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Friends of Big Wood Nature Reserve
Newsletter - March- 2022















We have decided not to have a full activity morning in April as we have largely completed our work programme and do not want to work in the glades in April as the wild flowers are appearing. However we would like two small teams of 3/4 people to clear a number of blockages in the main ditch in Bigwood and another team of 3/4 to do some clearance in Littlewood on Saturday April 9th The work should not last more than one hour. If you are willing and available please email


The wild flowers are beginning to appear. There is is the Lesser Celandine, some Daffodils and Wood Anemones. The Bluebells and two patches of Yellow Archangel together with Wild Garlic & Three-cornered Leek will follow in April. This is a magical time of year so do visit the wood. However we ask all Friends to keep an eye out for the small minority who come into the wood and pick wild flowers. In particular there were groups last year who came into the wood and picked large quantities of wild garlic so they could sell it to local restaurants. Please explain that it is not permitted to pick wild flowers in a nature reserve. If anyone takes no notice, please advise us on 07973541264.


We had a very full turnout on the 26th March and the children seemed to enjoy themselves as well as receiving some information about woodlands and its eco system. Due to the Easter holidays, our next Forest School Session will be in early May. Please contact Charlotte for more 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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