete area for launching the boats, though it does not get used as much as it should so some people think it's there so they can feed the ducks. They allow Electric or Sail Craft, no Nitro or Petrol.
Region: London (East)
Type of Pond: LOST, now a duck pond (sorry, Wildlife Pond)
As the old photos show this was once a dedicated Model Yacht Pond, opened in 1908.
Click HERE for a spot of history.
Unfortunately fell into disrepair, and at meetings in 2000/2001 between local people, conservators of Epping Forest and the Corporation of London, it was decided to turn it into a duck pond. As if there weren’t enough of those already.
So now it has muddy edges, shallows and islands, and no doubt mountains of goose poo.
Someone from the Corp of London decided that they didn’t want a ‘sterile pond such as would be necessary for sailing boats’.
Where has this pernicious idea come from?
It is true that some ponds (Woodbridge for instance) are ‘sterile’.
But is Clapham Common ‘sterile’? (No, it has freshwater crayfish and mussels.)
Is Kensington Gardens ‘sterile’? Is the Boat Pond on Hampstead Heath ‘sterile’?
No! All they have is proper edges, no muddy shallows and no islands. And the boaties happily share the lake with ducks, swans and dogs fetching sticks.
I think it’s time that the Campaign for Real Yacht Ponds (CRYP) started to fight back.
For an example of what can happen otherwise, click HERE
Listed by Andy Tribble [16.03.2005]
Location: Kensington Gardens Round Pond
Description/directions: In the middle of Kensington Gardens W1, which is really a slice off the western end of Hyde Park.
Tube stations: Lancaster Gate and Queensway (both Central Line), Bayswater (District Line) and High Street Kensington (Circle and District Lines).
Buses: 9 Aldwych - Hammersmith
Car Parking: Hyde Park is full of parked cars and yet at the same time the restrictions are fierce. Perhaps CD plates would help.
Free motorcycle parking: look around. If all else fails there's an often empty one on the west side of the Albert Hall. The park is on the borderline between Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea. If you have a few hours to spare you can go to www.motorcycleparking.com and download an alphabetical list of parking spaces for both boroughs, then cross reference it to the map.
Type: Purpose built boat pond.
Size: Large. For small boats, huge. You get the illusion that you can detect the curvature of the earth. Will test the radio control range of toy-standard R/C boats.
Shoreline access: 100%, concrete. Annoying slope on the edges, which scrapes the paint off your keel, and makes it easy to slip into the water. So wear grippy shoes and take a pole. Toddlers and dodderers will fall in. (In the Victorian print, note the look of fear on Granny's face. This is because the wheelchair has no brakes.)
Restrictions: None that I know of, but I suspect no i/c. On days when the club meets, all radio frequencies will be used up. Park open 6am till dusk, no camping.
Boat club: Yes, the MCC of UK model yacht clubs, the proud and ancient
Model Yacht Sailing Association (1876) and London Model Yacht Club
(1884). Thankfully, unlike the MCC, I don't think you need to wait
years to join. Their main activity is racing 10-raters on Sunday mornings.
but they also host other events such as visits of the Vintage Model
Yacht Group. Their website http://www.mysa.org.uk/default.asp shows
loads of shots of the pond on regatta days and has details of how to
join. They have a clubhouse and their own car park. The MYSA has recently
adopted the Laser class of racing yachts, as a less expensive 'starter'
class in order to encourage new members.
Open public access Yes.
Other facilities: Loos, two children's playgrounds, and toilets for the disabled at Mount Gate WC.
Deck chairs are available from April to September during daylight hours,
Refreshment Point at The Italian Gardens and The Albert Memorial
Anything else to add: The club's shots show the pond crowded with yachts. On non-club days the pond is often empty: however this is one of the few ponds in London on which you are likely to see other boats sailing in good weather.
On sunny days especially at the weekend you will have a large number of spectators. You may need to keep a sharp eye on your boat. A year or so back I nearly lost one of my favourite schooners. The yacht had come to rest on the far side of the pond and was quietly scraping against the concrete while I turned around other boats. A child pulled it out of the water and disappeared into the crowd. Fortunately a German friend was reliving his grandfather's U-boat experience with a pair of binoculars, and got the lad in his sights. He then organised a pincer movement and tracked the boat down to a family picnic some way across the park. The family seemed unconcerned that their lad had 'found' a boat, and if we had not retrieved it they would certainly have kept it.
