Friends of Big Wood Nature Reserve
Newsletter - June 2020
BICYCLES AND TRAMPLING
We hope you are enjoying the wood despite the large number of people and bicycles. It is difficult to prevent bicycles in the wood during this lock down period even though the wood is strictly for pedestrians to enjoy and there are signs on every entrance saying no cycling. Also new paths have opened up, as people try to observe social distancing, to the detriment of wild flower areas and wild life habitat but we will try to close off these new paths in the autumn when (hopefully) our programme of Activity mornings can take place again.
Your committee has been active in removing litter and some dumping in the wood but we have been fortunate that Barnet has continued (unlike the City of London on the Heath Extension) to empty both bins and dog bins on a regular basis. Recently a couple of bins have overflowed but the Council reacted quickly when they received an email about the problem.
BIGWOOD TREES UPDATE
In the mean time we have been checking the oak and wild service tree saplings in the glades because of the very dry weather but thankfully we have now had some rain with more forecast.
Very few of the saplings have died off so far and there have been no falls of major trees in the last 2 months.
There a wide variety of tree species in this ancient wood but the major trees are over 300 oaks with an understorey of hazel as well as over 60 wild service trees and a number of crab apple and wild cherry trees.
We have coppiced the hazel in the nine glades but left the hazel in other parts of the wood as hazel is a key host for lichen and mosses.
There is unfortunately always a very small minority who pick the wild flowers- do restrain them if you see it happening (two meters away of course)
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:-
You may all be interested in how the Friends of Big Wood started. Its origin goes back to the 1990s when Council officials were keen to get locals involved and there were a small band of locals who were passionately interested in preserving the ancient wood remnant. Originally the Committee was run by Barnet Council with a Councillor chairing meetings. However the initiative gradually fizzled out by 2005.
In 2010 there was a group of us who were worried the wood was being neglected due the increasing cut back of Council resources and a group of Volunteers was formed to carry out some work in the wood under the direction of a Council official. We were fortunate that the Council Official responsible Paul Frainer was an expert in woodland management and he helped us draw up a five year plan and apply for a forestry commission grant to replaced signage, produce a leaflet and purchase saplings and bird boxes. When Paul left Barnet, the Volunteers took on more work and produced a follow up 5 year plan which was approved by Barnet. Encouraged by Barnet, we then took the further step to create our own organisation -the Friends of Big Wood organisation. We decided there would be a small annual subscripting so we could purchase some more equipment (i.e. bat bases etc), commission surveys and pay for experts to lead guided walks and give evening talks.
A great article was written by Peter Falk on the formation of Friends of Bigwood and published in the Suburb News
We were fortunate that we completed our work programme before the shut down. Hopefully we will be able to start again, as planned, in September.
WALKS and TALKS
Obviously these are suspended at the present time. If restrictions are lifted in time, we will try to arrange for some activity this summer.
Thanks to all of you who have already renewed your subscription to the Friends of Big Wood for 2020.May we remind everyone else to renew as we need funds to carry out all our planned activities and surveys. Please complete and return the membership renewal.
The annual subscriptions for 2020, are unchanged at £15 for an individual or
£20 per household. We ask you to complete and return the membership renewal sheet
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