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Friends of Big Wood Nature Reserve
Newsletter - January- 2022
















Thanks to everyone who came to the last activity morning on January 15th. Thanks to all your hard work, we have already completed a large part of the planned activity for the winter including re-clearing and some coppicing five of the nine glades in the wood as well as clearing footpaths, maintaining ditches whilst protecting the surrounding understory and building up some dead hedging protecting certain areas of the wood. The next Activity Morning is on Saturday February 19th and the March date is Saturday March 12th. As usual we meet at the top of Temple Fortune Hill at the wood entrance. Please put the date in your diaries. We need to clear and coppice two more glades which have become very overgrown and this work will probably take us two sessions depending on turnout.

The dates February-Apl 2022 are as follows:-

Saturday February 19th
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.

Many of you know that the RA is planning to plant a small orchard in Lyttelton Playing fields. This project is being led by Maria Schlatter, who is also on your committee, and she has asked for volunteers to help plant the fruit trees and erect a small fence around the area to protect the new trees whilst they become established. She has asked if some Big Wood Friends would join the Orchard group on Saturday March 5th. The site is next to Keres School and Bishopswood Bowling Club. No particular experience is necessary. The 12 fruit trees are very small but some “brawn” as well as “brains” are needed to help with digging, putting up support posts and protective cages as well as applying mulch. In addition there will be a host of smaller tasks. Please come and help Maria on Saturday March 5th starting at 10am meeting at the Kingsley Way entrance to Lyttelton Playing Fields.


We are planning to hold forest school sessions for children up to 12 years old every month in 2022. The January session took place on January 22nd and the February session is planned for Saturday February 26th for 6-12 years old. Then in March we plan to split into two groups- one in the morning for the fives and under followed by a session for the 6-12 year olds. Both March and April sessions will major on “Spring is here”. We are limiting the number in each group to no more than 10 children and we expect there will be high demand so, If you are interested, contact for further details and to reserve a place.

The Volunteers of Hampstead Heath are organising a walk on Tuesday February 8th in collaboration with the Countryside Management Association. It will be an informal affair starting at the Diary at Kenwood at 9am (leaving at 9.30am) continuing to the Heath Extension and then Big Wood before returning to the Diary for a cup of tea. If any Friend is interested in joining the walk, can you/they let us know at and we will inform the organiser as they need to know numbers. The walk will last about two hours.

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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