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Friends of Big Wood Nature Reserve
Newsletter - March - 2021












                                                                         Bird Boxes

During the last activity morning we checked all the bird boxes in the wood and found that they had all been occupied last year. However four of them had been damaged and the entrance hole either enlarged or a new entry created by either squirrels, parakeets or perhaps woodpeckers. We have replaced these four with woodstone boxes which are much stronger and also offer better insulation. For interest we are attaching a picture showing three of the damaged wooden boxes and a new woodstone box. We now have six woodstone boxes site and three wooden ones in the wood. We will check them all next winter and, if necessary, replace the wooden boxes.


The talk taking place on March 11th starting at 5.30pm is being given by Kirsty Crawford on the Conservation Volunteers’ (TCV) citizen science project about the vital importance of deadwood in woods. Full details are attached to this Newsletter link to events. Do reserve the date and time in your diaries for what should be a fascinating talk. Members of Friends of Bigwood will automatically receive a Zoom Invitation, anyone else please email

Saturday March 20th

The next session will take place on Saturday March 20th starting as usual at 10am and meeting at the Temple Fortune Hill entrance to Big Wood. (late comers should telephone 07973541264 to find out where to go in the wood). Remember to bring your own gloves and some refreshment as we will not, as hoped, be able to provide group refreshments due to continuing restrictions. Because it is late in

winter season and spring arrives ever earlier, we will not be working in the glades in case we trample on the emerging wild flowers,  but will concentrate on building up dead hedging both to protect the glades and block off some of the desire paths which have been created during the last year due to the vastly increased footfall. We will also be erecting a number of signs explaining the reasons. These new paths not only restrict the spread of wild flowers because of the compacting of the soil but also kills off a vast range of invertebrates nestling in the leaves which are vital for the wood’s biodiversity and the food chain. We will bring saws and cutters but, if you have your own please bring them.

Obviously please do not come if anyone in your household have symptoms of the virus.


Thank you to the great majority who have already paid their subscription for this year. To the remainder a plea- please pay in the next two/three weeks as we are planning to change our bank account at the beginning of April. The current bank details are Nat West sort code 515011  acc no 66650593




Footfall (and paw-fall too) have increased substantially following the onset of the pandemic not least because of the greater awareness of the value of woodland to health and welfare. So too has wear and tear in the wood increased. At the same time the resources that the Council devotes to the wood are ever dwindling and the contractors they do use are increasingly general workers without particular knowledge of woods.  So never has there been greater need for the work that we the Friends do, the protection to the wood that we offer and the importance of a very close relationship with Barnet Greenspaces who own the wood. Our current five year plan agreed with Barnet comes to an end in 2021 and we need to consider carefully what should be our priorities going forward. We will be discussing our objectives and the strategies to achieve them at our next committee meeting towards the end of this month. If any Friends have views or ideas, they would be welcome. Please email us.



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 in the July Newsletter. 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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