The Heath - My Year on Hampstead Heath
An engaging and supremely well-observed portrait of Hampstead Heath – a place rich not just in natural wonders but in history and monuments, emotions and memories, people and places.
The eight hundred acres of Hampstead Heath lie just four miles from central London; and yet unlike the manicured inner-city parks, it feels like the countryside: it has hills and lakes, wild spots and tame spots. You can spend hours walking round it – and only ever cross one road.
Hunter Davies has lived within a stone's throw of Hampstead Heath for more than sixty years and has walked on it nearly every day of his London life. For him, it is not just a place of recreation and relaxation – as rich in history and monuments as it is in natural wonders – but also a treasure-house of memories and emotions. In The Heath, he visits all parts of this, the largest area of common land in the Britain's capital city: from Kenwood House to the Vale of Health, from Parliament Hill to Boudicca's Mound, and from the Ladies Bathing Pond to the fabulous pergola – wonder of the remote West Heath. As he walks, Davies talks to the diverse array of individuals who frequent the Heath: regulars; visitors; dog walkers; stall holders at the weekly farmer's market; famous faces having their morning stroll; twenty-first-century hippies spreading peace, love and happiness.
Engaging, informative and supremely well-observed, The Heath is an affectionate portrait of one of London's – and the world's – iconic urban green spaces.