SHEEP ON HAMPSTEAD HEATH? - HAMPSTEAD HEATH - 2016***

Hampstead
Heath
2017
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SHEEP ON HAMPSTEAD HEATH?

SHEEP ON THE HEATH?~

In 2010, a proposal was put forward to City Of London that sheep be reintroduced to Hampstead Heath.

As far as the author is aware, this idea is still in the debating stage.

However, there are obvious "worries" that have been aired that are not far removed from the inference to "The Curs of The Heath"!

Other concerns may not be unrelated to "Leg Of Mutton" Pond!

Indeed, the fact that Little Bo peep's languid tale could well take on a more sinister connotation will certainly figure in the debate detail, as well as the more positive aspect of saving time on purchasing grass cutting machinery.

In all seriousness, though, sheep were present on The Heath as late as 1956.

The greater part of The Heath, including The Heath Extension, is likely to have been used for pasture and meadow from the Middle Ages.

Flocks of sheep would be brought down to the neighbouring villages of Highgate and Hampstead.

Because of the rigours of the long journey, these were possibly allowed to graze on The Heath to feed them up again.

They would then be taken to the markets in London.

The picture above shows The Vale Of Health, where grazing was once the norm.

There were, of course, farms around The Heath.

Field enclosures can still be seen on The Heath Extension, as well as a greater number  in the areas between Hampstead and Highgate Ponds.

Some of these take the form of hedgerows and others are tree-lined boundaries.

One of our readers, Justin Parsons, notes: "
I was brought up in a cottage in Sandy road opposite the Bull and Bush pub.
There are 3 cottages that face the heath that were workers cottages for Pitt house.
In the deeds it stated we could graze our sheep on the heath and hang our washing between the Scots pine trees.
"

Until the second world war, sheep were grazed on The Extension and driven into what is now known as the Children's Enclosure Field, overnight.

Wyldes Farm and Platt's Farms were to be found on West Heath, where the remnants of Wyldes Farm or Tooley's Farm  (West Heath) can still be seen today.

There are the remains of The Farm and Dairy at Kenwood.

Fitzroy Farm and Millfield Farm were on the lower Heath side.

All these farms would have supported grazing land.

Would sheep improve The Heath today?

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