Quote from the Royal Parks website:
“The Gardens are particularly popular for sunbathing and picnics in fine weather. It is also popular as a healthy walking route to work for commuters. The paths are used extensively by joggers and runners. Cycling is allowed on the designated path linking the Queen's Gate to West Carriage Drive, Mount Gate to the Broadwalk and the broadwalk itself from Black Lion Gate to Palace Gate.
Informal games do take place in the Gardens but are discouraged in view of the importance of the historic landscape and the desire to maintain their primary role as a peaceful refuge for people living, working or visiting Central London.
The Diana, Princess of Wales' Memorial Playground is a fantastic adventure for kids up to the age of 12. Over 70,000 youngsters enjoy the playground each year.
The Round Pond is the home of three-spined sticklebacks, roach, gudgeon and eels.”
Interesting thing to note: the park authorities list the wildlife to be found in the pond but AT NO POINT on their website do they mention that you can actually sail a boat on it.
Use it or lose it.
Listed by Andy Tribble [13.04.2005]
Jasp Britton with Lily, C.1880 schooner, at
Park pond by the Old Kent Road, Peckham, yesterday. Great pond, but best
for RC as there are various obstacles including bird nesting areas and
Listed by Jasp Britton, [19/04/2005]
Looks a great spot - any chance of a full report for this pond from anyone? Many thanks.
listed by Jasp Britton, [19/04/2005]
Andy Tribble adds....[04/04/2006]:
Type: purpose built model boat pond, medium to small. Open to public. Should be 100% access to banks but unfortunately the council has allowed trees and bushes to overgrow the sides a bit, so it is slightly hazardous. Whereas back in 1909 when this postcard was sent it was perfect: You have to admire the languid Edwardian family group with their huge yachts.
Facilities: Blackheath Village is full of pubs, bistros and restaurants, and the Heath is also big on kite flying.
Transport: Blackheath station, and loads of buses (look them up on the TFL website).
Thomas Howard adds [23.04.2006] - "...this is a nice little pond rather affected by trees. It has slopping concrete sides with access all round. It is wader deep. My brother and I used this very regularly 50 years ago and it is still in use. A good one in south east London".
Updated by Andy Tribble 19.11.2006
Excellent news! Blackheath Yacht Pond has been refurbished and is if anything in a better state than in this Edwardian postcard, thus reversing the trend of history!
The overhanging trees have been removed and there is 100% access to the banks. Everything is shiny, repainted and new, including a generous allocation of benches to put your gear on.
The size is medium, tiny boats will take a long time to cross, big ones will find it easy.
Hate to complain but I have two niggles:
1) The designers have given it a sloping edge just like the Round Pond at Kensington Gardens: perhaps they even copied it from there, thinking it was a good idea, which it's not. It makes boats harder to launch; it's easier to slip in; and if your boat has any sort of keel, it can be several feet from the edge when you hear the clankety clank of concrete scraping the paint off.
(Good news for some: in one corner the pond has an extra gentle slope. So if you've got a hovercraft or some other kind of amphibian this is one of the few ponds where you can play at zooming in and out of the water. )
2) There is a pointless duck island in the centre. This is bound to catch freesailing boats, and my yacht predictably spent ten minutes stuck up against it while I considered whether to swim. However it is octagonal and reasonably smooth sided which means that with any luck the boat will find a way off after a time. Murphy's law is that it will get stuck on the last sail of the day and make you late home for your tea.
Apart from that, congratulations to Blackheath on a great job.
I have included photos about buses and parking. Click HERE for photo album
The park is well known for kite flying so you can have a combined boat/kite experience. Take a brisk walk northwards and down to Greenwich and you can go past the Observatory, see the bend in the Thames where the outgoing ships all set their chronometers at GMT before sailing off to adventure, then head for the Maritime Museum, and finish at the Cutty Sark for an utterly boaty day out.
Blackheath village is close by, it's surprisingly short of basic cafes
or children's eating places, but you can eat Italian, Indian, Mexican,
Chinese, or French if you prefer.
Click on picture for photo album
Location: Richmond Park, Adam's Pond.
