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Friends of Big Wood Nature Reserve
Newsletter - March - 2023



As we informed you last month, the Big Wood Friends Open Day takes place this Sunday in order to explain and show what activities we promote to protect and manage the wood. This will take place between 10am and 1pm on Sunday April 2nd. We will put up tables at the entrance to the wood at the top of Temple Fortune Hill and we would like as many Friends as possible to come and support the Committee and please bring your friends as well so you can all  both learn more about our various activities and also, hopefully, encourage more people to join up and become Friends of Big Wood. We will attempt to answer questions such as why is it an ancient woodland and what birds and plants are resident in the wood, why we are building up dead hedging and the importance of the forest school sessions we have started.!
We will be doing mini walks around Big Wood, nature quizzes, animal mask drawings, forest school photographs and craft displays. There will also be hot drinks and cakes available.
So we look forward to welcoming you this coming Sunday but please wear comfortable shoes and waterproof clothes as the weather forecast is for some drizzle during the morning. See you there between 10am and 1pm on Sunday April 2nd. 


The last session on the 18th March was a great success. Details of the Big Wood forest school sessions can be found in an article in the last issue of Suburb News and well as on our web site. The next session will take place on Sunday April 30th starting at 9am instead of the usual early afternoon session to coincide with our Moth Breakfast (see below). If you would like your child(ren) or grandchildren to take part please contact us at  in the first instance if you are not already registered on the forest school list. The group is for children aged between 6 and 12 years old.


At the end of April we are organising an exciting event to examine moths in the wood. Phil Sterling from the Butterfly Conservation Organisation will install a moth trap the previous evening in the wood as we explained in the last newsletter. The next morning we will examine the moths and learn about the different types and the huge decline over the last 20 years and what we need to do to stop this decline from Phil Sterling  whilst drinking coffee together with biscuits etc. We need to start early on the Sunday morning April 30th as the moths tend to become uncooperative by mid morning so we will be meeting 8.45am-9am. Do reserve the date for this 'Moth Breakfast’ - no we will not be eating them and the moths  will all be safely released! More details will follow in the April Newsletter
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


For those of you who are early risers there are still a few places left on the ‘dawn chorus’ bird walk on Saturday April 15th. This is the 6th year we have done this and it never disappoints those who gather at 5.30am. Contact Bruce Mackay at if you want to add your name to the group.   Other walks are at the planning stage and more information will be given in the April newsletter


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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