It’s been a busy few weeks on the Heath with the Affordable Art Fair followed by the Night of the 10k PBs.

This year, the trials for the Paris Olympics were part of the event, organised by the Highgate Harriers, and it was a wonderful opportunity to see world-class athletes on our newly refurbished track, along with the club runners.

The night had a festival atmosphere and it was a great pleasure to be there along with Alderman Gregory Jones KC, my deputy chair.

Managing a packed calendar of events is a delicate art and we’re lucky to have Paul Maskell (our events manager) with many years of experience under his belt.

Some of the events that take place here help to generate income for the Hampstead Heath Charity, which is crucial for conserving and managing this fantastic green space.

Ham & High: William Upton appreciates the support staff and volunteers give to the HeathWilliam Upton appreciates the support staff and volunteers give to the Heath (Image: City of London Corporation)

The popular Heath Hands Community Fun Day will take place on June 23, between 1pm and 5pm at the Parliament Hill bandstand. They have an important milestone to celebrate as this summer marks the 25th anniversary of Heath Hands.

It has been quite a journey, starting out in 1998 as a community-led group of locals to a charity delivering over 15,000 volunteer hours every year with over 1,500 volunteers all eager to lend a hand.

Heath Hands are one of the volunteering groups that supports our staff in conserving the Heath. They also recently introduced a youth programme and now offer work experience opportunities to help young people get on the career ladder.

Volunteers are involved in so many aspects of the Heath’s day-to-day care, from assisting with conservation tasks, wildlife monitoring and litter picking, to helping out at events.

An exciting development on the Heath this spring has been the unveiling of two new pond platforms in the teaching garden.

The City Corporation’s Learning Team have funded these improvements which will enable schools and young people from some of London’s most underserved boroughs, to immerse themselves in hands-on science and nature learning while also having fun.

In July, our fantastic ‘Give it a Go’ festival of sports and wellbeing returns to Parliament Hill and we hope you can join us on Sunday, July 14, to try out a new activity or enjoy the festival atmosphere around the bandstand.

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