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Friends of Big Wood Nature Reserve
Newsletter - November- 2021














The AGM took place on Wednesday November 24 at Fellowship House preceded by wine and crisps etc and was attended by 16 Friends. The accounts for the year 2020 and the estimated final accounts for 2021 were discussed and unanimously approved.
It was estimated that after all expenses, circa £3500 would be carried forward to January 1st 2022. A possible budget for 2022, suggested by the committee, was discussed which involved spending money on at least one more survey, providing at least 6 more weekend forest school sessions and a number of walks & talks. It was also hoped that in addition to the annual subscription income, £500 would be received from the co-op scheme (see below).

No Friends had come forward offering to join the committee and Lavinia Kartal has left the area so is stepping down from the committee. The rest of the committee, namely Peter Falk, Chris Johnstone, Bruce Mackay, Philip Samworth, Maria Schlatter and Geoff Segar were approved to continue as members of the committee. Emily Asquith, who had been co-opted during the last year was also approved as a committee member.

Following the formal part of the AGM, the following matters were also discussed:-

Charlotte Broadribb, who is a fully qualified Forest School leader, and Lavinia Kartal, who has trained as a forest school assistant outlined to the meeting how the Friends had set up their own school sessions for children up to 10 years old. The sessions last for two hours supervised by Charlotte, Lavinia and Emily Asquith, who is also training to be a forest school assistant. We can offer an enjoyable and educational afternoon to local children whilst ensuring that the local environment is not damaged as activity is limited to one small part of one compartment in the wood. It is planned to hold at least six weekend sessions during 2022 and more if there is demand.

The next Forest school session will take place on Saturday December 4 starting at 1pm. Contact Lavinia on to reserve a place as numbers are limited.
We have been selected by the Co-op as one of their causes for the next twelve months. 2p of every pound spent in any Co-op store will be added to the cause of your choice. In order to qualify you need to apply for a co-op card (costs £1), choose your cause, then any purchase in a Co-op store will benefit the Friends. 

It was reported that both Barnet Trees and Barnet Parks had approved the new plan starting in 2022. Any Friend who wants to read the plan can access it on our website from December 1st.


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.

During the last Activity morning all the bird and bat boxes were opened to ascertain if they had been used and to clean them for reuse next spring. Unfortunately neither of the two bat boxes had been/were being used but encouragingly all the nine bird boxes had been used and the boxes are now ready for new occupants in 2022.

After the meeting, Jeff Duckett gave a fascinating talk on the results of the Bryophyte survey carried out by Friends under his supervision and more generally the importance of Bryophytes in the eco-system.

Don’t forget the last Activity Morning of 2021 takes place on Saturday December 11th starting at 10am. If it remains cold some mulled wine will be available to warm the spirits. Dates for January- April Activity mornings will be published in the December Newsletter.

As always we will meet at the top of Temple Fortune Hill at 10am.

Tea and biscuits will be provided at circa 11.20am and, if it is cold, there might also be some mulled wine!

Anyone arriving later should telephone 07973541264 to ascertain in which part of the wood we are working.


Thank you to the great majority who have already paid their subscription for this year. To the remainder a plea- please pay 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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