Queen's Wood in the Nineteen Nineties


A century after Churchyard Bottom Wood was saved, the situation had altered drastically. Just as beautiful and even wilder, for fallen branches are no longer collected and burnt on the Keeper's fire, there is no money to maintain four keepers: the Lodge is empty and the tea room has long closed, yet the local council, short of money, was still responsible for the Wood and Lodge.

On 9 December, 1993 Haringey Council announced their intention to 'dispose' of the Lodge. They would sell the Lodge and its garden with sufficient land to make a drive to the Lodge through the wood.

Immediately a group called 'Friends of Queen's Wood' was formed to fight against this sale. The Council had no right to sell any part of the wood, which had been bought by subscription and gifts to be kept 'in trust for the free enjoyment and benefit of the people for ever.' The Lodge was part of the wood, having been built with some of the £30.00 originally collected. It could not be separated from the Wood.


The Friends of Queen's Wood

The successful fight against the sale of the sale of the Queen's Wood Lodge drew together a wide variety of local and more distant people. As a result, a permanent body of Friends was set up.

The Friends of Queen's Wood

The Friends of Queen's Wood have a group working on the last Sunday morning of each month for up to two hours. We carry out conservation tasks including creating new coppiced areas under the guidance of London Borough of Haringey's Conservation Officer and help to keep the wood free of litter. For more details of our activity, please look at our members' newsletter and our Chairman's report.

Link to The Friends of Queen's Wood

As one result, the Friends linked up with a vast, but largely unsung, national organisation which celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2009. It is called the BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers).

BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers)

BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) has helped the Friends of Queens Wood to restore this ancient woodland and, initially in the 1990's, to make the assessments with the London Borough of Haringey of what needed to be done and how to do it.

At that time the woodhad been neglected - not the children's area and the little pool and the popular cafe, but the biosphere of the trees. Ash and Elder, for instance, had invaded the Wood and diminished the space of the Oak and Hornbeam, which were its natural trees. Bramble, Nettle and Ivy had become abundant and smothered the under-counter of its native grasses and flowers. BTCV has worked since to restore the true character of Queens Wood.

How is this done?

Each woodland or nature reserve has an environmental management plan (EMP).

Haringey sets the EMP for Queens Wood. It is part of each and every borough's Unitary Development Plan (UDP), submitted to Government every 4 years, to present the borough's environmental plan. The rest of the UDP   covers all municipal intentions - like housing and urban development, social services, etc.

The EMP's of each environmental conservation area in each borough form the backbone of their UDP environmental plan, so Haringey has an EMP for Queen's Wood, which is accessible to the public.

Where the British Trust for Environment Volunteers comes in

BTCV carries out parts of the Environmental Management Plan - the EMP- for Queens Wood.

The EMP first identifies the species, flora and fauna, that exist. Each small part of the terrain (1m sq.) is explored and tested by surveys to log the species. Each type of habitat is evaluated - soil, sun, vegetation, prevalent species, etc). Out of this comes an evaluation of the environmental value of each small habitat in terms of biodiversity and the extent to which it should be encouraged or discouraged. [The EMP also covers other important aspects such as access, H&S, boundaries, hydrology, local developments, statutes, etc]

Ultimately therefore, the EMP says what is going to be done, in both the short term and the 5-year term, to maximise the environmental value of the site.

BTCV is asked to work on (or advise at the start of) one or another of the EMP tasks of, in this case, Queens Wood.

In 1999, BTCV celebrated its 40th anniversary with a reception at Queens Wood, and in 2008 worked on drainage routes and in the Winter, held a tree training course.

BTCV celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2009.

BTCV is the national volunteering charity helping people all over Britain to improve and conserve their environment. BTCV as well as mobilising its any volunteers, provides a range of environmental training courses. Over the last four years, it has supported 7000 community groups across  England , Scotland and N. Ireland , calling upon 7,000,000 volunteer-days of work. BTCV is active, also, in promoting conservation as a way of life for the community and a way into work for younger people.

The work on Queens Wood is organised from BTCV Kings Cross, London

See: www.btcv.org.


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