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Friends of Big Wood Nature Reserve
Newsletter - April - 2021














We had a very successful morning at the end of March when a large group of volunteers built up dead hedging to protect glades and the central areas and also erected wooden signs explaining why we are doing this work and the importance of protecting the bio -diversity of the wood. Activity mornings will now cease, unless there is emergency work during the summer, and restart in September 2021 when hopefully we can have more of a community break during the work morning.


The committee has submitted an article to Suburb news giving some details of the history of Big Wood and explaining the policies we are currently following. It is likely that this article will be edited so the full article is attached to this Newsletter. It can also be accessed on our web site. We are currently updating our 5 year plan, which we agree with Barnet, for the period 2022-2027. If any Friends have ideas or suggestions they would like the Committee to consider, please do contact us so we have time to consider them. We will be submitting our draft plan to Barnet at the end of the summer.


If you see someone in the wood with their nose stuck into a patch of moss, you are probably looking at one of the budding bryologists of Big Wood. This survey is being led by the eminent biologist Jeff Duckett, who is encouraging a group of volunteers who have offered to help and carry out the survey. Mosses and liverworts are bryophytes and, according to Jeff, both Big and Little Wood are home to a rich collection of these tiny plants which spread by spores as they produce neither seeds or flowers. Armed with hand lenses which magnify many times, volunteers are learning to identify the 40 plus different species. There is still time to join this survey which will continue over the summer. If you are interested, contact Bruce Mackay by email at


Every year there are a small number of people who come into the wood and pick wild flowers. It is important this does not take place as picking the flowers prevents the propagation and spread of the wild flowers. It is also illegal as Big Wood is a protected nature reserve. We have already had a group in the wood picking some of the wild garlic and last year there were a number of bluebell pickers. Can, therefore, Friends be vigilant and tell people to stop these activities if they see them or if they want support to telephone 07973541264.

With the ending of lockdown, we are planning to restart a programme of walks and talks. We are hoping to arrange a Bryophyte walk in July led bd by Jeff Duckett, a Gall walk on September 4th led by Tommy Root, who is carrying out the Gall survey so put the date of Sept 4th in your diary! and a talk by David Darrell Lambert in September on the results of the bird survey he has just researched but not yet written up. We will give you all more details on the programme in the next Newsletter.


Thank you to the great majority who have already paid their subscription for this year. To the remainder a plea- please pay Metro Bank ACC NO 41079576 SORT CODE 23 05 80




Litter remains a problem and some of us regularly pick up litter as we go round the wood. If any one else wants to help and would like a litter picker, please contact us. We have a number of Friends who are regularly are picking up litter but please can all the Friends help to keep the wood clear of litter. 


We reported on the importance of dead wood. The official UK standard for healthy woodland habitat requires 20m3 of deadwood per hectare and most woodlands in the UK, including Big Wood, is below this level. It is important therefore that all dead trunks and fallen branches are left where they fall or are left standing.

A reminder that ageing trees and dead wood are vital for a healthy woodland habitat. A huge swathe of the woodland ecosystem relies on tree wear and tear- hollows, dead branches and fallen trees. 


There is a marvellous short clip about the management of oak trees and the importance of not compacting the roots in Kew Gardens following the great storm of 1987. Anyone who is interested click on the following:-

Remember that all details are here on our web site so do signpost your local friends and neighbours to visit the site and encourage them join the Association and to be Friends Of Big Wood.

The Friends of Big Wood Organisation is aware of the new General Data Protection Legislation. Organisations such as ours, which keep a register of names purely for recreational reasons, are exempt from the new regulations. We would advise you all that the data stored is purely to enable us to provide information about Big Wood and no information will be passed to any third party. If, nevertheless, you would like your details deleted from the list, please email us

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