Between 26th June and 12th August 2019, the Friends of Cherry Tree Wood undertook a survey (of 11 questions) of users of Cherry Tree Wood a Barnet owned slice of Ancient Woodland in East Finchley North London. The questionnaire was available in hard copy on the Friends stall at the East Finchley Community Festival and shortly afterwards it was available online via Survey Monkey.
The Survey sought to identify and gauge the range and
importance of improvements that should be made to the Wood in the coming few
years and to find out current satisfaction levels with the Wood.
Summary of Results
- In total 273 people responded to the survey via hard copy questionnaire or online through Survey Monkey. 70% of the respondents were women and only 28% men with 2% preferring not to identify themselves.
- Views on the most important and more immediate proposals for action were sought. The clear front runners for action relate to litter and cleanliness of the park. Improved litter bins came out top followed by regular litter picks. Adopting the flower beds near the café and tennis courts along with providing a drinking fountain for humans and dogs proved very popular and a nature and tree trail was also well supported.
- Longer term improvements elicited some of the strongest responses with improving toilets by far and away the greatest concern for action. The need for a woodland management plan and the improvement of biodiversity in the Wood was recognised and very strongly supported. A new larger café with inside seating facilities received very strong support as did making improvements to provide an inclusive playground and to provide new surfaces for the tennis and basketball courts. The idea of reopening the Mutton brook culvert through the park was considered important by 50% of respondents.
- An open question asked people to identify other ideas that they have for the improvement of Cherry Tree Wood. Some reinforced or commented upon ideas contained in Questions 1 and 2 particularly about the café, toilets and litter. New ideas ranging from a new gate at Fordington Road, the provision of a scrape or pond and many others will be tested through the Management Plan for the Wood that is being developed by the Friends in conjunction with Barnet Council.
- Overall satisfaction levels appear reasonable but 16% declaring themselves either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied is too high and hopefully these results will fall over the coming years as the items that appear to cause dissatisfaction are dealt with and resolved.
- Most respondents are relatively frequent visitors to the Wood with over 60% using the Woods either on most days or weekly. Only 2% rarely visited.
The most cited reason to visit Cherry Tree Wood was to go for a walk (46%). This seems to tie in with getting some fresh air, enjoying the surroundings and seeking peace and quiet (25%, 21% and 19% respectively). A large grouping was engaged on children/family outings (36%) and visiting the play area (31%). A significant group (16%) were walking the dog. Wildlife experiences such as enjoying flowers and trees (14%) and seeing birds and wildlife (11%) were sought by a slightly smaller group. The bulk of the responses came from the 30-59 age group. 20 % were from the over 60 age group but few (7%) were in the under 30 age range. This is an area where the Friends acknowledge more detailed survey work may be needed in future to determine the actual needs and desires of the younger age group.