top of page

Friends of Big Wood Nature Reserve
Newsletter - September 2020


Some of you will have noticed that Storm Francis last week caused some damage in the wood. Two large oak branches came down, one partially blocking the main path near the Bigwood road entrance and the other completely blocking the outside track between Oakwood Road and Denman Drive entrances. A small Friends of Big Wood working group cleared both obstructions last weekend but left as much of the fallen branches where they fell so large sections of the branches can decompose naturally.


We are planning to hold activity mornings on
Saturday Sept 19th
Sunday Oct 18th
Saturday Nov 14th
Saturday Dec 12th
As usual we will meet at the top of the Temple Fortune Hill entrance at 10am and aim to finish by 12.30pm. It is important that you arrive on time as we will need to have a briefing for everyone on safe methods of working. Any group will be limited to 7-8 people working in a glade so people can keep 2 meters apart. You must also come with your own gloves and own refreshment as we will not, at the present time, provide communal tea & biscuits etc. Hopefully we can start doing this again soon depending on current restrictions in the autumn. Provided that you bring adequate gloves, we should be able to use the communal tools but better to bring your own. In September we will be clearing one of two glades, depending on numbers, and for this work we will need trowels, small saws, secateurs to clear the ground, cut back overhanging holly or branches and protect oak & wild service tree saplings.
Obviously please do not come if anyone in your household have symptoms of the virus.


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 have decided that there can be no organised walks in the wood for the remainder of 2020 but hope to resume them in 2021. Likewise restrictions mean that we cannot hold any evening meetings at the moment. We are hoping that the bird survey update that we commissioned this year can be completed next spring and the report will be put up on our website.


We reported on the importance of dead wood in the July Newsletter. 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. 


Many of you will be aware of the campaign to try and save four mature oak trees threatened in Queens Wood. The insurers  AXA of an adjacent house claim the roots of these oaks are causing subsidence and are demanding their felling saying they will claim extra costs from the Council(Haringey) of approx £270000 if they refuse to fell the trees. The campaign group SHIFT (Stop Home Insurers Felling Trees) has commissioned legal advice from a top barrister who has confirmed that the owners of the land on which the trees are located are liable in this sort of case. We had a similar case in Big Wood a few years ago. Barnet to their credit did not fell the trees but offered to install a root barrier as well as pollarding the trees and then argued that, following pollarding, the amount of water the trees were taking from the ground was no more than had been taken over the years when no cracks had appeared. Of course the problem may reoccur once the trees grow and increase in size again. The protection for ancient woods such as Big Wood is totally inadequate and needs to be strengthened.


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:-


Thanks to all of you who have already renewed your subscription to the Friends of Big Wood for 2020.May we remind everyone else to renew as we need funds to carry out all our planned activities and surveys. Please complete and return the membership renewal.

The annual subscriptions for 2020, are unchanged at £15 for an individual or £20 per household. We ask you to complete and return the membership renewal sheet attached.

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

bottom of page