Forgotten space near Gunnersbury Park on course to be restored to former glory
Rupa Huq with volunteers from Ealing’s Forgotten Spaces
October 4, 2020
Volunteers from the Ealing’s Forgotten Spaces group are helping restore the neglected water-feature Barons Pond to its former glory. With the services of a digger they have dredged out what was an undistinguished mess just north of Gunnersbury Park on Popes Lane and have plans to open it up to the public once again.
The once picturesque pond was once owned by Baron Lionel de Rothschild and sold to the nation in the 1920s. It has for several years struggled to retain water due to filtering and construction issues and fallen into disrepair. Now however the process of constituting a “Friends of Barons Pond” is underway, backed by the charity Ealing’s Forgotten Spaces and Ealing council as partners.
Rupa Huq MP for Ealing Central and Acton commented, “It’s been a tale of graft and spotting a space that has fallen into neglect to clean up somewhere I’ve been past countless times but never really noticed, let alone appreciated. Ealing’s Forgotten Spaces are living up to their name and set to put the latterly unloved Baron’s Pond which is bursting with potential back on the map.”
Peter Treadgold, group leader of Ealing’s Forgotten Spaces, said, “Barons Pond is a resource for both wildlife and our community. Lockdown prompted us to think more about the environment. This summer the pond dried out completely for the first time in years. The local community raised money and worked hard to clear the silt deposits out of the pond.
“This is just the first step. We have returned the pond to its original depth and now we must find more water and keep it in the pond. Volunteering events are arranged in the first week of every month, along with other one-off specialist projects.”
Barons Pond in better days, in the early 1900s
Rupa Huq said, “Baron’s Pond is bursting with potential. It’s fantastic to see this great initiative to protect it and repurpose it as a nature reserve so local wildlife can strive here once more and be enjoyed by locals.
“In the midst of a climate emergency, it’s vital that green areas such as Barons Pond continue to thrive for future generations. There are also mental health benefits to being among nature. I look forward to water coming back so that ducks, moorhens and their chicks will have a place to call home.”
Ealing’s Forgotten Spaces are planning to open up the vista’s across the pond, working closely with the London Borough of Ealing who also have a scheme to improve the junction at Gunnersbury Drive/Popes Lane. Limited access for schools and special interest groups into the reserve will be encouraged one day, they add, and sign boarding for all residents and passers-by is expected to be upgraded.
Rupa Huq with Ealing’s Forgotten Spaces representative Peter Treadgold
If you’d like to get involved, go to Ealing’s Forgotten Spaces on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.