Cohen's Fields (originally part of Sherrick's Farm) consist of an upper and lower field.
The upper field slopes down from The Pagoda, just outside the Kenwood House Stable Gate, and meets the hedgerow border of the Athlone House gardens on its one side and Millfield Lane and the Goodison Fountain at its bottom end.
The lower field (sometimes known as Potter's Field) is entered through a small cutting in the hedgeway, about halfway down the Athlone House side of the upper field and this part runs behind and parallel to Millfield Lane/Fitzroy Park as far as the bottom of the path leading from Millfield Lane to Highgate Gate.
The fields were named after Robert Waley-Cohen, a charismatic notary, formerly Chairman of British Shell and who resided at Caen Wood Towers (Athlone House).
In the 1920s, he was a prominent member of The Kenwood Preservation Society and Cohen's Fields once belonged to Lord Southampton.
At the far end of the lower Cohen's Field is a ring of seven oak trees, now known as Denzil's Copse, and in its centre is a plaque (1975) dedicated to Denzil Budgett-Meakin, a protector and ardent lover of The Heath.
Denzil Budgett-Meakin was one of the founder members of The Highgate Society and his father, James Edward, had been one of the group of Victorian stalwarts which was responsible for much of the preservation of Hampstead Heath as we know it today.
Denzil was born in Heath Hurst Road in 1901, was educated at Highgate School and after graduating from Oxford University he joined Unilever in 1925 for the next forty-one years.
A pillar of The Congregational Church in Pond Square, Denzil was the first chairman of the Highgate Society Environment Committee and fought passionately to prevent the private development of the land below Witanhurst that the land could still be part of The Heath.
Yehudi Menuhin* , the Society’s first president said “We in Highgate will long remember the man who perhaps more than anyone I know embodied the great English virtue of ‘measure’. Indefatigable and determined, courageous and principled, he never exceeded the bounds of propriety, however tenacious and methodically devastating he could be within those bounds.”
Unfortunately, the original copse was destroyed by drought in 1976 but was replanted in the Autumn of that year.
(the above details supplied by Catherine Budgett-Meakin)
*Yehudi Menuhin planted a chestnut tree in Pond Square