'Plenty of plans for Hampstead Heath in 2022'

John Beyer, chair of the Heath and Hampstead Society's Heath sub-committee.

John Beyer, chair of the Heath and Hampstead Society's Heath sub-committee. - Credit: John Beyer

This year may have been marked by the misery of Covid, but it was also a year when the society for the first time organized outdoor events on the Heath during the summer months to provide light relief.

These were to mark the 150th anniversary of the Hampstead Heath Act of 1871, but they proved so popular that we will continue with them in 2022. 

Look out for a return of the Kite Society of Great Britain for a magnificent kite display on Parliament Hill (otherwise known as Kite Hill, where else?). This will be held on Sunday, June 26.

Later in the summer we plan a return of the Natural Aspect concert at the bandstand at Parliament Hill. The name of the concert uses a term enshrined in the 1871 Act, which speaks of the need to preserve the “natural aspect and state” of the Heath. The concert is pencilled in for Sunday, September 4.

Care and conservation of the Heath have been the themes of a series of biodiversity boards at the entrances to the Heath and at Kenwood. The aim of the boards was to raise awareness among visitors of the wonderful variety of species on the open space – be they birds or bats – and to offer advice on how to protect wildlife.

The boards were devised by Professor Jeff Waage, working with partners: the City of London, English Heritage, the Marylebone Birdwatching Society and Heath Hands. The boards have had a positive response from the public and the partners have agreed to continue with the project with new boards and new themes in 2022.

The society was honoured and flattered to receive a substantial gift from the writer and broadcaster Hunter Davies. Hunter has been walking on the Heath for over 60 years and spent the lockdown year observing and talking to the astonishing variety of people who enjoy the Heath.

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The book The Heath: My Year on Hampstead Heath was launched with the help of the society in November; it is already being reprinted. Hunter donated the £10,000 advance for the book to the society in recognition of its work.

John Beyer is chair of the Heath and Hampstead Society's Heath sub-committee.

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