Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean


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Signs of Spring - February 2021

Goodbye to the Exmoor ponies - February 2021

A thank you from the Pillowell Rec Committee - January 2021


Signs of Spring - February 2021

Thank goodness - Spring is on it's way! This frogspawn was found near to Mallards Pike. It takes frogspawn approximately 12-14 weeks to hatch and become a frog.


Goodbye to the Exmoor ponies - February 2021

It is with sadness that we have to report that the Exmoor ponies are no longer in the Forest of Dean

It was discovered that a couple of them were suffering from Sweet Itch, or Summer Seasonal Recurrent Dermatitis (SSRD) and the decision to take them back to Cornwall, where a more exposed, windy site, e.g. a bare hillside or a coastal site with strong onshore breezes could help to clear the infection.

Sweet Itch is a delayed hypersensitivity to insect bites (Culicoides midge) and results from an over-vigorous response by the animal's immune system. In the process of repelling invading insect saliva (which actually contains harmless protein) the horse attacks some of its own skin cells 'by mistake' and the resulting cell damage causes the symptoms described as Sweet Itch. Affected animals rub themselves against trees and fences in an attempt to relieve the irritation.


UPDATE :- GWT have asked us to update our information regarding our recent post about the Exmoor Ponies being transferred to Cornwall, which we stated was as a result of suffering from Sweet Itch. The ponies have been removed from the sites purely for habitat management reasons, as GWT seek to get the right grazing balance between the Cattle and the ponies across the open habitat restoration sites. As the habitat matures, it is likely that additional grazing animals will be required and the pony numbers might increase once again, however this is dependent upon achieving the correct sward structure which is most beneficial for the habitat type being restored. One of the ponies removed had suffered from Sweet itch for a number of years, however this was carefully monitored and treatment applied by the vets when required, and was not the reason it has been relocated to Cornwall. In Cornwall, the ponies will be continuing their conservation work carrying out essential grazing on the coastal heathlands



A thank you from the Pillowell Rec Committee - January 2021

We received this thank you message from the Pillowell Rec Committee. It was much appreciated!

"I am writing to let you know that we are now all fenced and gated at Pillowell Recreation Ground. We closed the main gate and snapped the padlock shut for the first time on the evening of Friday 8th January and I expect you can imagine what a relief that was! On behalf of the Trustees of 'the Rec' Charity, we would like to convey our sincere thanks to you and the Dean Green Team for supporting the project to get the Rec fenced. We knew it was going to be a tough slog to get the boundary cleared but fortunately this is where the Dean Green Team came to the rescue. Since the DGT sessions in Sept/Oct, We have kept up the good work to clear brash and remove old fencing wire, but we couldn't have done it without your help. We have deer leaps, fawn creeps and 'rounded corners' to help to protect the deer and have established a daily 'fence-check' rota with local volunteers. Still lots to do and within COVID constraints we are ploughing on!"