aHounslow Heath

Hounslow/Richmond – TQ 121 742 – 82 ha Tel: 020 8577 3664

Part of the historic Middlesex Forest and a scene of human activity and encampment from earliest times, Hounslow Heath once covered more than 4000 acres. At different times in its history, it has been a site of ancient encampment; a military mustering ground and an important source of building aggregates, as well as the location of the first ever scheduled air service between London and Paris.

For 200 years, the wild area of Hounslow Heath was a notorious haunt of robbers and highwaymen, and reputed the most dangerous place for travellers in Britain. Today, however, the one-time hamlet of ‘Heathrow’, at what was once the western edge of the Heath, is the location of Europe’s busiest airport.

Much of the site is accessible to all via a network of informal paths throughout the year and there is a toilet with disabled facilities at the visitor centre.

In addition to recently restored heathland areas, the remnant Heath supports an extensive complex of scrub with a mixture of acid and neutral grassland. Visitors have a chance to see rare heathland plants including bell heather, dwarf gorse, petty whin, dyer's greenweed, heath rush, heath-grass and mat-grass; in addition to important moss and lichen communities. Linnet, skylark, reed bunting and whitethroat all breed here and a variety of migrant bird species regularly occur. Invertebrates include numerous rarities and the heath is important for protected reptiles. One of a few London sites subject to conservation grazing, Hounslow Heath highlights what can be achieved through positive intervention, even in an urban situation.

Getting there

Train: Feltham (1 km), Hounslow (1 km)
Tube: Hounslow East, then bus 111 or H28
Bus: 90, 110, 111, 116, 117, 235, 237, 285, 490, 726, H23, H26, H28
M25: J14/15 Car park: Off the Staines Road (A315) at Frampton Road
Foot: The Crane Valley Walk forms part of the London LOOP


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