Written in 1999            Graham Woods

Inside the Wood

The wood is mainly large oak, ash and silver birch trees with a lot of hazel for coppicing. Squirrels and rabbits abound in the area and last year I saw fox clubs for the first time frolicking outside their nearby den not a stone's throw from the spot where the picture at the bottom of the page was taken.
Click here for a brief history of the wood.

The Meadow looking west

Welcome to Furzefield Wood, a small area of ancient woodland on the very edge of the London sprawl in Hertfordshire. It's squeezed between Potters Bar and South Mimms and it is a popular area for local dog walkers; I walk my dog here every day. My calculations reveal the wood and meadow enclose a total area of around 7.5 hectares (~18.5 acres). I believe the classification Ancient Woodland means that the wood is still as it was some 6,000+ years ago and as such contains a myriad of plant and insect species and birdlike. This area called the meadow, although cropped short in this shot in early spring, is filled with an abundance of grasses and wild flowers in the summer.

These photographs on this page were taken in March '98. Soon to come are the masses of bluebells which carpet the wood every year and the white flowers of the wood anemone and yellow of the archangel. These plants found together are all indicators of ancient woodland. Later still comes bracken, bramble and Foxglove and so many more. The birds are pairing up too - an unusual sight for me was a pair of bullfinches, the male's scarlet breast feathers caught my eye. The wood echoed to the sound of an unseen hammering green woodpecker in the early morning along with his characteristic call.

Timmy the Dog

The Countryside Management Service has recently started an extensive thinning out process after many years of woodland neglect. The coppicing is generally done over a 12 year cycle, I'm told. This thinning out gives a chance for the saplings of large trees to grow and a chance for air and light to get back into the darkest parts of the wood. Maybe some of the brambles and bracken will disappear in the process.

This is a small stream known as Potters Bar Brook which joins up with Mimmshall Brook at Water End, which ultimately runs into the River Colne. Sadly, it's little more of than an open drain as far as the local light industrial units are concerned for it sometimes gets polluted! Still, providing there's no pollution, I've seen tiny fishes and the odd coot and duck, but I missed the kingfishers, which can occasionally be seen flashing like silver darts along the length of the water. Other birds spotted in Furzefield Wood include, blue, great, coal and long tailed tits, wrens, robins, nuthatch, thrushes, treecreepers, chaffinches, greenfinches, bullfinches and wagtails and many more.

Potters Bar Brook

There are the more common blackbirds, sparrows and dunnocks, wood pigeons and starlings too. I've seen a heron and kestrel here. I've heard owls and what I thought was a nightingale in the late evening but never spotted it. See my bird page.

Oak Common Ash

Fox country

Looking north over nearby tenanted farmland of Warrengate Farm. This year, this tiny field is planted with the ubiquitous rapeseed. Sure, the yellow looks nice in late April and May but what's all that oil used for? The fox den was within sight of this field. There were two sooty footed cubs. The fox trackways can been in several places all round the year where they cross the stream and enter the wood. They visit local properties too.

Local map, oriented north/south, of Furzefield Wood at the southern end of Potters Bar. The Meadow is the thin strip of pale green on the map through which the stream, Potters Bar Brook, runs. A public footpath runs alongside.

Furzefield Wood, soon to become a Local Nature Reserve, is at the rear of the recently refurbished Furzefield Sports Centre, Swimming Pool and King George V Playing field.

Local Map

Aerial shot of Furzefield Wood

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