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.
'Davies's easy, affable style makes his Lakeland a plum-pie delight of gossip, pictures and facts. This is one to treasure' WI Life.
'Nicely produced and tastefully illustrated, the whole thing enchants from start to finish' The Times
'The generous illustrations to Lakeland are by turns beautiful and quirky. Engravings by artists of the Picturesque evoke the changing past of what Hunter Davies sums up as 'a living place not a museum'' TLS.
'A beautifully produced Lake District miscellany, informed by a lifetime's enthusiasm' TGO Magazine.
'A lovely read for everyone who loves the Lakes' Cumberland News