Byford's Forest is a meridionally elongated wooded area along the Boulevard of the Liberation. It begins already less than 4 kilometers away from Terazije, downtown Belgrade. It borders the neighborhoods of Diplomatska Kolonija and Dedinje on the west, Banjica on the southwest and south, Trošarina on the southeast and Voždovac on the east. The forest is some 2 kilometers long and up to 300 meters wide and covers an area of 0.40 square kilometres. During the late 1980s, Timothy John Byford campaigned for Banjica forest to have special protection because of the large number of nightingales and other species of birds that nest in it. The wood is now an officially protected natural habitat and has been dubbed by some (unofficially) as "Byford's Forest".
Most common tree species are pedunculate oak, red maple, silver maple and box elder, but there are many others as well. There are numerous wildflowers on the forest floor, including wood avens, violets, strawberries, garlic mustard, deadnettles etc.
Bird species are very diverse so because of them, Banjica forest is now a natural monument, protected by the state. 68 bird species live in the forest, 40 of which are resident birds, 16 are migratory birds and 12 are passing. The most common breeding birds are nightingale, blackcap, great tit, European magpie, hooded crow, blackbird, woodpigeon, great spotted woodpecker etc.
Facilities and future
The man-made facilities in the forest include the Lukoil gas station and the Best Western Hotel "M". The south-western extension of the forest was turned into the large sports complex of Banjica decades ago.
On the occasion of the April 22, 2007, the Earth Day, the city government announced its plans for the Banjica forest in 2007, which will include the construction of the trim trail, artificial bed for the forest's stream and placing of bird houses through the forest.
As in the spring of 2011, the main forest path (going along the length of the forest) has a form of a functional trim trail, while the smaller paths are left in their natural state. Some old trees were cut and timber was cut in smaller pieces and left at the spot, attracting insects and insect-eating birds. Benches and wooden wastebaskets are placed periodically along the trim trail, while there are also several well-spaced spots with information tables and multiple benches under wooden roofs, intended for rest of several families. There are a wooden and a stone-based bridge over the widest parts of the stream, as well as several plank bridges over the narrowest parts. Bird houses are placed all over the forest.
Name change into "Byford`s Forest"
Based on the initiated review procedure regarding the protection of nature monument "Banjička forest", which was launched by the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, the Belgrade City Secretariat for Environmental Protection announced the public display of the protection acts of nature monument "Byford`s Forest" and scheduled a public hearing on the protection of this area in Belgrade .
The review of the Study on "Banjička forest", among other things, requires the change of its name. Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia and the Belgrade City Secretariat for Environmental Protection accepted the initiative to name this protected area "Byford`s forest" in honor and gratitude of Timothy John Byford, the famous British director, screenwriter and actor, who has left an indelible mark not only in Serbian culture, but also in caring for its natural heritage. Mr. Byford had studied the birds in Banjička forest for many years, and in the period from 1986 to 1989 collected data for about 70 species of birds . These data were used in the process of research and valuing this natural good, and later included in the Study on protection, which was drafted by the Institute, based on which this area became protected in 1993. The designation of "Byford`s forest" is a due recognition and an everlasting memory of Timothy John Byford , a passionate amateur ornithologist and a connoisseur of birds, who made a crucial contribution to the protection of Banjička forest.
- Plate at forest's entrances
- Politika daily, April 21, 2007