It’s hard to believe that it has been only seven weeks since I took on this incredible post of superintendent. 

I am so heartened by the warm welcome that I have received from the local community and our incredible team who care for the special spaces we are entrusted with. This corner of north London is quickly feeling like home.    

My reverence for green spaces began many years ago, back in the United States when I would visit a large local park to escape the city, discover the natural world, and let my imagination run wild. Today, some 40 years later and across an ocean, I find myself doing the same thing.

Since beginning my service in September, I have gotten lost on the Heath, marvelled at the hidden pergola (and the lemurs!) in Golders Hill Park, wandered the ancient woodland of Highgate Wood, visited grazing sheep on the Heath Extension, and taken in the conker championship at Parliament Hill. 

Hampstead Heath and Highgate Wood really do simultaneously offer both an escape and a sense of community, and I must often remind myself I live in a city.  It’s a sentiment I’m sure you share too.

Beyond the unrivalled natural beauty, diverse wildlife and iconic features of these spaces, however, what has struck me most is the passion of their visitors. 

Ham & High: Bill LoSasso has been struck by the passion of visitors to the HeathBill LoSasso has been struck by the passion of visitors to the Heath (Image: City of London Corporation)

Today, the Heath and Highgate Wood are so many things to so many people. It’s important to recall that the Heath was saved from development over 150 years ago by a community committed to its preservation.  The energy that fuelled that original campaign continues today.

This brings me comfort. We live in a time when there are seemingly endless threats to our green spaces. Expanding population. The climate crisis. Biodiversity loss. The nature and wildlife we love are facing challenges like never before. 

This all brings with it a greater need for support for our collective physical and mental health.  While our green spaces are indeed under stress, they are also a solution. We know that the health of our green spaces is related to our own physical and mental wellbeing, and that they are directly linked to climate resilience.  

All this underscores the importance of the support of the City of London Corporation, which manages and protects Hampstead Heath - and 11,000 acres of green spaces across London and southeast England. Investments in wildlife habitats, wildflower gardens, and athletics facilities are recent examples, and our unwavering commitment remains.    

As I look forward, I cannot help but be excited. 

We have an expert and tireless team with years of experience, committed to caring for these beautiful spaces.  I know that we are in good company, having joined a community of dedicated stewards committed to protecting these green oases. 

What an incredible legacy to be a part of.  

  • Bill LoSasso is the City of London Corporation’s superintendent, North London Open Spaces.