Agenda item

Superintendent's Update - Highgate Wood

Report of the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath.


Members considered an update report of the Superintendent regarding Highgate Wood and the following reports were made.


Roman Kiln Project


·         The Highgate Wood Manager noted that the cost of the extension and conversion of the information building was higher than anticipated and stood at £150,000. An application would be submitted by the Friends of Highgate Roman Kiln to the City Bridge Trust in May 2020.


Green Flag and Green Heritage


·         The Highgate Wood Manager noted that the Wood had undergone its Green Flag and Green Heritage inspection on 7 June 2019. One of the inspectors was the Director of the Forest Schools Association, who had particularly welcomed the City’s efforts to increase the number of Forest Schools using the Wood.




·         The Highgate Wood Manager drew Members’ attention to efforts to reduce the level of food waste at the café facility.


Volunteer Activity for 2018/19


·         The Highgate Wood Manager placed on record his thanks to Heath Hands for their work following the summer holiday period to pull thistle from the meadow area on the southern edge of the sports field.


Tree Disease and Biosecurity Issues


·         The Highgate Wood noted that the Wood was, alongside the Heath, subject to a target-based approach to combating identified Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) nests. 110 nests had been found in the Wood, of which half had been removed.


Forest Schools and Events


·         A Member commented that it would perhaps be useful for the Superintendent to develop a baseline of officer capacity against which to measure the likely impact of events within the Wood. The Member added that officers should be mindful of ensuring that a diverse range of stakeholders should be able to access the Wood as possible, balanced against the likely impact of noisy activity in open areas e.g. the sports field versus the Wood proper.


·         The Highgate Wood Manager noted that the Community Heritage Day had been a success and well attended. The Day had featured a Climate Change Hub with a number of stalls representing Population Matters and Extinction Rebellion.


Sports Field


·         The Highgate Wood Manager noted that the football pitch had been affected by a combination of compaction, poor drainage and damage by dogs resulting in a letter of complaint from a long-standing football team. The Highgate Wood Manager had undertaken to commission an independent assessment of the pitches by the Institute of Groundsmen. In response to a question, the Highgate Wood Manager noted that likely mitigation measures would include re-seeding and aeration of the soil, with a potential review of the efficacy of the existing drainage systems.


RESOLVED, that the report be received.


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