Queen’s Wood was originally part of the ancient Forest of Middlesex, which covered much of London, Hertfordshire and Essex. Today, the 52-acre (21-hectare) area is one of three Local Nature Reserves in the London Borough of Haringey. The ground flora in the park is particularly rich (given its proximity to central London) and bird life is also diverse.
The wood has no park or playing fields (but does sport a children’s adventure playground built atop the plague pit) and has never been subjected to intensive management of the type practised at Highgate Wood. Accordingly there is greater diversity of flora and fauna. The park abuts Highgate Wood and lies between East Finchley, Highgate Village, Muswell Hill and Crouch End. It is situated a few minutes’ walk away from the Highgate tube station.
The wood is an ancient oak-hornbeam woodland and features English oak and occasional beech, which provide a canopy above cherry, field maple, hazel, holly, hornbeam, midland hawthorn, mountain ash and both species of lowland birch. Additionally, the scarce Wild Service Tree (the evidence of the ancient origin) is scattered throughout the wood.
The rich ground flora in the park includes a large population of wood anemone, goldilocks buttercup and wood sorrel, yellow pimpernel and square-stemmed St John’s wort. Despite fairly high levels of disturbance, the bird life is diverse and includes three species of woodpecker. Interestingly, over one hundred species of spiders have been spotted in Queen’s Wood and a nationally rare jewel beetle is widespread there.