Dinosaurs and mythical beasts found lurking in Hampstead Heath trees

Hampstead Heath – for all its splendour – is not normally considered a spot for an “animal safari”, but one photographer has discovered extinct and mythical creatures lurking in the undergrowth.

Among Sandrine Joseph’s best finds through the lens of her camera are twisted and gnarled trees which resemble a baby diplodocus, a fire cat and a forest monster.

More than 10 years ago the French photographer first strode out on the Heath and she has been finding new subjects ever since.

Mrs Joseph, from Back Lane, Hampstead, said: “When I’m on the Heath I see many, many things with this fantastic, arty way of looking at trees.

“I’ve read up a lot on the mythology about trees and that’s what is great about the Heath, it’s a world within a world.

“All us Heath lovers like different parts, but I love walking across the Heath and getting lost in the woods and finding new things.”

Mrs Joseph, who works for French newspaper Le Figaro, hopes one day to take children from Heathside Preparatory School in New End, Hampstead, on an “animal safari” around the Heath to show them her discoveries.

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Her favourite find is the baby diplodocus.

“Its eye looks almost blue because it had just rained before I took that shot – there’s no photoshop at all,” she said.

Mrs Joseph, who ran a stall with her artwork on the Heath at the Hampstead Summer Fair, is showing some of her work at a gallery in Versailles which opens next Friday (October 26).

Alongside her animal finds, she will be displaying other snaps of trees which resemble the feminine form, in what Mrs Joseph called a “sexy exhibition”.