Veteran Tree Survey
Some of the ancient and the largest trees on Hampstead Heath have been surveyed in the past but there never was a thorough and complete ancient tree register. In 2002, Jeremy Wright, a tree enthusiast and Heath Hands volunteer, together with Deborah Wolton, Heath Hands trustee, launched a comprehensive survey to record various aspects of the ancient trees on the Heath.
The ambitious survey, was to follow the trees marked on the 1870 Ordnance Maps, with the exception of Kenwood, where English Heritage already had detailed record. Teams of volunteers planned to locate each tree, identify the species, measure its girth and note down a myriad of important features. Is it a part of the ancient hedgerow or boundary line? Has it been pollarded or coppiced? Does it harbour algae, lichens, moss or fungi? Do bats roost in its crown? Altogether, some 26 characteristics of each tree were recorded.
Over 790 trees were surveyed, with many oaks between 200 and 300 years old, and a few being probably 400 years or more. The survey also uncovered some impressive specimens of beech, horse chestnuts and poplar.
The aim of this detailed survey was to assist the Corporation of London to improve the management of the veteran trees and their surroundings, and most importantly, help to plan the next generation. All in all more than 40 volunteers worked on the ancient tree survey project contributing over 800 hours.
Whitestone Garden is an oasis of green abutting Heath Street, close by Whitestone Pond on the edge of Hampstead Heath. The area had remained overgrown and derelict until the Corporation of London invited Heath Hands to help with reclaiming the area for public use.
Actually a part of Hampstead Heath, this tiny sliver of land was formed more as an urban street than as an open space. The garden was open to the public on 24 July 2003, following an extensive renovation and re-landscaping by our volunteers. More than 60 volunteers gave over 600 hours of labour to transform the derelict, vandalised corner into an attractive addition to Hampstead Heath.
Keats House Garden
World Association of Girl Guides