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Pleasant 28 hectare area of greenery north of Highgate in London, mainly hornbeam and oak and elm. Adjacent to it is another, wilder wood called Queen's Wood, named after Queen Victoria for her jubilee: before this it had had a less flattering name, Church-yard Bottom (a bottom is lowland, and it was used as a burial ground during the Plague).

The name Highgate Wood was officially bestowed on it only in 1886, when it was handed over by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to the Corporation of London as a public park, saving it from the developer's axe. Before then it had been known as Gravel Pit Wood, and in the seventeenth century as Brewer's Fell.

Together the two areas may be called Highgate Woods, and in parts constitute a remnant of the original woodland that once covered much of Middlesex. But they are not entirely original: coppicing has been carried on in Highgate Wood since Anglo-Saxon times, and there are still areas that are cut down and set aside for regrowth.

Excavation has revealed an important Roman pottery on the site, active between about 50 and 150; and still discernible is a ditch and bank that formed a boundary - possibly in Celtic times, or possibly mediaeval when it formed part of the Bishop of London's hunting park.

It also contains a cafe, a sports field and a disused railway line (the rest of which is now the lovely Parkland Walk). There is a nature hut with displays of the wildlife that can be found there. Even the moths alone deserve listing: the more interestingly-named ones include the

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