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'The Ponds': a feature-length documentary



We’re about to start production on an ambitious film that will be a love letter to Hampstead Heath, specifically to the three swimming ponds that have hosted bathers since Byron, Keats and William Blake immortalised them in verse.

I’m a passionate outdoor swimmer and ever since I’ve lived in London I’ve been making the short trip up to the heath to swim or picnic or just have a wander. I’ve always found it a remarkable, tranquil treasure, more than 800 acres of green space in the heart of harried, hyperactive London.

The Ponds will be a film about all life at the Highgate Men’s Pond, the Mixed Pond and the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond. Co-producer Samuel Smith and myself are planning to make a beautiful film about the swimmers, their relationships and their lives, but also about the wildlife to whom the ponds are home and examine how they co-exist with the swimmers.

We’re going to be filming The Ponds over 12 months from late February and will capture the cycle of the four seasons in all their glory, and the swimmers, who range from occasional high summer toe-dippers to the perennials, the hardy who will break the ice in mid-winter to have their daily dip.

As one gent told me: “There’s a hardcore group who all know each other and it’s partly the camaraderie that gives us the inspiration to come here every day. You’re doing it amongst fellow creatures as it were, who’ve all got the same aim, to get this morning buzz.”

That morning buzz and that fraternity is the feeling we want to capture in The Ponds. Some time in 2018 we’ll release a feature-length film which we think will appeal to outdoor swimmers, Anglophiles and anyone with an interest in nature documentaries.

We’ve encountered much enthusiasm for our project already, but we need more support to make the film happen. I’d be delighted to hear from anyone who has a tale to tell about the ponds or who might even like to be featured in the film or may like to back it in other ways.


Find out more at… facebook.com/thepondsfilm

Contact me at… patrickmclennan@gmail.com