London Natural History Society The place for wildlife in London

London Natural History Society - The place for wildlife in London

About LNHS

London's biodiversity faces new challenges from climate change and development pressure. You can contribute to the conservation of wildlife in the London area by helping to record the changing fortunes of the many species that live here. Together with our historic records, this information will help us to tackle the conservation issues of the future.

Waterloo 07

 The London Natural History Society comprises of a number active sections focusing on specific taxonomic groups or wildlife sites.

The story of biological recording in our area goes back several centuries… as early as 1629 Thomas Johnston compiled a detailed species list for Hampstead Heath following a botanical ramble he had undertaken with a group of nine companions. This is an early example of a long and thriving tradition of naturalists, many of them amateurs (in the best sense of the word - people with a passion for, and deep knowledge of, their subject) who over the years have made an enormous contribution to scientific knowledge of the natural world.

“Hampstead Heath's mosaic of habitats provides a resource for wildlife just six kilometres from the centre of London. It is of national as well as regional importance. Hampstead Heath features a number of priority species identified in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.”
City of London

Hampstead Heath Survey is the section of the LNHS responsible for the recording the fungi, flora and fauna of Hampstead Heath, including the Kenwood Estate, Golders Hill Park and the Hampstead Heath Extension.


What does the Hampstead Heath Survey section cover?

Hampstead Heath Species 2017The Hampstead Heath Survey is a long-term project to record the wildlife in this large area (more than 300 ha – see map below) of semi-natural habitat entirely surrounded by the urban environment of North London. 

Alongside surveying and monitoring, the section works with English Heritage, the City of London and other stakeholders to ensure the natural environments of the Heath are conserved for future generations.


Hampstead Heath section events

Hampstead Heath Survey events are open to all, including both LNHS members and non-members. Click here for the LNHS event programme

Four spot Orb weaver SQUAREHampstead Heath Survey Talks
are 'indoor meetings' held annually at the section AGM. These meetings are an opportunity to learn about a topic related to the ecology of the Heath and to meet others interested in the ecology and conservation of this important North London site (warning… they may spill over into a local pub afterwards)!

Hampstead Heath Survey Field Recorder Days are held annually and focus on a different specific area of the Heath, with previous events focusing on the West Heath bog and the Bird Sanctuary pond area. Recorders of all taxa are encouraged to attend these events to record the wildlife within their area of expertise and assist the section in producing a site species list for the focus area.

Hampstead Heath earthworm surveying SQUAREHampstead Heath Survey Field Meetings
usually take place on the first Saturday of the month. They can be full or half day events and offer an excellent opportunity to learn about groups such as Spiders, Bees and Fungi;

  • to learn and develop ID skills.
  • to get a feel for the range of species you might expect to find on the Heath.
  • to meet others interested in the ecology and conservation of the Heath.

Meetings are generally led by local experts and are suitable for naturalists with all levels of knowledge including complete beginners.

How to get invoved?

Aside from attending our events, there are a number of ways that you get involved with the Hampstead Heath Survey…

Biological Recording is at the core of the Hampstead Heath Survey and our Society Recorders are always happy to receive records of your species observations from the Heath. If you have a specialist interest, we recommend that you contact the relevant Society Recorder directly. Otherwise, you can submit species records for any group through the LNHS iRecord activity:

Facebook is our social media platform of choice for sharing Hampstead Heath Survey news and providing a forum for members to ask questions and discuss interesting finds:

Joining the Hampstead Heath Survey Committee is a great way to put your existing skills to good use or even develop new ones. Each committee member has a specific role and we are always on the lookout for more helpers with organising events, managing social media and producing informative content for the webiste. Check out the Contact Us page to find out how to get in touch.

Hampstead Heath Survey projects

The Hampstead Heath Survey section also undertake projects related to the natural history of the Heath, such as distribution atlases to assess the state of a given species group.

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. 

If you would like to get involved, please see Millennial Flora of Hampstead Heath Project 2022 for more information.

millenial flora map

Millennial Flora of Hampstead Heath Project
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 which formerly grew on the Heath but, having become extinct at some time, have been re-introduced. 

Reptile Survey of Hampstead Heath 2008 - 2009
A survey was carried out by the London Essex and Hertfordshire Amphibian and Reptile Trust (LEHART) for the City of London for reptile species (excluding terrapins) on Hampstead Heath from summer 2008 to spring 2009. A preliminary desk study of existing records suggested that the only species of native reptile remaining on the Heath was the barred grass snake Natrix helvetica, which was the subject of a re-introduction in the mid 1980s.

The City of London have kindly given the LNHS permission to publish the LEHART report for download.