Saturday 28 February 2009

Daytrip to the cockney seaside of London?

We're down on the far eastern border of Hampstead Heath on the Highgate Road...

It's a part of the heath that when you use if regularly you know it well and if you don't go there often then it takes you by surprise.

The key element is the stunning view up the heath (towards the white marker stone) looking north west (towards Harrow?) and the great green expanse of the heath really opens up and looks just - well breath taking - pic below.

But there is also the entrance and the lovely clutter of shops around the Swain's Lane junction. On the side of the first building up the road - that abuts the heath - is this great wall mural (above right and building in tree next to it).

It has a faded grandeur about it and to my mind recalls the days of the late victorian and early edwardian daytrips to Hampstead Heath.

You can almost close your eyes and cast yourself back to noise and bustle of the weekend trips, when the heath was known as the London Cockney seaside - a real treat and day-out.

Now it's less focussed in that way and needs sort of spruce up - not to make it clinical but to make the entrance more defined and more suitable to the showing off of the view and making sure it's maintained in a way that is in keeping with the rural tradition of the heath.

I'm a member of the Hampstead Heath Management Committee and take a pretty close interest in the workings and maintenance - without a doubt we are lucky beyond calculation for this vast green lung here in NW3...

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