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This year Hampstead Heath celebrates its 150th year as a protected space. It remains a piece of British countryside in the centre of a metropolis. With over ten million visitors a year, its wildlife and habitats are under pressure from increasing use, climate change and urban pollution. Help us to protect the Heath and keep it a sanctuary for nature and people.
Caring for the Heath: what we can all do!

The City of London and English Heritage manage these habitats to promote biodiversity. Long grass and wildflower meadows provide homes for insects and food for birds. Help protect them by keeping your walks to mown “desire lines” and picnicking in short grass areas, leaving the long grass for the creepy crawlies.

We love to let our dogs take a dip in the ponds. But dog swimming disturbs sediments and introduces poisons from flea treatments, both of which can harm dragonflies and other species. To help our pond life, please swim dogs only in designated dog swimming areas.

Ken Wood Ken Wood from Kenwood House

Ken Wood, a Site of Special Scientific Interest
When Humphry Repton designed the landscape of Kenwood House in 1793, one of his principles was to improve the natural scenery while “making the whole appear the production of nature only”. At the edge of Repton’s splendid landscape lies an even more natural space, Ken Wood. This ancient woodland has trees over 400 years old. Their many holes are home to protected bats and distinctive hole-nesting birds. Listen for the repeated “hwoo” of Stock Doves in the treetops and the barks of Jackdaws, small relatives of crows, who have a colony in the Wood. Ring-necked Parakeets also breed in Ken Wood’s trees.

Stock Dove Stock Dove
Jackdaw Jackdaw
Ring-necked Parakeet Ring-necked Parakeet

Summer butterflies
Butterfly numbers have declined dramatically across Britain. New wildflower meadows are helping to restore and protect them on the Heath. The Common Blue lays its eggs on the yellow-flowered Birdsfoot Trefoil. It is one of more than 20 butterfly species you can see here.

Common Blue Butterfly Common Blue Butterfly

Dragonflies over ponds
Our ponds support 16 species of dragonfly and damselfly. Hawkers patrol pond edges, while Darters hunt from pondside perches.

Migrant Hawker Dragonfly Migrant Hawker Dragonfly

Kestrels over meadows
In Summer, watch young kestrels hover over meadows, learning to hunt mice and voles.

Kestrel Kestrel
Stock Dove Stock Dove
Jackdaw Jackdaw
Ring-necked Parakeet Ring-necked Parakeet
Ken Wood Ken Wood from Kenwood House
Common Blue Butterfly Common Blue Butterfly
Migrant Hawker Dragonfly Migrant Hawker Dragonfly
Kestrel Kestrel