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Big Wood and Little Wood

Their names seem so everyday and yet these woodlands are so delightful that they feel magical. Both date from Anglo Saxon times and were once coppiced and managed but by the twentieth century they were left to nature and so have an unusually large number of wild service trees - over eighty in Big Wood. Since wild service trees can only be found in ancient woodland we know that this forest has been in existence for many centuries.

Early Spring in Big Wood

This woodland is cared for by people who create glades where saplings, including oak trees, and wild flowers can flourish. These sensivitive areas are protected by woven fences that are effective at deterring people from walking over the ground but blend in with the landscape.

A woven barrier

Wild garlic and English bluebells cover the ground - more evidence of the woodland's historic roots as they spread so slowly as the years go by. The bluebells are a welcome sight in Spring and the subtle scent of wild garlic can be detected in the air. With the sounds of woodpeckers and owls we can feel a sense of escape from the main roads not far from here.

And it is possible for flora and fauna to travel long distances in either direction because Big Wood and Little Wood are part of a green corridor that continues for many miles and the gardens of the houses around here are an important link in the chain. This part of the capital has been conserved as a garden suburb.

All the front gardens have hedges - so essential for bio diversity and also adding to the beautiful setting of this residental area. Fruit trees blossom in spring and there are wooden benches set along the pavements for people to sit and meet and chat.

So the walk between Big Wood and Little Wood must be one of the most delightful in London, with its Arts and Crafts style houses and pretty gardens.

Walking from Big Wood to Little Wood

Enter Little Wood and the path leads to a clearing where there is an open air theatre. There is a real village atmosphere here with people coming together and enjoying these spaces as well as contributing to the conservation of both woods.

Entrance to the open air theatre

And one day in the future people will see the oak trees and perhaps look back to these days when new life was sown and planted all around.

East Finchley Station or Golders Green Station


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