January is a good time to look forward and indeed we have lots coming up on Hampstead Heath this year.

We started off 2024 with an exciting new event – the London International Cross Country – which took place on Saturday, January 20. Taking inspiration from the incredibly successful Night of the 10,000m Personal Bests, the event followed a new format that was more spectator-friendly with big screens and entertainment.

British Athletics, the event organisers, held a series of races for a range of age groups, including a qualifier for the World Athletics Cross Country Championship, so the standard of running was extremely high. As always, the atmosphere was excellent, and I would like to extend my congratulations to everyone who took part and braved the challenging hills of the Heath.

You can also mark the Night of the 10,000m Personal Bests in your diaries, which will be back on the Parliament Hill Athletics Track on Saturday, May 18, 2024.

Ham & High: William Upton is looking forward to the year ahead on Hampstead HeathWilliam Upton is looking forward to the year ahead on Hampstead Heath (Image: City of London Corporation)

We have plenty of non-running events on the cards, too – with the return of the Affordable Art Fair this spring and the historic funfairs on East Heath over Easter. There will be more details on these in the coming weeks, so keep an eye on the our website for more news and events: cityoflondon.gov.uk/hampsteadheath.

You may also have heard our superintendent, Bill LoSasso, on the radio recently talking about Golders Hill Park Zoo, which is free to enter and boasts an array of native and non-native creatures including wallabies, wildcats, and lemurs.

There are some exciting new experiences being launched this spring that will allow the public to feed the animals and try out being a zookeeper for a day. The zoo now has its own social media channels, so please do follow them for all the latest news and plenty of photos. You can follow them on X @GHPZoo and on Instagram @GoldersHillParkZoo.

For those out and about on the Heath Extension, you will have seen the desilting works out on the Seven Sisters chain of ponds. Hampstead Heath is managed by the City of London Corporation as a registered charity, meaning all revenue is reinvested so that important maintenance like this can be carried out.

I’m also pleased to say that the final pieces of play equipment have been installed in the Heath Extension playground. This now completes the project which was made possible thanks to fundraising from a number of local community groups. It’s great to see the new equipment looking so smart, courtesy of a little extra TLC from Theories Landscape and the Hampstead Heath team – ready to be used as and when the weather allows!

  • William Upton KC  is chair of the City Corporation’s Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood, and Queen’s Park Committee.