Directions: short walk from the Roehampton Gate in the NE corner of the park.
Type: purpose built model boat lake
Shoreline access: ought to be 100%, but now about 70% (see comments)
Any restrictions: no notices, but I bet you'd get in trouble with anything noisy.
Boat club: no
Open public access: yes
Facilities: car park nearby. When I was there, there was an ice-cream van.
Unfortunately, in a bit of a state.
Adam's Pond still has its original concrete edge along the eastern side, but the rest is a shambles.
There is a goose's nest rising from the water about forty feet out, an obvious trap for boats; the western edge is a shallow muddy beach; several edges are cluttered with fallen tree branches; there is a fenced-off swan's nest on the south side; and the surface is full of floating tree bark and debris. All round, the ground is dotted with goose droppings.
I couldn't risk free-sailing any of my larger boats, and only sailed a small boat (that I could afford to lose) to avoid disappointing the kids. Luckily, we got it back.
If Adam's Pond had its edges reinstated and the debris removed, it would be a pleasant addition to the facilities of Richmond Park.
But right now it's 'one for the birds'. There are TEN other wildlife ponds in Richmond Park already, and Adam's Pond is declining into another one.
Listed by Andy Tribble [05.07.2005]
Updated 27th Dec 2009:
I thought you might be interested in an update on Adam's Pond in Richmond Park, London. I visited it for the first time this morning.
Generally, it is in a much better condition than it was at the time of the 2005 report on your website. It is free of obvious debris, there is no longer a goose nest in the middle. About 60% of the perimeter is fenced off, but the remainder is in good condition: sloping grassy bank with some wooden sleepers and posts in parts, but 6 - 8 inches of water minimum at the edge. Not good for big yachts, I guess, but ok for the electric power boat we were sailing. And overall it was a nice, tidy place.
All the best
Location - Town: Chingford (Just Past The Plains)
Listed by Michael Pleasance [28.09.2005]
The pond shown in this card is still in Walpole Park, off Mattock Lane, Ealing.
It appears from the clear Googlemap image to have 100% access to the shore and a concrete edge all round. Long and narrow, medium sized.
Only problem is that there are three islands running almost all the way down the length of the pond, I would have thought making it unsuitable for free sailing but ok for r/c.
These islands are there in the 1917 postcard but someone is boldly sailing. Perhaps the boat is on the end of a reel of cotton.
Listed by Andy Tribble [23.04.2006]
Thank you for your excellent website.
One of the best ponds I have seen for model boats is at Northala Fields on the A40 near Greenford. Unfortunately due to algae and for other reasons it is not usable at present. I have contacted the Ealing Council and they say they will be correcting it. However with the squeeze on funds I don’t know when this will be. There are plenty of pictures online of this park and it would be helpful if yourself or others could also pressurise the Council.
I shall forward to you my e-mail correspondence with the Council.
G.H. [March 2016]
In Northala fields the Council has built an excellent lake for model boats (the only place in the Borough where model boats are permitted). However it has been totally neglected and is full of algae and rubbish. Some time ago the council park attendants said they expected it to be cleared but I suspect that with the current squeeze on expenditure it may be a low priority.
Would the Council be willing to allow volunteers to clear the pond to enable model boating to continue?
Danson Park, Bexleyheath. A very large pond used by rowing boats. Deep. Very good for large yachts.
The Danson Park lake is just off the A2 called Rochester Way. It's off Danson Road. The lake is very large about 20 acres.ie ten football pitches. It's very deep and used for other purposes. There was a club but I do not know if it still functions. The park is run by the local borough. Fair access on about 75% of the bank. Not too be missed if you are in the area.
Listed by Howard Thomas [26.04.2006]
You can just about see a boat if you look closely!
Trevor Smith writes:
"The Kingsmere pond is no longer suitable for model boats, just wildlife. The Rushmore pond is subject to strange local bylaws reinforced by rangers on horseback who prevent the general public from using this pond for model boats. The Common has become nothing more than a 'dog's toilet area' so no great loss."
" I must admit I admire Trevor for trying to sail on Rushmore pond as it is little more than a muddy swamp with very churned up banks. I too have been pulled up by the Rangers but that was about three decades ago and I was trying to fly a model aircraft. Equally illegal." Andy Tribble [05.08.2006]Top
West of Gunnersbury Avenue
South of Pope's Lane
Looks like a purpose built boat pond, medium sized, concrete edging, 100% access with a few bushes.
