London Natural History Society The place for wildlife in London

London Natural History Society - The place for wildlife in London


         photo of grassy habitat at Hampstead Heath with red and white wildflowers and grasses                      Between 1997 and 2003, members of the London Natural History Society recorded the vascular plants (flowering plants and ferns) growing on Hampstead Heath and the places where they were found. Over 650 species were found growing on the Heath and every species found during the survey is included. Thus, besides native plants typical of the various habitats, there are records of garden escapes, of accidental introductions and of alien plants that have colonised the Heath, of amenity planting and other deliberate introductions, and of native plants that formerly grew on the Heath but, having become extinct at some time, have been re-introduced. 

Revisiting the Millennial Flora Project in 2022 – Call for Volunteers

In early 2022, the London Natural History Society was awarded a 30-month grant from the City of London for a pilot study to map key flora, fungi and lichens in the different habitats on the Heath. This study will provide a starting point for a baseline from which to monitor changes that might occur in the future due to habitat degradation or/or climate change.

There will be four main components: using the Millennial Flora data as a starting point, the rare native plants and invasive species that were previously recorded on Hampstead Heath, and any others that have subsequently appeared, will be mapped. In addition, the timing of the first leaf and flower appearance in spring will be monitored and the fungi and lichens mapped and recorded. Detailed analysis of the plants in defined areas of woodlands and meadows will be carried out to identify the plant communities living in these habitats.

                               1. Rare Plants and Invasive Species:

Using keys to help identification, volunteers will search for rare plants and invasive species in the locations mapped by the Millennial Flora project and elsewhere on the Heath, and also keep their eyes open for sightings of new species. 

2. Phenology:

The date when trees first leaf or plants come into flower will be monitored, with most consideration for trees such as Oaks, and flowering plants that are important to the Heath, like Tormentil on the acid grassland patches, Heath Bedstraw and Bluebell.

3. Detailed analysis of small areas of meadow and woodland

With help from expert botanists, all the meadow plants in a small grid (2m x 2m) and woodland plants in larger areas will be recorded, and the amount of each will be assessed by National Vegetation Classification (NVC) survey methods.  Volunteers will work in groups of 4-5. They will be given keys to help identification and can ask for help from the expert at hand.  

Photo of a pale blue mushroom4. Monitoring and mapping the fungi and lichen of the Heath

Most of this work will be carried out during public survey days led by experts, but volunteers will be encouraged to note the location, photograph the specimen and send the details for verification.

Sign up to help!

You will work in pairs or small groups, be given identification keys and maps, and mostly be able to record in your own time, except for the detailed NVC, fungi and lichen surveys which will be scheduled with experts. Ideally, you will record the location of rare and invasive plants onto an app on your phone, or work with someone who can do this. Training sessions will be arranged at the Hive. This is one of the City of London’s educational hubs on Hampstead Heath, situated equidistant between Gospel Oak and Hampstead Heath Overground stations.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

(Words by Liz Andrew)

NB: E-mail addresses will only be used to notify individual volunteers of events, distribute progress reports and for their submission of records collected on Hampstead Heath. Our data protection policy can be found on our website.