Guardian of capital’s “fantastic urban woodland” wins award for 35 years of nurturing north London’s trees

A Trees Management Officer for Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park and has been applauded for his work preserving the capital’s most precious trees.

David Humphries, who has worked on the sites for 35 years, won the London Tree Officers Association Individual Commitment Award, at the Forestry Commission’s London Tree and Woodland Awards.

Judges from the London Tree Officers Association hailed his “consistent dedication and commitment” to protecting London’s trees.

Mr Humphries looks after 30,000 trees across the three sites, which are managed by the City of London Corporation.

He leads a team of five City Corporation arborists who undertake inspections, tree health care, safety works and veteran tree management.

The London Tree and Woodland Awards celebrate the work of individuals, communities and professionals who protect, improve and expand the capital’s tree and woodland cover. 

Each year, the awards showcase the fantastic work taking place all over the city to protect and increase London’s urban forest. 

The 2020 London Tree and Woodland Awards were awarded virtually this year.

City of London Corporation Trees Management Officer, David Humphries, said:

“I am extremely proud to receive this award.

“I feel privileged to be a guardian of this fantastic urban woodland, helping to conserve its biodiversity and see the enjoyment these trees give to the public.

“I greatly enjoy sharing my observations with visitors and colleagues from across the industry, from London and further afield.”

Anne Fairweather, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park Committee, said:

“I’m proud that David has won this award. It is testament to his hard work and dedication over the past 35 years, and he should be very satisfied with his achievement.

“This year our green spaces have been more important than ever before, making the work of David and his team even more vital.

“These site are have been a lifeline during the coronavirus pandemic, helping people get exercise and fresh air and benefitting both mental and physical health.

“I thank David, and the rest of our staff and volunteers for the excellent job they do in maintaining these open spaces to such a high standard, keeping them accessible for all and giving people the opportunity to explore the natural world.”

The City Corporation protects 11,000 acres of green space in the capital, including Hampstead Heath, West Ham Park and Burnham Beeches, and over 200 smaller sites in the Square Mile.

It funds its open spaces with over £29 million a year, and they include important wildlife habitats, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and National Nature Reserves. They are protected from being built on by special legislation.

Hampstead Heath is a 275-hectare open space just six kilometres from the centre of London. Its mosaic of habitats include woodland, grassland, scrub, heath and open water, provide a valuable resource for wildlife. It is of national as well as regional importance.

The site is home to several priority species identified in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, including kingfishers, grass snakes and hedgehogs – and there are over 450 ancient and veteran trees.

Rare species include the America Thorn (the largest specimen of this species in the U.K is located outside the Parliament Hill Café) and un-common species include the wild service tree, Handkerchief tree and midland hawthorn.

Hampstead Heath has put together a veteran tree trail for visitors to learn more about the woodland -

Highgate Wood is an ancient woodland located in the London Borough of Haringey in North London, managed by the City Corporation though charitable trust for the benefit of local communities and visitors. Highgate Wood is a haven for wildlife with many easily accessible and scenic woodland trails. It is predominantly made up of hornbeam coppice and oak standard trees and has been a working woodland for many hundreds of years.

Queen's Park is a 30-acre park sitting within the Queen’s Park Conservation Area, located in the London Borough of Brent and managed by the City Corporation since 1887. It provides a welcome splash of green in one of the most densely populated parts of London, serving the residents of the London Borough of Brent and all Londoners.


Notes to Editors:

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.

Media enquires

Kristina Drake

Media Officer, City of London Corporation