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Friends of Big Wood Nature Reserve
Newsletter - August 2020



We are planning to restart working parties towards the end of September depending on the Government guide lines at the time. Dates will be given for Sept-Dec in the next Newsletter.

Many of you will be aware of the campaign to try and save four mature oak trees threatened in Queens Wood. The insurers  AXA of an adjacent house claim the roots of these oaks are causing subsidence and are demanding their felling saying they will claim extra costs from the Council(Haringey) of approx £270000 if they refuse to fell the trees. The campaign group SHIFT (Stop Home Insurers Felling Trees) has commissioned legal advice from a top barrister who has confirmed that the owners of the land on which the trees are located are liable in this sort of case. We had a similar case in Big Wood a few years ago. Barnet to their credit did not fell the trees but offered to install a root barrier as well as pollarding the trees and then argued that, following pollarding, the amount of water the trees were taking from the ground was no more than had been taken over the years when no cracks had appeared. Of course the problem may reoccur once the trees grow and increase in size again. The protection for ancient woods such as Big Wood is totally inadequate and needs to be strengthened.


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. 


The amount of litter has increased dramatically during lock down, despite the fact that the Council, unlike the City of London on the Heath, has kept litter bins in situ and regularly empties them. 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. If any of you see someone dropping litter- well perhaps it is better not to put on paper our recommendations.


As any walk is still restricted to no more than six people, we have decided not to organise any for the remainder of 2019. Likewise we cannot hold an evening meeting at Fellowship House although we may organise a Zoom meeting for our AGM in November.


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:-


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 attached.

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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