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Friends of Big Wood Nature Reserve
Newsletter - January- 2023


The AGM took place on Saturday January 21st at Fellowship House. The Accounts were displayed and discussed. Due to the extra income received from the Co-op supporting the running of the Forest School once a month on Saturday mornings, we carried forward to 2023, a sum of £5619 despite the extra expenses of running  professional forest school sessions. Adoption of the accounts was proposed and seconded and carried unanimously.
All the committee, except Chris Johnstone and Philip Samworth who had stepped down during the year, offered themselves for re-election and in addition three new members had been co-opted during the year namely Deborah Calland, Melanie Eddis and Lotte Rasmussen. No other names were put forward from the floor so selection of the whole committee was proposed, seconded and approved at the meeting. Accordingly the team of Emily Asquith, Charlotte Broadribb, Deborah Calland, Melanie Eddis, Peter Falk, Bruce Mackay, Lotte Rasmussen, Maria Schlatter and Geoff Segar were approved to continue as members of the committee.
There followed a general discussion on a number of matters set out below and then a fascinating bird talk given by David Darrell Lambert who had carried out the last bird survey in Big Wood.


The January activity morning was a great success despite the cold and an excess of brandy mixed into the mulled wine which we drank at the break. The next two Activity mornings are particularly important as we will only be able to do very limited work in April because the wild flowers are already appearing in January and we do not want to trample over them. So we will try to clear the last two glades in February and carry out dead hedging in March with only a restricted team dealing with emergencies in April. The next activity morning takes place on Saturday February 11th just before half term starts. As usual we will meet at the top of Temple Fortune Hill at the gate at 10am. The following Activity morning will take place on Saturday March 11th


The January session has just happened (last Saturday) and as usual it was a happy and calm event. The next session takes place on Saturday February 18th from 1-3pm. Any parent who is not on the forest school mailing list, who is interested in their child
(6-12 years old) joining should email friendsofbigwood1 in the first instance. The sessions will take place every month until the summer vacation. There will be a small article appearing in Suburb News on our activities to promote the sessions to a wider Suburb audience


As discussed in the last Newsletter, we are intending to hold a Moth Breakfast on Sunday April 30th. Philip Sterling who works for the Butterfly Conservation organisation will provide a moth trap which will be installed in Big Wood during the day before on the Saturday with a light to attract moths overnight. He will, before releasing them, show us the various species caught in the trap and explain the details. We need people who are interested to meet no later than 9am on the Sunday morning as the moths warm up and become uncooperative after about 10am. We will provide coffee and something to eat for the working breakfast. Next month we will ask interested parties to pre-register as numbers may be limited but you are welcome to contact us and reserve now if this event is a ‘must' for you.

We have decided to hold an open morning on Saturday April 2nd in order to showcase our activities and encourage more people to join the Friends and/or learn what we are doing and our longer term objectives. This will take place between 10am and 1pm and there will be a welcome table at the entrance to the wood. This event is being organised by Ruth Smith (many thanks Ruth) and she needs volunteer Friends who can help her with ideas for activities, craft displays or cakes. Please give her support- her email is

Bruce Mackay is organising a programme of walks for 2023 and details will be sent out in forthcoming Newsletters. However the first event will be another early morning bird walk, as they are always popular, which will probably be led by David Darrell Lambert who gave the bird talk at the AGM.



Together with Barnet Trees section, we have successfully fought the insurance company who wanted us to fell three mature trees in Big Wood because of subsidence in a Chatham Close house. We suggested a root barrier as an alternative and our proposal was finally accepted provided we permitted access to the garden of the house through Big Wood. Damage to the wood was minimal and is temporary. There is another outstanding claim for us to fell 6/7 trees in the wood because of a crack in the wall of a garage in Northway. This is, of course, being opposed together with Barnet Trees section and any developments will be reported on in future Newsletters.
Despite the very dry summer, we have, so far, only had one major fall when a large branch of an oak tree fell onto the main path. It was so large that we had to ask Barnet contractors to come to the wood and cut it into small enough sections to move to the side of the path.


Many thanks to the members (over 60%) who have already renewed their subscriptions for 2023. This is a reminder to the rest to pay their subs for the year. There has been some problems with bank transfers because our bank (Metrobank) is not part of the cosy club of traditional banks so when you enter our details your screen says they cannot confirm the account and to beware of scams. In fact you are quite safe to continue as the Metro bank, though small is quite safe and is a reputable small bank.


Many members have already renewed their membership for 2023 and we thank them. But there are still a number who have not yet got round to it so we would be grateful if you could organise the annual payment so we do not need to chase. The correct bank account is the Metro Bank Acc no 41079576 sort code 23 05 80 or you can send a cheque to Friends of Big Wood c/o 4 Farm Walk




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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