Walks and Trees

The Belsize Walk was introduced in the early 2000’s by Camden and TfL, with significant input by local residents, as part of the “Walking Plan for London”. The walkways join two of London’s largest green spaces; Regent’s Park and Hampstead Heath and are marked by metal discs (right). The design of these discs is based on the metal coal-hole covers, used in the 19th and early 20th centuries with a London Plane leaf found on the route, being the decorative feature.

Early in the walk and slightly off route, is Primrose Hill (65 metres high) one of six statutory protected views of St Paul’s Cathedral and the walk terminates on another protected view, Parliament Hill (98 metres high). In between is a two and a half hour heritage walk of notable and varied architecture which passes through the Belsize Conservation Area, previously part of the Manor of Belsize which was extant in 1317.

Belsize Wood – credit: Luke Collins

Download the Belsize Walk Leaflet here.

Other Walks
Find information about local walks here and for canal towpath walks, go here.

A Walk through the Blue Plaques of Belsize

If you’re about to take a quirky walk around the United Kingdom, you might plot the route to visit the 940 Blue Plaques adorning the faces of old buildings; historical markers commemorating a link between the location and a notable individual, event or former building on the site.
The common denominator connecting each person is death and the process of erecting a Blue Plaque will only be initiated after the person has been deceased for at least twenty years or has passed the centenary of their birth. The idea of a commemorative plaque scheme was first put to the House of Commons by William Ewart MP in 1863 and has played an important role in the history of the conservation movement. Today, English Heritage is responsible for Blue Plaque installations.
Belsize Park is home to a dozen or so plaques. These can be found by following the three mile circuit described in this guide and map

Heritage Trail: Belsize Park to Camden Town

You can follow a self-guided heritage walk from Belsize Park underground station to Camden Town underground station (3.3 miles)?  The walk has no fewer than 104 points of interest and covers 41 distinguished buildings.
The Heath & Hampstead Society, via its collaboration with the Northern Heights Partnership, has a fully illustrated guide to this section of the Hampstead Heritage Trail. The booklet, together with nine other guides, all full of information and maps, show the entire route of the Trail. For information on the full trail, see here. To buy this and the other booklets, priced from £3 each, see here.
Find information about other walks here and for canal towpath walks, go here. Find out about The Belsize Walk here.

Trees in Camden

Camden Council manages approximately 28,000 individual trees across the borough and 10-15,000 additional trees as part of sites of nature conservation. The trees are inspected every three years to check whether tree work is required. The diverse tree stock includes a large number of pollution-resilient London planes and also limes, sycamores, maples, birch, ash, cherry, holly, whitebeam and false acacia.
The Council aims to plant at least 400 trees each year, mostly as replacements. Over 3,500 trees are classed as juvenile, which means they are seedlings and saplings. Find out more here.

Did you know that you can:
– Help to water the young trees? Look for instructions attached to the trees
– Offer to plant flowers in your street’s tree pits
– Ask to plant commemorative trees on council land
– Propose a new planting location on council land
– Learn more here

Planning consent for tree works in conservation areas
and on trees with preservation orders (TPO)

Works on trees located in conservation areas require six weeks notice of proposed works if:
– the tree is more than 7.5cm in diameter
– the tree is more than 1.5m in height (or 10cm if the work is to help the growth of other trees)
If the council has any objections to the proposed works, it will send a letter informing you that the tree is to be protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). If the council has not responded within six weeks, works may be carried out without its consent.
Trees with TPOs require consent for works from the council. Please note that TPOs are overridden if the tree has to be felled to make way for a new development which has already been granted planning permission.
Emergency works: whether in a conservation area or carrying a TPO, the normal application process is waived if the tree is dead, dying or dangerous. However, the council must be given five days notice of the intention to carry out any work.
Trees obstructing public highways: trees overhanging the pavement should have a minimum clearance height of 2.5m (or 5m above roads) and may be pruned to this height but more than 2.5m requires consent. Where the minimum clearance is not met, owners may be served with a notice to prune their trees. For full information, see here.

To see if any tree works are planned in your area, please look at the weekly planning lists here.
NB. Tree applications carry the suffix ‘/T’.