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Friends of Big Wood Nature Reserve
Newsletter - May- 2022















Sus Osborn is kindly updating her survey of trees, other than oak and hazel, in the wood divided by compartment . So far she has identified  77 Wild Service trees plus many suckers and 122 Wild Cherry. She is now looking at Crab Apple trees.


A very successful session took place on May 21st led by Charlotte, assisted by Emily with over 12 children all actively involved and interested. The next session will take place on Saturday June 25th between 1 and 3pm. Parents are advised to book places for their children as soon as possible as the last session was oversubscribed. We would like you to apply to rather than direct to Charlotte on this occasion as she is very busy with her consultancy work.


A very interesting walk took place on Sunday May 29th led by the ecologist and arboriculturist Russell Miller. The next walk led by an expert will be at the end of June when Jeff Duckett will lead a walk looking at Bryophytes. Bruce Mackay will send details in the next few days.



We found out that the London Natural History Society had planned for a group of botanists to spend a day in Big Wood last week. A member of the Committee attended and was given the list of trees and plants identified. This interesting list will be added to our web site under surveys but if anyone wants an advance copy please email us. Despite the expertise of the LNHS, Russell Miller found a species they missed on the walk near the entrance at Temple Fortune Hill. This was WYCH ELM with a very interesting leaf with three dagger points!


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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