Michael Palin’s outrage at Kenwood clean-up

NATURE lover Michael Palin has hit out at the organisers of the Kenwood concerts for leaving the Heath like a “First World War battlefield”.

The former Monty Python star says the Heath was left scarred by trackmarks and the landscape was left dead, dry and damaged.

Mr Palin said: “It is a lovely part of the Heath with the rolling little meadows in front of the house and I think English Heritage is duty bound to look after the landscape.

“It is just a real mess after the concerts. It is a shame that for most of the year the people who use the Heath have to put up with that mess.”

Mr Palin argues that the concerts should have been kept on the ‘perfect site’ of the lake site rather than be expanded over to a larger section of the grass nearer to Kenwood House.

“I always feel they should have kept the concerts at the lake side, it was a perfect site,” he said.

“I am not against the concerts but they have to get the balance right. For six to seven weeks of concerts the Heath, or the grounds of Kenwood House, take a bit of a battering.

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“I am sure each year English Heritage makes more and more money and I would like some assurances that some of it would be put back into restoring the landscape.”

Mr Palin described the post-concert park as depressing. He continued: “It is a great place by the lake for people to come and picnic or just hang around but you would not want to go up there at the moment because it looks like a First World War battlefield.”

Helen Bowman spokeswoman for English Heritage said: “English Heritage is committed to repairing and renewing the areas in the grounds of Kenwood affected by the summer concerts.

“We have a programme in place and over the next fortnight a vertidrain mechanism is going to be placed across the pasture ground which includes the concert arena area. This will aerate the soil and helps to alleviate the compaction that has been caused. In October work will begin to prep, seed and turf the affected areas.”

However Michael Hammerson, a member of the Kenwood Landscape Forum, said that this was not the first year such disruptions to the landscape had happened.

He said: “Last year, while I wouldn’t say it looked quite like a world war battlefield, it was certainly in a really terrible state – where the stage had been and the public toilets had been erected, the grass was completely dead and the earth all churned up.

Near the gazebo – where they had laid down materials for the cars to park on – the grass was also completely ruined.

“They said they planned to put it right in the autumn but the weather was so awful it just got put off and off. Work only started to make it right again in March or April and by that time it was almost time for this year’s concerts to get ruined all over again.”