Stop 25: Chislehurst Ponds

Prickend Pond
Prickend Pond from the High Street (note - no island)
...and now with island

Rush Pond, at the junction of Ashfield Lane and Heathfield Lane, was created as a result of the digging out of gravel, in great demand by road builders in the mid 19th century. This gravel pit soon filled with water to create a pond.

Prickend Pond, a hundred or so metres to the north, adjacent to the High Street, is most likely a result of the same process. It was partly to prevent the widespread excavation of the Commons that would otherwise have occured that local residents campaigned for the permanent protection of the Commons from the commercial exploitation by the owner the Lord of the Manor.

Ironically, the very cause of the action to protect the Commons has created the most iconic features of this most accessible part of Chislehurst Commons, the ponds, which attract regular visitors throughout the year, both of the human and avian kinds.

Alas, the two remaining ponds are in some danger of dying, mainly as a result of the drier weather in recent year, and the resulting drop in the level of the water table, though the Trustees of the Commons continue to work to maintain the levels of water.

Two other ponds have disappeared. Webster's Pond, which we have already passed, has been completely filled in and is now obliterated by overgrown vegetation. A large pond on the common just to the north of Bromley Road, was called the Overflow Pond. Now largely dry, it occasionally fills with water after prolonged rain - hence the name. Other ponds which feature in old images of Chislehurst appear to have been seasonal affairs - particularly the pond by the Tiger's Head near St Nicholas Church, and that at the foot of Red Hill.

There is a pipe connecting Rush Pond and Prickend Pond, but it is positioned so that it only operates when Rush Pond is at is fullest.
Cross Chislehurst Common westwards to the south end of the High Street at its junction with Prince Imperial Road. Continue up this road for 200 yards.

Old colour images of the three other main ponds (click on the images to see galleries of old images):

Rush Pond
Websters Pond
Rush Pond
Websters Pond
Overflow Pond