Realising the Heath Community Vision - City of London
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Picnickers sit on Parliament Hill with a vivid rainbow in the sky beyond

The City of London has the privilege of managing Hampstead Heath. We welcome our role as custodian of this remarkable green space for current and future generations.

A ten-year strategic management plan guides us in this important work.

Managing Hampstead Heath

Work is underway to review the management plan for Hampstead Heath, building on the comprehensive 2007 Management Plan (3.96MB) to develop a new ten year plan for 2018.

Managing the Heath is all about finding a balance. Balancing the impacts of visitors with conservation of the Heath’s many values. As well as finding a balance between the varied, and sometimes contradictory, needs of different user groups, activities and experiences. This is not about changing everything we do. It is about working together to achieve our goals.

The Vision

During 2017 we asked people to imagine the Heath in 50 years’ time and to tell us their vision. We received almost 1600 responses and a wealth of information about the ways that people value the Heath and the ways it enriches their lives.

Thank you to everyone who contributed and shared their aspirations for Hampstead Heath. The Heath Community Vision distils the diverse range of views that were expressed and encapsulates the many aspirations that were shared throughout the engagement process.

The community vision for Hampstead Heath

  • We protect and conserve the Heath
  • The Heath enriches our lives
  • The Heath is inclusive and welcoming
  • Together we care for the Heath

The Heath Community Vision (124KB) will guide our work to develop the 2018 Heath management plan and sets a clear course for working with the community to realise our shared aspirations.

Next steps

Finalising the Heath vision marks a key milestone in developing the 2018 Plan. The next step is to map out how we can work towards realising the aspirations captured in the vision.

Step 1: Setting goals and measuring success

Work is underway to develop an outcomes framework that will map clear pathways for achieving the vision and identify key strategies for the next ten years. Identifying measures for success will ensure we monitor progress and stay on track to realise our long-term goals.

Step 2: Implementing the strategies

In the meantime, work has begun on identifying priority actions and projects. A draft Divisional Plan sets out priorities for the coming 3 years for Hampstead Heath, as well as other sites. The draft document can be viewed on the City of London democracy site.

Useful links

We worked with the Community Team from Groundwork London to develop the vision.

Hampstead Heath Consultative Committee reports and meeting minutes can be viewed on the City of London Democracy search listings.

Press coverage

You can read more about the Heath Vision in these articles and press releases:

View from the Heath – February 2018

The development of a community vision for Hampstead Heath was a key milestone in the updated Hampstead Heath Management Plan last year.

The plan will cover the next 10 years and set a clear course for working with the community to realise our shared aspirations.

One of the most important issues for managing the Heath is finding a balance between the impact of its visitors with the conservation of its environment – whilst including the varied, and sometimes contradictory, needs of its different user groups and activities.

We want to be inclusive and welcoming to everyone and show a willingness to compromise for the greater benefit of the Heath and each other.

The views of the community which were gathered last year will be used to build the approach we take going forward.

It’s important to note that we are building on the existing plan from 2007. It’s not about changing everything we do, it’s about working together to achieve our goals.

The next step is to map out how we can work towards realising the themes captured in the community vision.

Earlier this month, staff and the local community came together to take part in a workshop to begin this work.

A presentation on the results of the workshop is scheduled for late February 2018.

You can email hampstead.heath@cityoflondon.gov.uk if you’d like to attend.

In the meantime, work has begun on identifying priority actions and projects for the year.

This new approach will be embedded into our own ways of working. It will be an important tool for engaging with Heath visitors, public consultations, our own Elected Members and the wider community on how we are achieving our shared vision.

The City of London Corporation has the privilege of managing Hampstead Heath and we welcome our role as its custodian for current and future generations.

Meanwhile, the English National Cross Country returns to the Heath on 24 February.

This is a very popular event with cross country runners due to its challenging uphill start. Nearly 10,000 male and female runners, aged 12 and over, will set off for races varying in length from 3km to 12km from 11am until around 4pm. There are lots of good vantage points along the route which make this an excellent spectator event, so do come along to cheer on the runners.

- Karina Dostalova, Chairman, Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park Committee

View from the Heath – August 2017

​Last month’s Give it a Go festival was a huge success, with a record number in attendance and a wide range of sports and activities available for Londoners to try for free.

I was really encouraged by the enthusiasm of all of the organisers and the thousands taking part.

The City of London Corporation funds green spaces across London with over £29million a year to support the capital’s communities. A big part of that commitment is through our investment in sport.

So it is great to know that representatives from organisations like the Camden Fencing Club are telling us that events like this on the Heath help them to recruit members and boost participation in the sport. I gave fencing a go myself and it was great fun.

