View from the Heath: Disconnect, unwind from work and enjoy the Heath’s tranquillity this Christmas


- Credit: Archant

Hampstead Heath is a jewel in the crown of a city renowned for its open spaces.

And we are proud that people use the Heath for leisure and recreation, as well as serious local, regional and national competitions.

It is always a thrill to watch cross country running on Hampstead Heath and in November we again welcomed the London Youth Games.

Thousands of young people from all 32 boroughs raced to the top of Parliament Hill, making it the biggest participation event of its kind in London. This is where, as a boy, World and Olympic Champion Mo Farah first cut his teeth over even longer distances.

Hampstead Rugby Club continues to set high standards in youth development. On any Saturday morning during autumn and winter up to 250 children get involved in drills and mini matches on the Heath, linking to inter-school coaching sessions, local community touch rugby evenings and Camden’s School Tag Rugby competition.

Highgate Harriers run an excellent programme called Quad Kids providing positive experiences for young people with challenging needs, while several Heath clubs play a major role in promoting female participation in sport as part of the initiative This Girl Can.

Undoubtedly, one of the greatest sporting successes on the Heath has been the Highgate Harriers Night of the 10,000PBs. As an innovative attempt to revive 25 lap racing on Parliament Hill in 2013, it has amalgamated Team GB Olympic trials for Rio 2016 and hosted the European Cup in 2018.

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This event continues to offer free spectator admission and, in partnership with City of London Corporation, which manages the Heath, has become a case study for the important role of volunteer engagement in community wellbeing. In 2019 this wonderful event takes place on the 6th of July - do come along and lend your support.

As we move into the wintery nights, I would like to wish you all a season’s greetings and a Happy New year.

I hope you will be able to visit over the festive period and join in with some of our numerous activities on Hampstead Heath, or simply disconnect and relish the joy of tranquillity at this special time.