'Hampstead Heath is a truly iconic, treasured open space in London'

A swimmer diving at the mixed bathing ponds at Hampstead Heath

Plans have been submitted to Camden Council to make the Ponds more accessible - Credit: Yui Mok/PA

I’m lucky to live near to Hampstead Heath and have visited regularly over the years for walks with my family and friends. I’ve also been known to dip my toe in the Lido.

When the opportunity arose to join the Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park Committee, I was delighted to be able to give something back to these wonderful green spaces.  

Being the chair of the Committee gives me a chance to do even more and I look forward to working together with all our members at the City of London Corporation, our dedicated staff and volunteers. These are the people who make our enjoyment of these spaces possible.

It’s good to be able to have our events programme back again in full swing this summer.  

We’ve already hosted the Affordable Art Fair and the Night of the 10,000 PBs in May and the wonderful Platinum Jubilee Fun Day in early June.

William Upton QC, Hampstead Heath

William Upton says that after the last two years the Heath has become more popular than ever - Credit: City of London Corporation

Heath Hand’s Community Heath Day will celebrate volunteering and all of the diverse communities around the Heath on June 12 at the Parliament Hill Bandstand. On July 17, there is the ‘Give it a Go Day’ which focuses on health and wellbeing. It offers a number of activities to try, and there will be food and entertainment on offer around Parliament Hill. Both are free events and suitable for all ages and I hope you are able to join us. 

A planning application has recently been submitted to Camden Council which will allow us to add accessible changing space, a shower and toilet at the Mixed and Men’s Ponds plus a hoist to help swimmers get in and out of the water. At the Ladies’ Pond the plan is to increase the size of the accessible toilet so that it can be used for a shower and changing space too.

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The plans have been shared with swimmers and there was lots of helpful feedback which helped shape the proposals.

The Heath is also an important oasis for wildlife and our challenge is to continue to find the right balance so that this marvellous site can remain a valuable asset for people and biodiversity.

William Upton QC is chair of the City of London Corporation's Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen’s Park Management Committee.