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Coppett's Wood and Scrublands Local Nature Reserve Barnet

Summary

Coppett's Wood was once part of an extensive area of woodland owned by the Bishop of London, which later became known as Finchley Common. The name comes from 'Coppits Farm', created when an area of woodland was cleared in the C16th. The common was enclosed in 1811. In the C19th, as the area was developing, a sewage works was constructed next to Coppett's Wood on the area now called Scrublands. In 1900 the local council had purchased the wood, installing a sludge digester there. The wood was used for military training and gas mask testing in WWII. The sewage works closed in 1963 and the sludge digester was demolished in 1988; Coppett's Wood Conservationists were formed in 1983 and in 1997 the site was designated a Local Nature Reserve.

Basic Details

Previous / Other name:
Finchley Common

Site location:
Colney Hatch Lane, Friern Barnet

Postcode:
N12 0LT ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Public Open Land

Date(s):

Designer(s):

Listed structures:
None

Borough:
Barnet

Site ownership:
LB Barnet

Site management:
Leisure and Youth Services, Green Spaces Division. Coppett's Wood Conservationists

Open to public?
Yes

Opening times:
unrestricted

Special conditions:

Facilities:

Events:

Public transport:
Bus: 43, 43X, 134, 221, 234

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2003
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.barnet.gov.uk

Further Information

Grid ref:
TQ276916 (527650,191650)

Size in hectares:
18.5

Green Flag:
No

On EH National Register :
No

EH grade:
None

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
No

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:
No

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
No

In Conservation Area:
No

Tree Preservation Order:
Not known

Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Borough Importance I

Green Belt:
No

Metropolitan Open Land:
Yes

Special Policy Area:
No

Other LA designation:
Local Nature Reserve

Fuller information

Coppett's Wood was once part of an extensive area of woodland owned by the Bishop of London, which by 1504 had shrunk considerably in size and became known as Finchley Common. The name comes from 'Coppits Farm', which was created in 1565 when an area of woodland was cleared. Much of the land here was heavy wet clay that was difficult to cultivate and so was left as common land. By the 13th century settlements had developed at the edges of the common from which Finchley grew up and in the C17th the common land was put to grass. In the C17th and C18th Finchley Common was notorious as a haunt of highwaymen, who when apprehended were hung on gibbets here. Dick Turpin was thought to have sheltered under an oak tree on the common. The common was also used for military exercises and other activities such as bare knuckle boxing, pigeon shooting and horse racing. It was enclosed in 1811. Following a typhoid epidemic in the rapidly developing area, a sewage works was constructed next to Coppett's Wood on the area now called Scrublands.

In 1900 the local council purchased the wood, installing a sludge digester there. The wood was used for military training and gas mask testing in World War II and a number of tank traps remain. A hollow in the south-west corner may be a bomb crater. It was not until 1963 that the sewage works was finally closed although the area then became a rubbish dump, and the sludge digester was finally demolished in 1988.

Coppett's Wood Conservationists were formed in 1983 and in 1997 the site was designated a Local Nature Reserve. Coppett's Wood has a variety of trees including oak and hornbeam which may be up to 160 years old, and also horse-chestnut, sweet chestnut, beech, ash, lime, wild cherry as well as one pine tree. Scrublands is more open land.

Sources consulted:

Jan Hewlett, Ian Yarham, David Curson, 'Nature Conservation in Barnet' (London Ecology Unit, 1997).

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