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Hampstead Heath

From Academic Kids

Hampstead Heath is a park in the north of London, covering 791 acres (3.2 km²). The name of the park comes from a rare heathland habitat. It has 25 main ponds and areas of ancient woodland, bog, hedgerows and grassland. Parts of the park have been designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest by English Nature.

It is owned by the Corporation of London, which also maintains most of the park. The Kenwood area, 112 acres (0.5 km²), is maintained by English Heritage. Most of the park, 681 acres (2.8 km²), lies in the London Borough of Camden. The remaining 110 acres (0.4 km²) is the Hampstead Heath Extension lying in the London Borough of Barnet.

It was featured on the television programme Seven Natural Wonders as one of the wonders of the London area, along with nearby Parliament Hill. The episode was presented by Bill Oddie, who lives nearby and watches birds there, regularly.

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Kenwood_House.jpg
Kenwood House

Some of the train stations near the park are Gospel Oak and Hampstead Heath on the North London Line (Silverlink) to the south, Hampstead and Golders Green tube stations on the Northern Line to the west, and Highgate and Archway tube station on the Northern Line to the north.

At the southern tip of the park is the Lido open air swimming pool; further north near the Highgate side are two ponds in which swimming is allowed, both single-sex; to the west of these is the 'mixed pond', where members of either sex may swim. These ponds are fed by the Fleet River, which starts on the Heath and flows down to the River Thames at Blackfriars. Other ponds are variously used for fishing, model boats, and reserved for wildlife.

Part of the area (the West Heath) is well-known for its use by gay men as a cruising ground at night. There have been incidental attacks carried out on people cruising, and indecency prosecutions.

John Atkinson Grimshaw, Victorian era painter, painted an elaborate nighttime scene of Hampstead Hill in oils.

Parliament Hill, one of the highest points in London, offers good views over the city:

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London-panorama-hampstead-with-text.jpg
Panorama of London from Hampstead Heath. 30 St Mary Axe is at the left of the photograph, and the BT Tower is to the right. The dome of St Paul's Cathedral and the London Eye are also both clearly visible

References

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