Hampstead Heath comprises of 792 acres of varied, irregular groupings of heathland, woodland, fields and formal grounds.
The Heath, which is London’s highest open space, is a survivor of the once great Middlesex Forest.
Mainly south of it spreads the hill-town of Hampstead with its steep streets.
Responsibility for the Heath, which has large tracts of ecological importance including a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) (so designated by English Nature because of its outstanding geological and natural history importance), has rested with The Corporation of London since 1989.
More than two centuries ago it was a favourite refuge from London for wealthy lawyers, politicians and businessmen.
By the early 1800s its fans included artists and literary men such as Gainsborough, Romney, Constable, Keats, Coleridge and Leigh Hunt.
Many visitors to this site find it quite rewarding to browse through the numerous old pictures, illustrations and descriptions to see just what Hampstead Heath and its surrounding areas were like in olden days and how the area has developed and changed.
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