I was also delighted to meet the Deputy Mayor of Camden at the event. The addition of music, art, food, drink and a dog show gave the day a real festival atmosphere and a wonderful showcase of all the activities available on the Heath and its surrounding community.

I’m also very encouraged by the positive themes emerging from our Heath Vision consultation which took place in May and June. When asked what is valued most about the Heath, the top five survey responses were: nature, trees and wildlife; walks and trails; tranquillity; wide open spaces; views and panoramas. Almost 88% chose nature, trees and wildlife as what they most value about the Heath. Thinking about the future, over 75% strongly agreed that in 2070 the Heath should be a place to relax, unwind, and recharge; enjoy being outdoors and connect with nature - with over 82% choosing 'Conserving natural habitats' as very important for future generations.

As custodians of Hampstead Heath, conservation is a major priority for the City of London Corporation and we have a dedicated specialist Conservation Team which includes ecologists, arboriculturists and experts in horticulture.

The expertise of these staff members ensures that the Heath remains the wild and beautiful space that we all cherish so much. We are constantly looking for ways to improve habitats and we are delighted that recent monitoring has shown an increase in wildlife such as dragonflies, frogs and birds, possibly due to the addition of aquatic plants as part of the Ponds Project. We are also hoping that our grass snake population continues to thrive as the Heath is the closest green space to central London with a breeding population of snakes. We are currently conducting a survey, with assistance from Heath Hands volunteers, to count and record sightings of these elusive, but harmless reptiles. A healthy population of snakes means we also have a healthy population of amphibians like frogs, toads and newts, which they feed on.

In the coming weeks and months you may see signs appearing on the memorial benches asking for contact details or any information on the bench sponsors. This will help us update our records and learn about the history of the dedications. If you have any information we would be very grateful if you could contact us on 020 7332 3322 or email: hampstead.heath@cityoflondon.gov.uk.

-Karina Dostalova, Chairman, City of London Corporation’s Hampstead Heath Management Committee

View from the Heath – July 2017

The recent spell of sunshine and warm weather makes it the perfect time to be getting outside to appreciate Hampstead Heath and London’s wonderful range of open spaces.

I’m delighted to have been elected as Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood & Queen’s Park Committee, and as a long standing resident of north London, I’m very much looking forward to working with the Hampstead Heath team to identify the priorities for the coming years and to ensure that the Heath continues to thrive for the locals and visitors alike.

I will be Chairing the Heath’s Consultative and Management Committees, and working with the many forums, such as the Sports Advisory Group. This will involve collaborating with Heath users to continue to protect and enhance these treasured green spaces.

Thank you to everyone who generously gave their time to share their aspirations for Hampstead Heath in our Heath vision consultation which took place in May and June through workshops, pop-up consultation stalls or our online survey.

Almost 1600 people took part in the consultation activities including over 1,340 completed surveys. Groundwork London is working to collate the information from the consultations to prepare a summary report which will be available later this month.

We asked people to imagine the Heath in 50 years’ time and tell us their vision. These views will be used to create a long-term community vision for Hampstead Heath, ensuring we fulfil our role as custodian of the Heath for future generations, honouring its rich natural, built and cultural history. The community vision will guide our work to develop the new 2018 Management Plan for Hampstead Heath.

The community engagement has provided useful insights into the ways that visitors and the local community value the Heath and the ways it enriches their lives.

A popular activity was building a jigsaw puzzle where each piece captured a word or phrase of what we value or love most about the Heath. The most popular responses included the words ‘green’, ‘nature’, ‘space’, ‘peaceful’ and ‘wild’. The warmth and fondness expressed in many stories and memories that were shared give an insight into the values and experiences we want to be available to Londoners long into the future.

Survey responses rated conserving natural habitat and enhancing health and wellbeing as the most important benefits to future generations, followed closely by keeping people active and enhancing the quality of life of local communities.

Submissions have been overwhelmingly positive and affirming, providing a wealth of aspirational data and a strong foundation of good will for developing the 2018 Plan and guiding management over the next ten years.

In the immediate future, our big summer event, the Give it a Go Festival, is taking place on Sunday 16 July, from 1pm to 5pm at Parliament Hill. This day is all about trying out new activities. We have various sports available to try for free, many of which are available on Hampstead Heath, such as tennis, rugby, football, athletics and table tennis. There will also be music and dancing and many other fun family activities. A dog show, Hounds on the Heath, will also be taking place on the same day, run by the Mayhew Animal Home. It promises to be a great day out for all and I encourage you to come along and ‘give it a go!’

-Karina Dostalova, Chairman, Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park Committee

Other press coverage


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