Appears on A-Z and Streetmap.co.uk as BOATING LAKE.
However Trevor Smith complains that he was actively discouraged from sailing his boat on the pond and told it was 'for the wildlife', ie one swan.
Nearest tube Acton Town.The park has parking, toilets, a Local History Museum and enough space to fly kites.
Wikipedia is turning into a quite magnificent guide to London parks, far better than anything the local councils put out. The entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunnersbury_Park says 'there is a boating pond...overlooked by a temple folly dating from 1760, the only eighteenth-century building still standing in the park. (Picture of temple reflected in pond). It also says the park is 'a haven for small boys wanting to fly kites and model aeroplanes and float model boats in the pond'.
Leaflets put out by Hounslow council also describe it as a 'boating pond'.
So it looks like the A-Z and Wikipedia are right and Trevor met an idiot.
Listed by Andy Tribble [19.11.2006]Top
The postcard is the very first pond card I ever bought and set me off on this whole yacht pond hunt.
The card is faintly over-written in pencil with the words 'Loving memories of long ago' which is a pretty good summary of the contrast between the pond then, with a crowd of children and boats, and the state it's in now.
Every picture tells a story.....
Click HERE for photo gallery of this pond
The pond is located in NE London just east of the big Stamford Hill crossroads, if you really want to visit.
Listed by Andy Tribble [19.11.2006]Top
Check the map first, this is a large park that feels as big as Hyde Park and there are other lakes and canals to confuse you.
Shows up clearly in the Google Map
Type: Purpose built boat pond.
Size: large sock shape. (Either a rectangle with a semicircle at one end or an oval with a flat at one end. There ought to be a word for this common shape!)
Shoreline access: 100%, concrete.
Open public access Yes.
Excellent Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Park%2C_East_London
Quoting Wikipedia: "The Victoria Model Steam Boat Club, founded in the Park on 15 July 1904, is still active today and holds up to 17 of their Sunday regattas a year. The VMSB Club runs straight-running boats just as they did 100 years ago but have also progressed to radio control and hydroplanes. The first Regatta is traditionally held on Easter Sunday and the Steam Regatta is always held on the first Sunday in July."
Couldn't find a club website but contact is given as Norman Lara on 07863 230 117 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listed by Andy TribbleTop
Click on pictures for photo album
Place: Carshalton, Elms Pond, London
Size: Small to medium
Access to bank, say 98%. There is a fenced-off weir at one end but you can reach a boat stuck there with a pole. There is also a small island which is the base of a fountain. I have sailed here twice and each time my boats have got stuck against that island, so if you are sailing without radio control I recommend taking some rescue equipment such as a long pole or a fishing line and weight.
Type of bank: brick edging almost all the way round.
Facilities: In a small park with a few benches. Across the road there is a pub and a corner shop. Parking is possible but you will have to look for a space. The 51 bus stops right next to the pond.
How to find it: The pond is on the corner of Butter Hill and the A237 Manor Road North, just north of the A232, the main road from Croydon to Sutton. Googlemap says it's in Wallington.
I have never seen the fountain working, but to my delight, when they took the Googlemap picture it was clearly switched on.
Anything else to say:
Not to be confused with the familiar Carshalton Ponds next to the High Street. Although quite pretty when you drive past on the A232, these ponds are no use for boating.
Elms Pond is indirectly linked to the other ponds in the area: they all lead to the Wandle which becomes a serious river around Merton and then joins the Thames at Wandsworth.
Listed by Andy Tribble [11.09.2007]Top
Belvedere Recreation Ground, Woolwich, London SE.
This pond, shown in old postcards, is now a Lost Pond for boating purposes. Its outline, next to Heron Hill is shown by googlemap
It has been converted into a Splash Park, a sort of super paddling
Listed by Andy TribbleTop
Park, Cheam, London
A small circular toy boat pool about 45 feet in diameter. In 2001 it was drained and turned into a sandpit as it was too expensive to repair the leaks.
Info, Trevor Smith / Listed by Andy Tribble [19.11.2006]Top
Anything to add or amend?