Hampstead Heath rules and byelaws
Hampstead Heath has 47 'byelaws'. These laws are just for the Heath - on top of normal UK laws - and they help us to look after the Heath and its users.
Byelaws are like normal laws. If you break them, you can be prosecuted.
Following the Heath's rules and byelaws
Most of our byelaws involve just respecting the Heath and other people using it, and so they're quite easy to follow. As a guide, you should:
- not damage the Heath
- respect other users
- keep any pets under control and clean up after them
- cycle responsibly and avoid non-cycling paths
- follow any other rules you see on signs
There are lots of other byelaws, but most of them are very specific.
Flying drones on Hampstead Heath requires a permit. Prospective applicants should read our drone guidance in the document below completing our application form here:
You will be asked for the following details:
- Operator’s name and Company
- Contact number and email address
- CAA ID number
- Flight date and start/finish time
- Drone type
- Location and maximum operating height
- Description of the drone activity
Note: applying does not guarantee permission for the flight as each case is assessed individually.
All drone flyers are also recommended to read the Civil Aviation Authority's drone guidance for up to date rules and regulations.
Byelaws made on 1st November 1932 (in operation as from and including 1st April 1933), by the London County Council in pursuance of the provisions of the London Council (General Powers) Act 1890, the London County Council (General Powers Act 1898, and the London County Council (General Powers) Act 1923 and now having effect by virtue of The London Government Act 1963, Article 33 of the London Authorities (property, etc.)Order 1964 and Articles 9 and 30 of the London Government Order 1965 as if made by the Greater London Council in relation to Parks, Gardens and Open Spaces vested in or under the control of the Greater London Council.
All such powers were transferred to the City of London Corporation under The London Government Reorganisation (Hampstead Heath) Order 1989.
Hampstead Heath Byelaws are enforced by Hampstead Heath Constabulary who have the powers and privileges of a constable within their jurisdiction.
1. In these byelaws, unless the context otherwise requires:
“The Council” means the Greater London Council; now referred to as City of London Corporation, Hampstead Heath.
“Open Space” means any park, garden or open space vested in or under the control of the Council.
2. No person shall remove, injure, or in any way deface or disfigure any property under the control of the Council (COLHH) in or enclosing any open space, or post thereon or affix thereto in any way any bill, placard or notice.
3. No person shall remove, uproot, destroy or injure any tree, shrub or plant, or pluck any flower, bough or leaf, or dig, cut or take any turf, sod, gravel, sand, clay or other substance in any open space
4. No Person shall climb on any tree or on or over any gate, fence or railing in or enclosing any open space.
5. No person shall in any open space go upon any land specially enclosed or the entry on which is prohibited by notice, or go upon any shrubbery or flower bed.
6. No male person over the age of 14 years shall go or attempt to go into any part of any open space in contravention of any regulation of the Council specified in a notice exhibited on such part reserving such part for the use of female persons and children under the age of 14 years only.
7. No person shall in any open space wilfully break or damage any ice on any pond or lake, or, when prohibited by notice, go or attempt to go upon any such ice.
8. No person shall, without first obtaining or otherwise than in accordance with the terms of a permit from the Council, camp out on any open space.
9. No person shall wilfully enter into or remain in any open space or any part of any open space during the time appointed for closing the same.
10. No person in any open space go or attempt to go into any water-closet, urinal or other place of convenience provided for the opposite sex or infringe any regulation of the Council set up therein controlling the use thereof.
Buildings and Obstructions
11. No person shall in any open space, without first obtaining or otherwise than in accordance with the terms of a permit from the Council, erect or place or retain any post, rail, fence, photographic stand apparatus, tent, booth, screen, stand, swing or other building, erection or structure or any obstruction of any kind whatever.
12. No person shall, except in case of accident or unavoidable cause land in any open space or take off therefrom in any aircraft; provided that this byelaw shall not apply to the use by member of Air Defence Units of such landing or taking off grounds and on such occasions as may be approved by the Council in writing under the hand of its Clerk for purposes of Air Defence exercises.
13. No person shall in any open space, except on roads or other places approved for the purpose by the Council, ride or drive any horse or other beast of draught or burden or any bicycle, tricycle, or any vehicle drawn or propelled by any animal or by mechanical power.
