The grand gate to the garden of the house to which Prime Minister William Pitt retreated during his mental breakdown, stands alone, half-strangled by a gigantic beech, hidden deep in the woods of the Heath.
You can still walk along the Saxon ditch mentioned in King Ethelred the Unready’s grant of Hampstead to the monastery of St. Peter’s Westminster in AD 986
The Bagshot Sands at the summit of the Heath were laid down by a vast river about 40 million years ago.
The flagstaff by Whitestone Pond stands at 440ft above sea level, Inner London’s highest point and the site of a beacon established to provide warning of the approach of the Spanish Armada in 1588.
The Heath is home to 15 species of dragonfly and at least seven species of bats: Noctule, Serotine, Natterer’s, Duabenton’s, Brown Long-eared, Soprano and Common Pipistrelle. It is also home to breeding grass snakes.
Around nine million visits to the Heath are made each year.
One of London’s few natural bogs can be found on West Heath.
Four of London’s rivers rise on the Heath: The Westbourne, the Tyburn, the Brent and the Fleet.
West Heath has been identified as an important Mesolithic site (10,000-5,000BC)
Over 800 old trees have been identified on the Heath some of which are veteran oaks over 500 years old. And the existence of rare wild service trees is indicative of ancient woodland.