Restoration of Hampstead Heath begins after lockdown damage
Work to restore Hampstead Heath after damage caused by a huge rise in visitors during the COVID lockdown has begun.
Whilst the Heath has provided a lifeline to many during the pandemic, the site has suffered from disturbed wildlife habitats, trampled grass, soil compaction and eroded paths.
The wet weather over winter worsened the problem.
Now the City of London Corporation, which protects the Heath, has started the first phase of ground restoration work.
New fencing is being installed to protect veteran trees and areas of grassland are being reseeded.
And new hedging is being planted to protect path edges and to encourage natural regeneration, which will provide new habitats and boost biodiversity at the site.
The recent wet, warm, weather has helped the grass to establish and several areas that were closed due to damage have now reopened.
The restoration programme will continue until the Autumn.
Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Hampstead Heath Management Committee, Anne Fairweather, said:
“I was delighted to see so many people enjoying Hampstead Heath during the lockdown but the rise in visitors gave us some challenges.
“Our teams are working hard to restore wildlife habitats, grassed areas and damaged paths and we can already see some sites recovering.”
Hampstead Heath is one of London's most popular open spaces, attracting almost 10 million visits a year.
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.
Hampstead Heath is a registered charity, funded by revenue generated through services, grants, donations and over £5m a year from the City Corporation.
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.
Kristina Drake| Media Officer, Public Services
City of London Corporation
D: 020 7332 1125
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
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.