Friends of Millfield Lane
Friends of Millfield Lane
The Friends of Millfield Lane
The Friends of Millfield Lane


History of the area


Millfield Lane is remarkable. It is a narrow, unmade semi-rural track running along the eastern side of Hampstead Heath near Highgate, North London.  The lane runs from Merton Lane, past the Bird Sanctuary Pond and Kenwood Ladies’ Bathing Pond to Kenwood House. On either side it is enclosed by rich vegetation and overlooked by many veteran trees.  It is also a wildlife corridor where it is possible to hear the hoots of tawny owls at twilight and birdsong throughout the day.


It is a popular route for walkers, joggers and cyclists, as well as those simply wanting to escape the noise of London.  It is particularly popular with the thousands of women who swim each year at the Ladies’ Pond, and in the winter months it provides the only access route to that pond.


Some further details:


  • One of Charles II’s hunting lodges was located in this area.  Charles II had a number of mistresses, including Barbara Villiers who bore him a son in 1662 named Charles Fitzroy (Fitz: illegitimate son, and Roy: of the King) who gave his name to the area.
  • Millfield Lane is recorded as far back as the Middle Ages.  Over the years it has been variously known as Cut Through Lane, Nightingale Lane and, as the location of the only meeting of poets Keats and Coleridge, Poets’ Lane.
  • The whole area was part of the medieval manor of Tottenhall, later becoming part of the Parish of St Pancras, before being absorbed into the London Borough of Camden.
  • The ecology of the lane is exceptionally sensitive.  Ancient horsetails can be found along Millfield Lane and many of the veteran oaks date back several hundred years.  A freshwater spring feeding the historic pond in the grounds of 55 Fitzroy Park overflows across Millfield Lane towards the Bird Sanctuary Pond, its flow undiminished even during the record-breaking hot, dry summer of 2018.
  • In 1829, when Sir Thomas Maryon Wilson said he wanted to build on Hampstead Heath, the Morning Herald fumed: ‘We do hope this attempt to deprive the tradesmen of the pleasures of fresh air will be defeated.’  The battle for the Heath raged for 42 years, gave birth to the conservation movement and culminated in 1871 with the Heath being preserved by Parliament forever as the 'lungs of London'.
Camden New Journal 25 July 2019 - Heath Swimmers' Homes Protest
Further coverage in Camden New Journal highlighting environmental impact near borders of Hampstead Heath and risk of permanent increase in traffic in Millfield Lane if 5 house development allowed to go ahead.
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Camden New Journal 7 Mar 2019 - fears for Heath
Camden New Journal article 7 March 2019 "Homes Scheme - fear for Heath"
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31 July 2019 Petition has surpassed 4,500 and continues to grow.  Latest Camden New Joural article now on line here.


27 July 2019 Petition stands at 4,417, help us to get it to 5000!


July 2019 Renewed objections from Kenwood Ladies' Pond Association, Heath & Hampstead Society, Fitzroy Park Residents' Association, City of London and Highgate Conservation Area Advisory Committee uploaded to Camden Council planning portal.


7 June 2019 Further documents from applicants uploaded on council website, fail to address concerns about environmental impacts and permanent increase to traffic in Millfield Lane.


20 March 2019 Now have 4000 signatures.  Objections still being sent to Camden Council, you can see them here.


7 March 2019 Great coverage in the local press today, Camden New Journal (above) and Ham & High


5 March 2019 3000 signatures in just over a week.


1 March 2019 Surpassed 2000 signatures on St David's Day!  Support keeps coming in.


27 February 2019 We made 1000 signatures in little more than one day, petition still growing


25 February 2019 Online Petition launched and already growing!



PS:  if you live in the London Borough of Camden, please contact your local Councillor to tell them how you feel about this development too.  Quote planning reference for 55 Fitzroy Park - 2018/3672/P. Contact


Did you know they have the final say by voting on the proposals at the council's Development Control Committee meeting?  Highgate Ward Councillors may also address the planning meeting in respect of this application.

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