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Friends of Big Wood Nature Reserve
Newsletter - May - 2021














The wood is looking particularly beautiful ay this time of year with the bluebells and three cornered leeks in full bloom. Also look out for yellow archangel in compartment 1 (on the right when you enter the wood from Temple Fortune Hill) and solomon seal in compartment 2 next to it further along the outside path. There are also patches of wood anemones still around although their flowering period is almost over. We have put up signs saying that the wild flowers should not be picked and especially not dug up but please point out to anyone you see trying to pick flowers in the wood that this is not only anti social but illegal.

This is continuing under the direction of Jeff Duckett and we already have ten Friends who have signed up to help with the survey. However the survey will continue until the end of the year so there is still time to join up and help carry out the survey. Any more Friends, who are interested, should contact Bruce Mackay on

One of the key objectives agreed with Barnet when the Friends was set up, was to provide some education about woods for local children. We have tried over the years to work with local schools but most schools always seem to have more pressing needs and especially over the last year with all the associated problems of dealing with Covid. So we decided to send two Friends on a forest school training course so we could run our own occasional forest school activity for local children. The two Friends Lavinia and Charlotte, who will soon be completing their Forest School qualifications, arranged two pilot sessions with a local nursery. The two hour session allowed all of the nursery’s  children to be fully immersed into the the woodlands in a specific area in Compartment 6. Activities included singing, stories, exploring and of course lots of log climbing. All the participants enjoyed it very much and we hope to continue working with the Nursery and getting the children into the woods regularly on a controlled basis. Also we are planning a weekend Woodland Fun session for children of the Friends and their friends- more details to come.


The talk taking place on March 11th starting at 5.30pm is being given by Kirsty Crawford on the Conservation Volunteers’ (TCV) citizen science project about the vital importance of deadwood in woods. Full details are attached to this Newsletter link to events. Do reserve the date and time in your diaries for what should be a fascinating talk. Members of Friends of Bigwood will automatically receive a Zoom Invitation, anyone else please email

With the ending of lockdown, we are planning to restart a programme of walks and talks. We are hoping to arrange a Bryophyte walk in July led bd by Jeff Duckett, a Gall walk on September 4th led by Tommy Root, who is carrying out the Gall survey so put the date of Sept 4th in your diary! and a talk by David Darrell Lambert in September on the results of the bird survey he has just researched but not yet written up. We will give you all more details on the programme in the next Newsletter.


Thank you to the great majority who have already paid their subscription for this year. To the remainder a plea- please pay in the next two/three weeks as we are planning to change our bank account at the beginning of April. The current bank details are Nat West sort code 515011  acc no 66650593




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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