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Friends of Big Wood Nature Reserve
Newsletter - May - 2023



Just to remind you that Russell Miller will lead two walks, depending on demand, on Sunday June 11th between 11am and 1pm. Russell is an expert on all types of trees and is leading another walk this year as people were so enthusiastic about his walk in the wood last year. Contact Bruce on to reserve your place. We will meet as usual at the top of Temple Fortune Hill.


Normally we pause our sessions during the spring/summer growing and nesting season but we have decided to arrange an extra session this summer as we are concerned about the fast spread of wisteria in one part of the wood where it has escaped from a garden. We did do some clearance last winter but not enough. We have been advised by Dr Mark Spencer that it is important to remove as it spreads along the ground until it finds a tree and then climbs up to the canopy smothering the tree. We have fixed the date for Tuesday June 27th starting at 10am at the top of Temple Fortune Hill. We hope for a good turnout before the school holidays despite it being a weekday as there is quite a lot to clear.


Some of you may have seen a small party taking leaves from crab apple trees and putting them in sample bags. Some of the experts who have visited the wood are excited that some of our crab apple trees may be native crab (Malus sylvestnis) rather than hybrids. These true crabs are rare and would give Big Wood the chance of extra protection and perhaps the recipient of special funding. We have identified over 25 crab apples in the wood and have sent off samples from 17 trees. The DNA sampling of each tree costs the Friends £39 but the Committee feels this is worthwhile.


We held another forest school session last Saturday which was enjoyed by all. We are not holding a session in June as too many of our qualified supervisors will be away but are planning a final session before the school holidays on Saturday July 15th at the usual time 1-3pm. More details in the June Newsletter. Then we will pause the sessions until September.


The Moth Breakfast was a great success and thanks must be given to Phil Sterling from Butterfly Conservation who installed the trap the night before and then was so interesting talking about the moths the next day. It was such a popular event that we intend to invite him back next year. Our thanks should also go to Melanie Eddis who organised the event for the Friends.


The open day on April 30th was also a great success and great interest was shown by passers by both for the quiz and information about the Friends. A number of new friends joined up on the day. Our thanks should go to Ruth Smith who planned and organised the event and her band of helpers.


Many thanks to the members 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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