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Friends of Big Wood Nature Reserve
Newsletter - November - 2023


We need as much support as possible for the autumn/winter activity mornings to carry out the programme of work which is more this year as we try to remove invasive species before they take over in the wood. The next session is this Saturday!


The next two activity mornings will take place this SATURDAY DECEMBER 2ND AND SUNDAY DECEMBER 17TH, meeting as usual at the Big Wood Temple Fortune Hill entrance for a 10am start. We had a marvellous team at the last morning in October but there were too few of us to complete all the tasks.

The work load increases at this time of year as in addition to the regular clearing of the nine glades and work on removing invasive species, we need to clean out all the bird and bat boxes in the wood to prepare for the new incumbents in the spring. We also need to clear out the ditches and sweep the main paths once most of the leaves have fallen. To remind you, we have asked Barnet not to come in with their equipment as they use a large digger to clear out the ditches and in the process damage the tree roots and destroy all the understory close to the ditches. As far as the paths are concerned, Barnet come in with their leaf blowers and blow most of the leaves on the paths into the adjacent ditches which then need to be cleared again by the Friends. 

So, please, we need a large turnout on both the December days so we can divide into about four teams to carry out the different jobs. Put the activity morning dates in your diary. We will give you the January to March dates in the December newsletter.


Barnet Council have recently brought out a Greenspaces Volunteering Handbook. It includes straightforward health and safety guidance to ensure that all volunteers remain safe while working in the borough's green spaces. If you take part in the activity mornings, please click on this Volunteer Handbook link and read the document. Get in touch if you have any questions.


After years of fantastic, very productive, work at the helm of Friends of Big Wood, Peter Falk stepped down as Chair at the last committee meeting. We are hugely grateful for all he has achieved and very happy that he continues his work for Big Wood as part of our wonderful committee team. Maria Schlatter was unanimously elected as new FoBW Chair. Her position will be ratified at the next AGM scheduled to take place in March. The exact date and speaker to talk at the AGM will be announced in the next (December) newsletter.


The last walk of 2023 took place in September led by geologist Diane Clements. She explained that a glacier extended down to Finchley Central and that the Sandy Heath Area on the Heath extension suggests that this whole area was once completely under water. She also showed the group an artists impression of what looked like a tropical coast with palms depicting a dinosaur area Essex coast and showed us fossils from the period. If any one would like more information- contact us


Many thanks to the members who have already renewed their subscriptions for 2024. 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.


The AGM will take place in the new year together with, hopefully, an interesting speaker. More details in the next Newsletter

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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