Damselfly species spotted on Hampstead Heath for the first time

The Willow Emerald Damselfly species has been recorded on Hampstead Heath for the first time.

The damselfly was observed by volunteer group Heath Hands at Highgate Number 1 pond, Stock Pond and the Vale of Health in August.

The rare species becomes the first of its kind to be recorded within a 10km radius of the Heath. The damselflies were recorded mating and egg-laying at the Stock and the Vale of Health ponds.

The City of London Corporation has been proud custodians of Hampstead Heath, one of London's most popular open spaces spanning 275-hecatres, since 1989. Compromising a mosaic of habitats including woodland, grassland, scrub and open water, it is one of the most important areas to observe nature in the capital.

With the new addition, 19 species of dragonfly and damselfly have now been spotted and recorded across the Heath, including the White-Legged Damselfly and the Banded Demoiselle.

City Corporation ecologists attribute the extensive wetland planting on Hampstead Heath in recent years as being directly attributable to the Willow Emerald Damselfly’s arrival. The planting projects have increased wetland flora on the Heath by over 2,000m2, several times the amount which was found over 10 years ago.

Anne Fairweather, Deputy Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Hampstead Heath Management Committee, said:

“The Willow Emerald Damselfly is very rare in Britain and we are delighted to see this species become established on the Heath.

“The Stock Pond and the Boating pond were previously seen by our ecologists as unfavourable to damselflies, and I’m very proud of the work we have done on the ponds project to enhance the Heath’s natural habitats.”

The City of London Corporation protects and conserves 19 major green spaces in London and south east England – including Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest - and over 200 smaller ones in the Square Mile.

It manages important wildlife habitats including ancient woodlands, Sites of 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

The 19 green spaces run by the City of London Corporation are:

1. Hampstead Heath

2. Highgate Wood

3. Golders Hill Park

4. Queen’s Park

5. Epping Forest

6. Wanstead Flats

7. Wanstead Park

8. City of London Cemetery and Crematorium

9. West Ham Park

10. Burnham Beeches

11. Stoke Common

12. Ashtead Common

13. Coulsdon Common

14. Farthing Downs

15. Kenley Common

16. Riddlesdown

17. Spring Park

18. West Wickham Common

19. Over 200 small green spaces in the City of London