Mill Pond and Ravensbourne restoration

Weir, Mill Pond
View of Mill Pond from Glassmill Lane

The River Ravensbourne and its associated Mill Pond are greatly valued. However over many years the Mill Pond has become heavily silted up, with Bromley council having stopped removing in the early 1980’s. Additionally occasional pollution incidents have occurred, some of them serious. The Environment Agency and Thames Water continue to take appropriate action in response to these incidents.

Despite many frustrating years of limited good news, we are now liaising with various organisations, seeking to renovate the historic Mill Pond (off Glassmill Lane) and so to enhance its potential biodiversity & heritage assets. We have been doing this in partnership with the following organizations:-

Earlier in 2015 Thames21 outlined draft proposals at a public meeting, but subsequently nothing much happened. However in January 2020 we attended a meeting of the rejuvenated Ravensbourne Catchment Improvement Group, where we gave a presentation highlighting the issues and urging a progress on this project. This was received favourably by attendees representing many of the above listed organisations. In early 2021 limited funding from the Environment Agency has enabled further planning and necessary statutory permissions to be undertaken, prior to seeking full funding for the implementation of this project. This work continues

A copy of this powerpoint presentation can be viewed HERE. See our Home page for the very latest news.

In the meantime regular work parties have commenced in order to maintain the site to a reasonable standard, until the main project to rejuvenate the Mill Pond is able to commence. We are seeking support among local residents and groups. If you are interested please contact us for further information.

It is our longer term objective to restore the adjacent landscape of Martins Hill and Queens Mead and the course of the River Ravensbourne through this area to a more natural state. Over the last couple of decades there have been several draft proposals for this, from the Environment Agency in 2008, and an earlier one by its predecessor the National Rivers Authority, but so far none have got beyond the initial planning stage.

Old view of River Ravensbourne.
Former natural river through Queens Mead
River Ravensbourne now in concrete channel in Queens Mead.
Current river in concrete channel

We are very conscious of the concerns of local householders about the potential for flooding of their properties. Any scheme would be designed to eliminate the risk of flooding of any houses. In both 1995 (NRA) and 2005 (EA/Ove Arup) plans for this area were not funded. The NRA scheme shown below gives an indication fo what could be achieved.

Failed National Rivers Authority (predecessors to Environment Agency) plan in 1994

Besides the naturalization of the river our objectives would be to –

  • Conserve and improve the ecology of slopes of Martins Hill.
  • Improve access for local people and groups for educational uses.
  • Employ this undulating area for better healthy lifestyle activities.
  • Enhance the sports provision on Queens Mead.
  • Improve links with other green spaces in the area

A good example of the improvements we are seeking can be found on Chinbrook Meadows, adjacent to Grove Park Station. Here the Quaggy Waterways Action Group (QWAG) and other organizations have transformed a stretch of the River Quaggy that was previously in a concrete channel like ours. Go along and see what we could achieve.