Covid-19: swimmers back Heath safety measures in survey

View of Ladies Swimming Pond, Hampstead Heath.

A survey of Hampstead Heath swimmers has revealed an overwhelmingly positive verdict on safety measures put in place at the Bathing Ponds and Parliament Hill Fields Lido.

The City of London Corporation, which manages the Heath, ran the September poll to learn about the experiences of swimmers over the summer season.

Following a brief closure due to Covid-19, the Heath’s three bathing ponds and lido reopened in early July with temporary safety measures including an online booking system, lane swimming, social distancing measures and set swim sessions.

Over 80% of survey respondents gave the Covid-19 safety measures a score of between seven and 10, with 10 ranked as ‘excellent’, while almost 60% rated the online booking system between seven and 10.

Anne Fairweather, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Hampstead Heath Management Committee, said: “It was a difficult start to the 2020 Summer Season, with so much uncertainty around reopening.

“But we were able to move quickly and put in place Covid-secure arrangements as soon as Government guidance arrived.

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“This survey shows how hard our staff worked to reopen safely and provide thousands of people the opportunity to swim over summer.

“I’m so pleased that so many people have enjoyed swimming on the Heath this summer. I’d like to thank our team who have showed such dedication and commitment this year.”

Over 1,100 people took part in the survey, 60% of whom were swimmers using the Kenwood Ladies’ Bathing Pond and 68% were local residents.

The reopening was met with huge demand, with almost 125,000 tickets sold in two months, with over a quarter of these at the concession rate of £2.40.

The City Corporation gave free or discounted swimming to 100 youngsters in local play schemes, youth projects and schools during July and August at Parliament Hill Fields Lido.

The winter swimming season has now started, with free morning swims for under 16s and over 60s between at the Bathing Ponds.

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