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.

This large London green space lies on a ridge made up of sands and gravels deposited by rivers and shallow seas, above a bed of older London Clay that had been laid down when the area was a deep sea, and provides one of the highest points in London. People have been using the heath for centuries and this has, inevitably, shaped the it into the area it is today. Managed by the City of London, the site is a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation and contains a Site of Special Scientific Interest and contains a wealth of historical features (including the Kenwood House estate managed by English Heritage).
Hampstead Heath PanoramaHampstead Heath Panorama © Keiron Derek Brown

Today the heath is not only a key site for naturalists, but is host to cultural events, home to a wide range of sports facilities and a popular place for Londoners to socialise. Most of the heath falls within the London Borough of Camden, with the Hampstead Heath Extension within the London Borough of Barnet.

Natural History

Hampstead Heath c Keiron Derek Brown 5© Keiron Derek BrownThe heath is a mosaic of habitats, including woodland, scrub, grassland (including small areas of acid grassland), hedgerows, ponds and wetlands, as well as small areas of heathland which gives this green space its name. 

These habitats provide a home for a wide range of animals, plants and fungi. Several organisations (including LNHS) have played a part in recording the wildlife of the heath.  

There have been many studies of the flora and fauna of the heath by LNHS members since the Society was formed over 150 years ago; many of them published in the Society's journal The London Naturalist.

A regular series of meetings and investigations was started over 20 years ago with the Hampstead Heath Survey; a long-term project with the objective to record the status and changes to all forms of wildlife on the heath (covering over 300ha), and to allow members to share and coordinate their recording efforts. 

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. The survey found that grass snakes remain the only native reptile on the heath and made recommendations for their conservation.

Millennial Flora of Hampstead Heath (1997-2003): This LNHS initiative consisted of extensive and structured recording of the vascular plants (flowering plants and ferns) growing on Hampstead Heath, and the places where they were found.

Ancient Tree Survey (2002): Heath Hands undertook a detailed survey to record various aspects of the ancient trees on the Heath. 790 trees were surveyed in total, with many oaks over 200 years old. The survey helped improve the future management of the veteran trees and plan for succeeding generations of woodland.

Hampstead Heath Infographic

Additional Information

Hamsptead Heath StepsWebsite:

Twitter: @CityCorpHeath
Directions: The size of this green space means different parts are accessible via a range of London Underground/Overground stations (including ​Golders Green, Hampstead​, Kentish Town​, Hampstead and Gospel Oak). See official website for details.
Facilities: A host of facilities exist, including an athletics track, an education centre, extensive children's facilities, three swimming ponds and a lido. See official website for details.