aHampstead Heath

Barnet/Camden - TQ 267 867 - 320 ha Tel: 020 7485 4491/8455 5183

The area was already well known as Hampstead Heath before the herbalist John Gerard described plants which he had found there, some native to marshes and others to 'dry mountains which are hungry and barren' in 1597. The varied habitats within easy reach of London attracted many later plant hunters, but it was the opening of Hampstead Heath station in 1860 that assured the Heath’s future as the ‘Green Lungs of London’, followed by the designation of a large area as a fair ground in 1865.

Controversial municipal ‘improvement’ works and bouts of tree felling and planting have affected the Heath from the late 19th Century. Other changes, that now appear quite natural, resulted from exploitation of the water resources and the soil. All of these have added to the diversity of habitats and terrain.

There are several toilets around the site which is now managed by the City of London and a mixture of made and unmade paths offer access for all. Part of the Heath’s charm is that, whilst supporting an enormous range of activities, it still retains something of an air of the wild about it.
Some of the plants recorded by Gerard remain, even after four centuries. Visitors should also look out for the ongoing attempts to restore heathland areas on parts of the Heath.

Getting there
Tube: Hampstead Heath, Gospel Oak Hampstead, Golders Green
Bus: 13, 24, 46, 82, 83, 102, 168, 183, 210, 214, 226, 240, 245, 260, 268, 328, 460, C2, C11, H2, H3
Car park: See map


Wildweb | Site Link | Heath & Hampstead Society | Extra Info