The lake on Tooting Bec Common is an important habitat for wildlife. It is relatively shallow and surrounded by trees and shrubs on one side. It has an island in the middle and adjacent to the eastern side of the lake is a fenced woodland area known as the Sanctuary, which is managed as a wildlife area and currently has limited public access.
The lake was originally formed as a result of gravel digging, a frequently practiced historical activity on Tooting Common. It was converted into an ornamental feature in 1895. To increase the ecological value of the lake and to make its wildlife habitats more resilient to a wider range of pressures and influences, enhancement work was undertaken in 2017 as part of the heritage project.
Description of works:
Overhanging and submerged trees and branches were cut back or removed; autumn leaf fall adds nutrients to the water which is bad for water quality. Reducing leaf fall and rotting wood from polluting the lake will lead to cleaner water and allow more light to help aquatic plants and vegetation grow.
To create aquatic vegetation parcels along the edge of the lake, four floating rafts with grazing protection were installed and anchored between the two fishing platforms and in-between existing planting of Yellow Flag. The shade tolerant marginal plants on these rafts include Great Pond Sedge (Carex riparia), Purple Loostrife (Lythrum salicaria), March Marigold (Caltha palustris) and Water Mint (Mentha aquatica).
A native mixed hedgerow along the opposite side of the Sanctuary, parallel with the footpath, was planted, which will also provide additional habitats for other forms of wildlife.
A new interpretation panel will be installed in 2019 to encourage people to learn about the wildlife value of this habitat.