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HOLLOW BEECH TREE (Fagus sylvatica) ~

The Heath is scattered with remarkable old trees but perhaps the most famous is the Hollow Beech Tree.

This is very popular with children as they can climb into the base of it!

Walk down the long path from The Spaniards Road (Jack Straws Castle end), and carry on past the Firs (one alleged area painted by Constable) and The Vale Of Health, on the right.

Then take the right fork at The Battery and proceed down The Viaduct Path.

The famous Mock Tudor public conveniences are on the left. (see above)

Just beyond the conveniences is a path sharp right.

Take this path, along the side of a line of old trees, and the hollow beech is about fifty yards along this path.

There are also a couple of  very rare Wild Service trees (Sorbus torminalis)  forming part of the line of boundary trees here.

In the seventeenth century the most famous hollow tree  was “Hollow Elme Tree of Hampstead”, which stood near the summit of the Heath.

It was possibly the main Hampstead tourist attraction!

It was 28 feet in girth and had a hollow trunk with winding staircase and 42 steps.

At the top, 33 feet above ground, was a turret which could hold 6 people seated and 14 standing.

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