Opinion: Eco-friendly vehicles and equipment among Heath 2020 plans

Karina Dostalova, Hampstead Heath Management Committee has enjoyed the Heath's 30th anniversary but

Karina Dostalova, Hampstead Heath Management Committee has enjoyed the Heath's 30th anniversary but is looking forward to the future. - Credit: Archant

There is still a lot to enjoy from a visit to Hampstead Heath, even now that the days are getting shorter and the temperature continues to drop.

Whether it is to go for a long restorative walk to take in the stunning autumnal colours of our many wonderful trees, or perhaps you are one of our ever-growing winter swimmers who brave the chilly waters of our bathing ponds all year round, or one of our hard-working volunteers who give their spare time to help us with important conservation work, no matter the season.

The Heath brings so much joy to many and the City of London Corporation is proud to have been looking after this open space for 30 years. Our dedicated staff, a few of whom have been with us for the whole 30 years, are passionate about their jobs and about ensuring the Heath remains a wonderful place to visit.

We have enjoyed celebrating the 30th anniversary this past year and would like to thank the Heath & Hampstead Society who organised a party for staff in gratitude for their hard work. Our summer season of free musical concerts and our community events, Give it a Go! Festival, and the Night of the 10,000m also played a part in our celebrations, as did the Affordable Art Fair, the historic bank holiday fun fairs and our annual conker competition. We were delighted that all these events were well attended and brought newcomers as well as our regular visitors to enjoy the variety of events on the Heath.

Looking ahead to 2020, we have many exciting projects to look forward to. Due to the popularity of the sauna at the lido, we have recently opened a new larger and improved sauna which is already a big hit with winter swimmers.

Our extensive and expanding programme of wildlife monitoring will continue into next year. Assisted by volunteers, our ecology and conservation team monitor many of the different species that live on the Heath. This monitoring gives us a good indication of the ecological health of our habitats, which then informs us how best to manage them to improve biodiversity.

Keeping the Heath sustainable for future generations is one of the priorities in our Heath Management Strategy. We are moving our fleet and equipment away from fossil fuels and towards electric powered and we will continue to roll-out an improved waste and recycling arrangements to ensure we are recycling as much as possible, and you too can help us by taking your rubbish home with you to be recycled.

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The first of our cross-country events - the London Youth Games - took place on Saturday and a huge congratulations goes to all of the young people who joined in this inspiring event.

On January 25, 2020 the Southern Counties Cross Country Championships will return, and we highly recommend coming along to spectate and to cheer on the thousands of athletes as they compete on the challenging course.

Have a wonderful festive season and a happy new year and may the Heath, bring you more calm, joy, exhilaration, and all of the other wonderful emotions you feel when you visit, in 2020.

Karina Dostalova is