14. No person shall in any open space drive any vehicle, bicycle or tricycle or ride any animal at a rate exceeding twelve miles an hour or so as to endanger the public.
15. Any person driving any vehicle in any open space shall when called upon to stop by signal or otherwise by an officer of the Council acting in the execution of his duty shall stop, and if he refuses or wilfully fails to do so shall be guilty of an offence.
16. No person shall in any open space drive or in anyway use any motor vehicle for the purpose of giving or receiving instruction in driving, managing or repairing such vehicle.
17. No person shall leave any mechanically propelled vehicle:
(a) Unattended in any open space except at such places as are approved by the Council as standing or parking places;
(b) On any road in any open space after having been requested by a duly authorised officer of the Council or Police Constable to remove it.
18. No person shall take or drive on any road in any open space any public service vehicle or any vehicle, wheelbarrow or truck constructed, designed or used for trade purposes or any mechanically propelled vehicle bearing a manufacturer's, repairer's or dealer’s identification mark or in an unfinished condition.
19. No person shall in any open space lead from horseback any riderless horse which is not appropriately bridled and rugged or saddled, or so as to endanger the public.
20. No person shall in any open space lunge or break in any horse or other animal.
21. No person shall cause or suffer any dog belonging to him or in his charge for the time being to enter or remain in any open space unless such dog be under proper control and be effectually restrained from injuring, annoying or disturbing any person or animal or from running on any flower bed or injuring any tree, shrub or plant.
22. No person shall in any open space allow any dog or other animal to enter any lake, river or pond, entry on which by dogs or other animals is prohibited by notice.
23. No person shall, in any part of any open space where a notice stating that all dogs or dogs of a particular class or breed must be kept on a lead or muzzled is exhibited, cause or suffer any dog belonging to him or in his charge for the time being to enter or remain therein unless such dog is kept on a lead or is muzzled in accordance with such notice, and no person shall in any part of any open space where a notice prohibiting the admission of dogs is exhibited, cause or suffer any dog belonging to him or in his charge for the time being to enter there in.
24. No person shall in any open space race or train any whippet or other dog.
25. No person shall turn out to graze or feed or allow or suffer to stray or remain any cattle, sheep, swine, horse, ass, mule, goose, duck, fowl or other animal in any open space without right or without the consent of the Council in writing under the hand of its Clerk.
26. No person shall in any open space wilfully disturb any animal grazing or shall harry, ill-treat, or injure or destroy any animal, bird or fish, or take or attempt to take any animal, bird, fish or egg or set any trap.
27. No person shall in any open space or in any lake, pond, fountain or ornamental water therein, deposit or leave any dead animal, offensive litter, house or trade refuse, or any turf, sod, gravel, sand, clay or other substance, or except in receptacles provided by the Council for the purpose any bottle, tin, container, broken glass or crockery, waste paper or other like article or thing.
28. No person shall wilfully break any glass, china or other like thing in any open space.
29. No person shall in any open space sort rags, bones, refuse or matter of like nature or mend any chair.
30. No person shall in any open space shake or beat any carpet, mat or other thing, or place any clothes or other things for the purpose of dying or bleaching.
31. No person shall in any open space discharge any gun, syringe, squirt, catapult or other instrument, or shall wantonly or recklessly throws or discharge any stone or missile, or makes any bonfire or let off any firework.
32. No person shall in any open space commit any nuisance contrary to public decency or propriety.
33. No person shall in any open space wash any clothes, dog or other animal, or thing or do any act likely to cause pollution of the water in any drinking fountain, lake, pond or trough.
34. No person shall in any open space bet, brawl, fight or use indecent or improper language or designedly do any act which outrages public decency or which comes within the meaning of the 4th section of the Vagrancy Act, 1824 (5 Geo.IV, cap.83) whether the offence be committed with intent to insult any female or not.
35. No person in a verminous or offensively condition shall lie about in any open space or lie upon or occupy any seat therein.
