Hampstead Heath covers 320 hectares (790 acres) of hills, ponds and new and ancient woodlands between Hampstead and Highgate in London. It is a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation and part of the adjoining Kenwood House and grounds is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The heath contains numerous varied habitats and supports many species, notably bats, rare spiders, grass snakes stag beetles, kingfishers and all three species of woodpecker.
There is a series of ponds along the eastern perimeter, three of which are open for swimming (the Ladies’ Pond, the Men’s Pond and a Mixed Pond), as well as the Parliament Hill Lido, an uncovered, unheated swimming pool. All are open daily (check times).
There are three main trails for walkers, ranging from 2.5km (1.5miles) to 9.7km (6 miles) and countless opportunities to explore off these. Cycling is permitted on the Heath on marked shared use routes only (maximum speed 12 mph and pedestrians have priority).
Fishing is allowed in certain areas and at certain times of the year, by permit only.
There are facilities for a variety of sports: a 400m running track include facilities for pole vaulting, throwing, high and long jump; bowling greens, cricket pitches and practice nets; croquet lawns; football and rugby pitches; hard and grass tennis courts; a putting green and a petanque rink.
Additionally, there is a permanent orienteering course on the Heath, with one suitable for young people in the Golders Hill Park area, which also features formal flower and water gardens, a butterfly house and a small zoo.
The Heath is fully accessible by public transport.