Dear Readers, no sooner had I posted about the Miyawaki Method and the Tiny Forest Movement than several people commented that not only were there were Tiny Forests in London, but one of them was only twenty minutes walk from East Finchley. Furthermore, I had actually read several articles about this endeavour, but hadn’t linked it with what I was writing about. Doh. So, it felt as if the least I could do was head over to the junction of Falloden Way and Finchley Road, walk alongside the Mutton Brook, and take a look at how our very own Tiny Forest was doing.
If it wasn’t for the roar of traffic coming from the North Circular Road and the A1, this spot would be almost idyllic – I did a walk along the Mutton Brook (which arises somewhere in East Finchley, though probably not in Cherry Tree Wood as I’d previously thought) a few years ago, and very interesting it was too (for me at least). You can read about my adventures here and here. Maybe when I’m retired I’ll explore some more of my local streams, it’s always fun to ‘join the dots’ and see how the geology of an area works.
Anyhow, the Tiny Forest really is tiny! It’s probably slightly larger than a tennis court. It was planted up in February 2022 by local volunteers and school children with help from the staff at Earthwatch who are pioneering the Tiny Forest movement in Europe. The list of plants could be a register of all the most valuable plants for wildlife in the UK.
There is also Alder Buckthorn, Crab Apple, Silver and Downy Birch, Blackthorn, Elder, Guelder Rose, Hazel, Small-leaved Lime, and both Goat and Grey Willow.
All the trees that I saw seemed to be doing well, but there was a small crisis in summer 2022, just after the trees had been planted, when London experienced a drought and some of the highest temperatures on record. Local volunteers came up trumps, however, bringing buckets of water up from the Mutton Brook. Such was the community spirit that the whole site got a good watering within half an hour.
I will be very intrigued to see how the Tiny Forest fares – it is a tribute to the hard work of the people who planted it, and who look after it now, and it will be interesting to see how it affects the biodiversity of the area. Certainly there are plants here that provide food for caterpillars, and hence food for birds. I shall be keeping an eye on it over the coming years to see how it does.
You can read all about the Tiny Forest here, and the Facebook page for the group is here. There is also a helpful leaflet from Earthwatch about the theory and practice of Tiny Forests here. Many thanks to the people who pointed out that Barnet already had its own Tiny Forest, I was both intrigued and delighted to see one ‘in real life’.