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Hampstead Heath, including West Heath Camden
   

Hampstead Heath, including West Heath

Hampstead Heath, Looking towards Highgate, July 2005. Photo: S Williams

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Hampstead Heath falls within 2 London boroughs, the largest proportion being in LB Camden. It has immense historical content; a Saxon charter referred to the 'great ditch' in the Domesday Survey, and a Royal Charter of 1227 to woods and heath enclosed on all sides by ditches which along with boundary oaks and stones that are still visible today. The Heath has a great variety of habitats including ancient woodland, meadows, wetland, hedgerows, parkland and 26 ponds some of which were built to serve London with its water supply. In 1871 the Metropolitan Board of Works purchased the manorial rights for the public in perpetuity through an Act of Parliament; subsequently further land was added. The City of London has managed all of Hampstead Heath, apart from the Kenwood area, since 1989.
Hampstead Heath, Fishing on pond, July 2005. Photo: S Williams
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Hampstead Heath, July 2005. Photo: S Williams
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West Heath near entrance to The Hill Garden, August 2002 Photo: S Williams
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Hampstead Heath, Pond near Vale of Health, August 2002. Photo: S Williams
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The Tumulus at Hampstead, photograph reproduced from Mrs Basil Holmes, 'The London Burial Grounds', London, 1896
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Previous / Other name:
Site location: East Heath Road/West Heath Road/Spaniards Road/Hampstead Lane/North End Way
Postcode: NW3/N6 > Google Map
Type of site: Public Open Land
Date(s):
Designer(s):
Listed structures: SAM: Boedicea's Grave (mound). LBII: Keeper's Box and attached wall; Public Conveniences c1889-94; Viaduct Bridge
Borough: Camden
Site ownership: City of London Corporation
Site management: Open Spaces Dept.; Hampstead Heath Management Committee
Open to public? Yes
Opening times: unrestricted
Special conditions:
Facilities: bathing, toilets
Events: Numerous events (annually produced Hampstead Heath Diary provides full information)
Public transport: London Overground: Hampstead Heath. Bus: 210, 268, 24, 168.
Hampstead Heath, Fishing on pond, July 2005. Photo: S Williams
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Hampstead Heath, July 2005. Photo: S Williams
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West Heath near entrance to The Hill Garden, August 2002 Photo: S Williams
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Hampstead Heath, Pond near Vale of Health, August 2002. Photo: S Williams
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The Tumulus at Hampstead, photograph reproduced from Mrs Basil Holmes, 'The London Burial Grounds', London, 1896
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The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/02/2010
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

Fuller information:

Hampstead Heath falls within 2 London boroughs, the largest proportion being in LB Camden. It boasts immense historical content; a Saxon charter refers to the 'great ditch' in the Domesday survey, and a Royal Charter of 1227 refers to woods and heath enclosed on all sides by ditches which along with boundary oaks and stones that are still visible today. A vast expanse of land 4 miles from the City, the Heath has a unique variety of habitats including ancient woodland, meadows, wetland, hedgerows, parkland and 26 ponds some of which were built to serve London with its water supply. The C19th saw rapid growth in London and Sir Thomas Maryon Wilson, Lord of the Manor of Hampstead, was anxious to exploit his position on the fringes of built-up London and employed Joseph Gwilt to lay out his East Park estate which was to be developed with exclusive villas. The viaduct bridge built c.1845 which still remains was the only part of this scheme ever undertaken and was accordingly known as "Wilson's Folly", Wilson failing to obtain Parliamentary authority for the enclosure of his land. A circular brick Keeper's Hut with conical tiled roof built in 1840s, probably to demarcate the south-western boundary of Sir Thomas Maryon Wilson's estate.

In 1871 the Metropolitan Board of Works purchased the manorial rights for the public in perpetuity. The 1894 Ordnance Survey map identifies the box as a police hut. Public conveniences built c.1889-94, designed by the London County Council Architects' Department and probably erected as part of the LCC municipal improvement campaign for Hampstead Heath which led to fears for the loss of the Heath's wilder charms. Additions to the Heath were the grounds of Kenwood (q.v.) added in 1924; Hill Garden and Pergola (q.v.) in 1959; Hampstead Heath Extension; and Golders Hill Park (q.v.). Hampstead Heath has received the Green Flag Award for over 10 consecutive years. Bathing has long been popular on Hampstead Heath and the Highgate Ponds continue to provide men's and ladies' ponds that have been used for nearly 100 years. At one time there were high diving boards and in the 1930s the Highgate Diving Club practiced here, their Aquatic Carnivals attracting thousands of spectators. The Hampstead Mixed Pond, located off East Heath Road, is fed by natural springs via the Viaduct Pond and Vale of Health Pond.

Sources consulted:

P M Norris 'Conservation Policies and Practices of Hampstead Heath' (unpublished thesis, 1994); Bob Smyth 'The Green Guide to Urban Wildlife' (A & C Black) 1990; The Parks Agency 'Commons, Heaths and Greens in Greater London. A short report for English Heritage', 2005
Grid ref: TQ269864 (Viaduct Pond)/ TQ257867 (West Heath)
Size in hectares: 231 inc Golders Hill Pk
   
On EH National Register : No
EH grade:
Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
Registered common or village green
on Commons Registration Act 1965:
Yes: Common (CL18)
Protected under London Squares
Preservation Act 1931:
No
 
The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
On Local List:
In Conservation Area: No
Conservation Area name: all fringes of Heath are CAs
Tree Preservation Order: Not known
Nature Conservation Area: Yes - Metropolitan Importance
Green Belt: No
Metropolitan Open Land: Yes
Special Policy Area: Yes - Area of Special Character: Hampstead & Highgate Ridge
Other LA designation: SSSI (West Meadow) part Ancient Woodland
   

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