Wimbledon Park lake

The lake is the heart of Wimbledon Park. Created in the 1760s by Capability Brown, it is a home for nature, an important location for watersports and a focal point for visitors who enjoy the fine views.

But the lake, which covers an area of around nine hectares, needs urgent work if it is to remain the precious asset it is today. A 1998 report from Glasspoole Thomson, commissioned by Merton Council, found it was silting up and the water was in an advanced state of eutrophication. The report recommended a range of remedial work including dredging, but this has never been acted on.  Click here to read the Glasspoole Thomson Report.

Our plans for a revitalised lake

We are working to get the various owners of Wimbledon Park to support an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for funding to revitalise the lake and its surrounding area. Meanwhile Merton Council is due to draw up its own masterplan for the park.

FOWP’s vision includes:

  • a perimeter path to allow the general public to walk all the way round the lake
  • a boardwalk for birdwatching
  • new wildlife habitats such as reedbeds
  • the watersports centre to be relocated and improved, restoring uninterrupted views across the lake.

The catchment of Wimbledon Park lake

Wimbledon Park Brooks

Wimbledon Park brooks

The lake is fed by streams that flow down from Wimbledon Common. Overflow from the lake runs into a stream that eventually flows into the River Wandle and thence into the River Thames. The accompanying map illustrates the catchment of the lake. It is based upon an old ordnance survey base with contours at 5m intervals[i]. These range down from the 50m contour in the west to the 10m contour in the Wandle valley to the east. Extant water bodies are shaded blue, except that it is the original extent that is mapped for the lake. The narrow end of the southern arm was subsequently infilled in the twentieth century. The course of the various brooks is based on the contours and old maps, principally the John Corris map of the Spencer estate of 1787, the Tithe map of 1850 and a series of ordnance survey maps. The River Wandle is shown on the boundary of Wimbledon Parish, based on the 1865 ordnance survey map, as this reflects the old course before more recent straightening.

Click here to read Dr Dave Dawson’s article about the lake

Click the map the see an enlarged view of the catchment of the lake.

[i] Dr Dave Dawson obtained two 1:10 000 ordnance survey maps with contours overprinted in red on the abolition of the Greater London Council in 1986. The date of these is uncertain, as the captions had been trimmed off but, as they show Park House Middle School, they postdate 1972.