Leg Of Mutton Pond - HAMPSTEAD HEATH - 2016***

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Leg Of Mutton Pond


Situated in West Heath, just off the Childs Hill side of Sandy Road, by Golders Hill Park.
(see Sandy Road and Rotten Row)

Leg of Mutton pond on West Heath was probably dammed as part of a plan, reported in 1816, to employ the poor.

A small stream called Decoy Brook rises in Turner's Wood in Hampstead Garden Suburb and runs through Temple Fortune to join the Brent River at Riverside Drive in Hendon.

Another, Clitterhouse Brook, rises at two locations on the Western slopes of Hampstead Heath.

One brook feeds the Leg of Mutton Pond on West Heath, and the lower duck pond of Golders Hill Park.

Another brook feeds the upper duck pond in Golders Hill Park and then flows to merge with the other branch at the lower duck pond. (Swan Pond)

From Golders Hill Park the stream flows underground approximately in parallel with Dunstan Road to Childs Hill Park.

At Granville Road, at the south end of the park a laundry industry emerged to use the clean water of the stream as did a nursery industry.

On the bank of the stream by Leg of Mutton Pond lies the site of a stone age encampment.

This was excavated by the Hendon and District Archaeological Society in the 1970s.

These sites are to its north and east and are of Mesolithic Settlement, dating back 7000 years.

Dryland sites are rare, however, and the extensive site at West Heath, Hampstead is an example of human activity away from the floodplain using the higher, forested ground.

For many centuries the area remained heavily forested, with fertile land drained by the Fleet, Tyburn and Westbourne rivers, and other streams.

Meso-Lithic means Middle-Stone, and stone is used as the chief resource for many of their artefacts.

They chose different types of stone for specific purposes.

Don Cooper, chairman of HADAS writes to the author as follows:

West Heath was first discovered in 1973 when a member of the Hendon and District Archaeological Society (HADAS) collected a number of flint blades from a sandstone bluff near the Leg of Mutton pond on Hampstead Heath.

Continued collection revealed a potentially important Mesolithic site which was undergoing erosion prompting excavation by HADAS in 1976.

The excavation took place on two sites - the 'main' site and the spring (spa) site. The 'main' site yielded a large assemblage of flint tools and debitage, some non-flint material and possible surface features of early Mesolithic date.

The acid nature of the sandy soil prevented the preservation of organic remains other than charcoal and, for this reason, the
spa site was opened up in a waterlogged area 300 metres to the south-east with the aim of recovering palaeo-environmental data.

The spa site yielded important sequences of insects, pollen and macroscopic plant remains, but unfortunately no artefacts. Another excavation on the site remains to be published.

Collins,  D.  and  Lorimer,  D.  (eds).  Excavation  at  the  Mesolithic  site  on
West Heath,  Hampstead  1976-1981.  Oxford.  British  Archaeological  Reports
217.  1989,  (Printed  1991).  138pp.

Click here to see The Hendon and District Archaeological Web Site

Leg Of Mutton Pond at the present time
Leg Of Mutton Pond at the present time
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