STONEY WOOD LAKE (also called Stoneywood Lake) is a little-known and relatively undisturbed site on the northern edge of Mill Hill, London NW7. The lake is nearly 300m long, narrow at its northern tip but spreading to a width of 50m at its southern end. It is mainly fringed by undisturbed woodland (Stoney Wood), but its northern tip opens out onto Mill Hill golf course. The lake is in the care of the Environment Agency.
Address: nearest post code NW7 3HH (Map:; OS grid reference TQ205936)
Stoney Wood Lake was formed by the damming of Deans Brook, which passes through the northern fringes of Edgware and Mill Hill to join the Silk Stream, which then flows into Brent Reservoir. The lake is managed by the Environment Agency as a flood storage area (FSA) to protect downstream communities from flash floods, which have in the past caused the deaths of children playing by the brook. A couple of metres behind the original low dam, the Environment Agency has constructed an ugly rusting metal dam some 2.5m high. This is designed to hold back flood water, with a exit culvert sized to limit the downstream flow to a predetermined amount.
Most of the lake has natural margins and is surrounded by minimally managed woodland and a few stands of Typha latifolia (greater reedmace, cattail). The narrow northern end of the lake is flanked by managed golf course grassland. The site is disturbed to some extent by the noise of traffic on the nearby motorway and railway.
BIRDS The lake regularly supports common water birds such as Mallard, Tufted Duck, Coot and Moorhen. Cormorant, Grey Heron, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail may also be seen here. The surrounding area hosts typical birds of suburban woodland such as assorted tits, 'peckers and corvids.
OTHER VERTEBRATES Grey Squiffle, Red Fox and Muntjac may be seen in the surrounding woodland, and the site presumably hosts various smaller vertebrate critturs. Further information needed, please.
INVERTEBRATES Information needed, please.
DIRECTIONS The site has two main access points: one involves a potentially muddy woodland footpath; the other depends on negotiating flying golf balls, a fence and a locked gate.
For the first access point, park your car where Ellesmere Avenue bends right and becomes The Fairway. By public transport, you can reach this point by taking bus 113 or 186 (both of which serve Hendon and Edgware tube stations), alighting on Edgware Way at a stop that is just called “Edgware Way”, and then walking north for 500m through the length of Stoneyfields Park and along a footpath that passes under a railway viaduct and the M1 motorway. From the Ellesmere/Fairway junction, walk north-west between some garages and a block of council flats, past a sign reading “No private unauthorised vehicles beyond this point”. Keep close to the wall and fence on your left, and you will find yourself on a rough footpath that meanders through Stoney Wood alongside Deans Brook. But if the weather has recently been wet, the path will be muddy and you may have trouble negotiating side streams flowing down from Moat Mount and Highwood Hill. Eventually you come out onto a broad track beyond which is the metal dam designed to contain floodwater. If you follow the dam to the right, you will find that the ground level gradually rises until you can step over the dam and walk back to the left to view the lake.
For the second (and generally easier) access point, park your car at the Barnet Way (A1) end of The Fairway or take a 292 bus (or a 606, 614 or 644 at various weird times) along Barnet Way to the Fairway stop. Walk north on Barnet Way and turn left to follow the southern edge of Mill Hill golf course, dodging hooked golf balls, until you spot a padlocked seven-bar metal gate next to what seems to be a depot for golf course maintenance vehicles. Do not risk damaging the gate or the adjacent fence by climbing over them; instead, walk left round the end of the fence and follow the track to the dam. Alternatively, you may wish to continue across the golf course to view the northern tip of the lake from a footbridge.
ACCESS The Stoney Wood Lake site is not officially open to the public, but it does not seem to be patrolled, so what the hell!
FACILITIES Someone has left a handy plastic chair behind the rusty dam, allowing you to relax in comfort while viewing the lake across the original lower dam. Otherwise, there are no facilities on the site. However, if you need them, you may be able to use the facilities at the golf club (I haven’t tried). The nearest shops are at Apex Corner (Northway Circus).
None as yet
This page has been prepared by Andrew Haynes, who only discovered the site in 2013, despite having lived within a couple of miles of it for more than 40 years. If you are familiar with the site, please correct, expand and/or update this information (and delete or amend this paragraph).