As the days lengthen and the weather warms up, nature starts to wake up on the Heath.

The first woodland flowers such as lesser celandine and wood anemones emerge, spectacular displays of blackthorn (and, later, hawthorn) blossom brighten the hedgerows, and more ornamental highlights such as Kenwood House’s magnolias and daffodils bloom.

As the plants awaken, so does the Heath’s wildlife and this means Heath Hands is busy planning our annual monitoring programmes to record key species like reptiles, butterflies and dragonflies.

We also collaborate with the London Natural History Society to track seasonal changes to plants. All this data helps the City of London Corporation's Conservation Team plan their habitat management work.

Ham & High: Karin Oleinikova is welcoming spring to Hampstead Heath Karin Oleinikova is welcoming spring to Hampstead Heath (Image: Heath Hands)

This habitat management work forms a key part of our volunteering activities across the year on Hampstead Heath, with our Conservation Volunteers out on daily practical sessions.

Spring is also a fantastic time to get involved with nature interpretation, with lots of activities for the public, families and local schools to connect people of all ages to the natural environment.

Taking part in nature-based activities provides a wealth of benefits to physical and mental wellbeing, particularly through social interaction and exercise.

We’re working with a range of healthcare practitioners and community organisations to support individuals or groups who might particularly benefit from spending time outdoors. To find out more about all our wellbeing programmes, go to:

If all this talk of nature awakening makes you want to get out and about, an easy and friendly way to get outdoors is by joining one of our weekly health walks. There’s no need to book – just find our volunteer Walk Leaders (in green hi-vis) at either Parliament Hill Café (Mondays, 10am and Thursdays 11am for shorter walks) or Hampstead Heath Overground (Mondays, 10am, for a longer walk).

There’s a year-round programme of events and activities on the Heath including staff-led walks (next up, Signs of Spring on April 18), and Nature Mindfulness (April 19). Or join in the fun with our weekend nature activities for the whole family. To find out more please visit:

  • Karin Oleinikova is Heath Hands’ programme manager.