36 No person in any open space shall:
(a) sell, offer for sale, exhibit for sale or distribute any book, pamphlet, leaflet, card, bill, advertisement or literature of any kind whatsoever;
(b) subject to the foregoing provisions, sell, offer for sale, exhibit for sale or distribute any other article, or let for hire any article or place any stand, chair or seat for hire or display any advertisement without the consent of the Council in writing under the hand of its Clerk.
37. No person shall in any open space ply for hire, or let out any horse or other animal or any vehicle without the consent of the Council in writing under the hand of its clerk
38. No person shall in any open space deliver, utter or read or maintain the right to deliver utter or read any public speech, lecture, prayer, scripture, sermon or address of any kind or description whatsoever or enter into any public discussion or hold or cause or take part in any public meeting except between sunrise and sunset and on the site or sites, if any, approved by the Council and defined by notice boards and also shown on duplicate plans deposited at the Home Office and with the Clerk of the Council.
Music and Singing
39. No person shall in any open space, without the consent of the Council in writing under the hand of its Clerk, operate, play or make sounds on any musical or other instrument including any gramophone or radio apparatus, or without such consent sing any sacred or secular song except on the site or sites mentioned in the preceding byelaw.
Soliciting or Gathering Money
40. No person shall in any open space solicit or gather money or other thing except within the limits of the site or sites upon which public meetings are allowed to be held and without first obtaining or otherwise than in accordance with the terms of a permit from the Council, for which application shall be made in writing at least twenty-one clear days in advance, stating the place in which the collection, and the object for which the collection is to be made; provided that a permit shall not be refused if the person applying for the same show to the satisfaction of the Council that the collection will be organised by some well-known charitable society, and will be organised by the same, for the public good and not to the personal benefit of any individual or individuals.
Games, Drilling, etc.
41. No person shall in any open space practise gymnastics, play or make preparation to play any game or take part in any sport, or entertainment or dance, bathe, fish, use any boat, or sail any model yacht without the consent of the Council in writing under the hand of its Clerk except on the parts or places respectively set apart therefor or infringe any regulation of the Council without respect to the use of any such part or place and the conduct of persons using the same or resorting thereto as may be specified in any notice from time to time exhibited on any such part or place.
42. No person shall in any open space infringe any regulation of the Council with respect to the use of apparatus and equipment (including lockers and other conveniences) and dressing accommodation provided or maintained by the Council for use in connection with rifle ranges, games and recreation or with respect to the use of dressing accommodation, conveniences, screens, towels, costumes and other things provided or maintained by the Council and necessary or convenient for persons using any open-air bath or pool, such regulation being specified in a notice exhibited on the parts or places set apart for such rifle ranges, games, recreations, open-air baths or pools, as the case may be.
43. No person shall in any open space drill or practise military evolutions or exercise without the consent of the Council in writing under the hand of its Clerk.
44. No person shall in any open space interfere with, obstruct or annoy any personor persons who are lawfully engaged in pursuance of these byelaws or any general authority or Act of Parliament in military or athletic exercises, or in playing or making preparations to play at any lawful game, or in playing music, or delivering any public address or doing any other act.
Obstructing Officers of the Council, constables etc.
45.No person shall in any open space resist, obstruct or aid or incite any person to resist or obstruct any officer of the Council or other Person in the execution of his duty or lawful exercise of his authority.
Offenders, penalties, etc.
46.Any person (not being an officer of the Council acting in execution of his duty orother person acting in lawful exercise of any authority) committing any breach of these by-laws shall be subject to a penalty not exceeding pounds, and to a penalty not exceeding twenty shillings for each day on which such offence shall continue after written notice of the offence shall have been given by the Council. (Now level 2 fines.)
47.It shall be lawful for any officer of the Council to exclude or remove from any open space, any person committing any breach of the above byelaws, and all gypsies, hawkers, whether licensed or not, beggars and rogues and vagabonds, and if any such person, after being told by any officer of the Council not to come into or upon any open space, shall come therein or thereon, or after being told by any officer of the Council to go therefrom, shall neglect or refuse to go, or, having left the place after being told as aforesaid to go therefrom, or having been removed therefrom as foresaid, shall return thereto, such a person shall be guilty of an offence against these byelaws, and liable to a Penalty. (Now level 2 fines.)