City of London Corporation celebrates 30 years of managing Hampstead Heath

Today (31 March) marks the 30th anniversary of the City of London Corporation as custodian of Hampstead Heath.

On 31 March 1989, the City Corporation took responsibility for the care and management of the site from the London Residual Body (LRB), following the dissolution of the Greater London Council (GLC).

A range of community events will take place over the course of the year to celebrate the anniversary.

Hampstead Heath is one of London's most popular open spaces, attracting over 9.3million visits a year. Situated just six kilometres from Trafalgar Square, the beauty spot is a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation.

Since 1989, working with a range of partners, the City Corporation has created a wide-ranging sports offer on the Heath, hosting the British 10,000m Championships and the European Athletics 10,000m Cup in partnership with the Highgate Harriers.

The Heath also provides Londoners with world-famous outdoor swimming facilities including the iconic Lido and three wild swimming ponds. The Ladies’ Pond and the Men’s Pond are the UK's only lifeguarded open water swimming facilities open to the public every day of the year.

Heath staff promote learning across the site, with its education programmes reaching almost 8,000 students per year, helping young people to connect with the outdoors on their doorsteps.

Staff and volunteers look after over 450 ancient and veteran trees, creating and managing wildlife habitat supporting more than 650 types of fungi, 400 species of beetle and 27 species of butterfly.

The site, which has a zoo, public tennis courts and more than 55 historical features, monuments and archaeological sites, has won the prestigious Green Flag Award annually since 1998.

Karina Dostalova, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Hampstead Heath Management Committee, said:

“We are proud to be the guardians of Hampstead Heath, the most iconic of London’s open spaces, and a sanctuary in the heart of our busy capital.

“For centuries, the Heath has been used and enjoyed by local people and Londoners for a wide range of pursuits.

“Our dedicated staff and volunteers will continue to work with our local communities to make sure that the Heath is protected for future generations to come.

Marc Hutchison, Chair of the Heath and Hampstead Society, said:

“Thirty years ago, the Heath & Hampstead Society were horrified at the Thatcher government's proposal to divide the management of Hampstead Heath between the local boroughs of Camden, Barnet and Haringey.

“We were therefore relieved at the success of our campaign to get the City of London Corporation to agree to take up the challenge. The Heath could not ask for a more caring and competent manager.

“We have worked in close partnership with the City ever since by helping to devise and implement coherent plans to preserve the "natural aspect" of the Heath, as specified in the original 1871 legislation protecting the Heath from development, and to oppose inappropriate development on the fringes of the Heath.”

Hampstead Heath is run as a charity with the City Corporation as sole trustee to preserve the Heath for the recreation and enjoyment of the public.

The City of London Corporation invests over £5million every year to maintain the Heath. It protects and conserves 18 important green spaces in London and south east England – including Burnham Beeches and Epping Forest - and over 200 smaller ones in the Square Mile.

It manages important wildlife habitats including ancient woodlands, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves. They are protected from being built on by special legislation.

The City of London Corporation funds green spaces across London. Its green spaces, most of which are charitable trusts, are run at little or no cost to the communities that they serve. They are funded by over £29million a year from the City Corporation, together with donations, sponsorship, grants and income generated on site.


Notes to Editors

About the City of London Corporation

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

Media enquires

Carl Locsin, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

T 020 7332 3654 / M 07388 862 229

E carl.locsin@cityoflondon.gov.uk