#Heath150: New biodiversity signs celebrate Hampstead Heath wildlife
New nature interpretation boards – with information and photos of Heath wildlife, have been launched as part of the Hampstead Heath Act’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
The Act, which became law in 1871, protected the open space for the public to enjoy.
The Heath & Hampstead Society and the City of London Corporation, along with English Heritage, Marylebone Birdwatching Society and Heath Hands developed the displays, which are located at seven entrances to Hampstead Heath and Kenwood.
They aim to raise awareness and appreciation of the site’s biodiversity by revealing its varied habitats and wildlife, and to show visitors how to protect nature on the Heath.
The boards give special attention to birds that can be found on the Heath, and tells visitors how to recognise them by sight and sound. These will be changed seasonally – with four different boards for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
Focusing on lesser known species, the boards feature species and habitats coming under pressure from a huge rise in visitor numbers at the site during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Hampstead Heath Management Committee, Anne Fairweather, said:
“We’re excited to reveal to our many visitors the wonderfully diverse wildlife and habitats we have on the Heath.
“We’re celebrating everything we love about Hampstead Heath this year at a time when the site is providing a green lifeline to so many Londoners.
“And as we move out of lockdown and welcome even more people, we are bringing a renewed focus on conservation.
“We want to work with the public to protect the Heath so it can continue to be enjoyed by many generations to come.”
Jeff Waage, Trustee of The Heath & Hampstead Society, said:
“The Heath and Hampstead Society defends Hampstead Heath as a place for people and nature, and we celebrate growing interest in the healing effects of nature experiences on the Heath.
“But growing use of the Heath is now putting pressure on the survival of its habitats and wildlife and something must be done. We believe that conservation begins with appreciation.
“These interpretation boards have been designed to help visitors learn about and enjoy the Heath's rich and threatened biodiversity. They show simple actions that we all can take to protect our distinctive habitats and species and prevent further loss.”
The City Corporation is working with The Heath & Hampstead Society and other partners on the year-long celebrations.
COVID regulations permitting, an outdoor exhibition will be launched on the Heath in June to showcase the site’s history and the significance of the 1871 Act.
And a series of public events will be held, including a celebration on 29 June, when the local community will be invited to join Heath staff and elected Members along the boundary protected at that time.
More details of this and other exciting events will be announced shortly.
The hashtag #Heath150 will be used to promote these celebrations, events and activities throughout the year.
A new social media campaign, called ‘Love The Heath’ has also been launched, asking people to share their love for the site – their memories, old photos, stories and favourite locations, using the hashtag #LoveTheHeath. You can also your story via email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Hampstead Heath is one of London's most popular open spaces, attracting almost 10 million visits a year.
Situated just six kilometres from Trafalgar Square, the beauty spot is a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation, and recognised for containing some of the best examples of the capital’s habitats, including rare and important species which are of particular significance within a heavily built-up area of London.
The City of London Corporation has managed Hampstead Heath since 1989, when it 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).
Hampstead Heath is a registered charity, funded by revenue generated though services, grants, donations and over £5m a year from the City Corporation.
Find out more about the initiative here and also to learn about how to get involved in conservation work on Hampstead Heath -https://www.heathandhampstead.org.uk/heath/biodiversity/
Kristina Drake| Media Officer, Public Services
City of London Corporation
D: 020 7332 1125
Notes to editors
The City Corporation protects 11,000 acres of green space in London and south east England – including Epping Forest and Burnham Beeches - and over 200 smaller ones in the Square Mile, investing more than £40m a year.
These sites, most of which are charitable trusts, are run at little or no cost to the communities that they serve. They include important wildlife habitats, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and National Nature Reserves. They are protected from being built on by special legislation.
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
About Hampstead Heath
Staff and volunteers look after over 450 ancient and veteran trees, creating and managing wildlife habitat which support more than 650 types of fungi, 400 species of beetle and 27 species of butterfly. The site, which has a wide range of sports and leisure facilities and more than 55 historical features, monuments and archaeological sites, has been awarded the prestigious Green Flag Award annually since 1998. Since 1989 the City Corporation has worked with London’s schools, with its outdoor education programmes now reaching almost 8,000 students per year. The programme was adapted during the pandemic and still managed to reach thousands of children and families. The organisation has created a wide-ranging sport offer on the Heath, hosting the British 10,000m Championships and the European Athletics 10,000m Cup in partnership with Highgate Harriers. The Heath also provides world-famous outdoor swimming facilities including the iconic Lido and three swimming ponds. The Ladies’ Pond and the Men’s Pond are the UK's only single gender lifeguarded open water swimming facilities open to the public every day of the year.