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Friends of Big Wood Nature Reserve
Newsletter - February- 2022















Thanks to those of you who came to the last morning on February 19th. We do not have much time left as the spring flowers are already appearing and we do not want to trample them underfoot but there is still quite a lot of work needed to clear the two remaining glades, repair some dead hedging and, if possible do a little work in Littlewood so it would be marvellous to have a large turnout for the March session so we can split into three groups. The next date is Saturday March 12th.

The dates March-Aprill 2022 are as follows:-

Saturday March 12th
Saturday April 9th
Please put these dates in your diaries. As usual we will meet at the top of Temple Fortune Hill starting at 10am and finishing at 12.30pm.

The Orchard planting morning has been postponed from March 5th as the samplings will not arrive from the supplier in time. The new date is Saturday March 20th. Please come and help Maria Schlatter who has masterminded this new venture. Meet at 10am outside the Kingsley Way entrance to Lyttelton Playing Fields


There was a large turnout last Saturday when the forest school session took place. Well done to Charlotte and her team for such brilliant organisation. The next session will take place on Saturday March 26th and we are splitting into two groups. A fives and under session will take place in the morning followed by a session for the 6-12 years old early afternoon. The forest school sessions are open to all children but we hope that children of the ‘Friends’ who are interested will all register their interest as soon as possible because we limit the number of children so the ratio of “staff’ to children is low and the sessions quickly become fully booked. Contact to register or obtain details.


We have experienced problems in the Wood in the last month. The wood coped well with the recent storms as only one tree and two large branches across paths came down. The large tree will be left in situ so it can gradually rot and become home to a vast range of bugs and insects vital for the cycle of life and biodiversity. The Friends cleared the branches obstructing pathways.
However we have had two instances of a group coming into the wood in the evenings and lighting fires using fallen logs etc and leaving a large amount of refuse. We realise that young people need to enjoy themselves but it is bad for the ecology of the wood to burn fallen branches which should be allowed to decompose and dangerous to light a fire which could damage the wood. Despite the damp conditions the remains of the fire was still smouldering at 2pm the following day last weekend. In summer it could cause extensive damage. In addition there was an attack of a graffiti group who sprayed all the signs, bins and some benches. All this has already been cleared up but we do need all Friends to keep their eyes and ears open when in the wood and inform if they see/hear anything amiss in the wood. In an emergency telephone 07973541264


Many members have already renewed their membership for 2022 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


It is time to renew your subscriptions to the Friends of Big Wood. Once again subscriptions are unchanged at £15 for an individual or £20 for a household. If you joined on or after August 1st 2021 your membership is covered until the end of next year.  We have changed our bank during the year to the Metro Bank and the details for direct transfer are account number 41079576  sort code 230580.
Otherwise please complete the attached renewal form and attach your cheque made out to the Friends of Big Wood and send to 4 Farm Walk NW11 7TP.




It was reported to the meeting that there are currently two outstanding insurance threats to trees in Big Wood. Insurance companies are pressing Barnet to cut down two mature oaks near Chatham Close and five mature trees close to Northway. The Chatham Close claim is being resisted and an alternative suggestion of a root barrier has been suggested. The claim in Northway only involves damage to a garage near the boundary with Big Wood. The insurance company is asking Barnet to cut down two mature oaks, one of the few remaining ash trees which are still healthy and two mature hazels. Discussions are taking place with Barnet whose officials think some action must be taken or the Council will be faced with a large bill of circa £80000 if they refuse to take any action. 
The problem is that the law heavily favours the insurance company and there is little or no protection for ancient woodland/nature reserves. It is likely that Barnet will offer to cut back the crown by 30% of one oak and the ash as well as cutting a mature hazel overhanging the garage. Negotiations are on-going and the Friends remain in close contact with both Barnet and the local MP.


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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