Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean








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The Cyril Hart Arboretum

Autumn Leaves

The arboretum is named after local historian and forestry expert, Dr Cyril Hart. The collection started in 1910 and contains over 400 trees.

It is situated on the B4226 Coleford to Cinderford road close to the Speech House.

OS Grid Reference: SO624118

12 Oct 2008 2.00 pm - a tour of the Cyril Hart Arboretum at Speech House was organised to coincide with a new volunteer group who will be working in the arboretum over the coming months. Botanist and dendrologist, Tony Tichen, identified and gave amazing information about the trees and explained where many of them came from.

Tony Tichen at the Arboretum

There is to be a new volunteer group based in the arboretum who will be meeting once a month to do work on tidying the site, changing the tree naming tags and planting new trees. If you are interested then come and join us on

the first Monday of every month from 11.00 am to 3.00 pm



Volunteer Group Diary

3 November 2008

The first outing for the volunteer group was fun and we managed to clear and tidy up the area to the right of the access gate. We had a small fire to burn off the bramble and holly branches. The volunteer group were of great interest to the regular walkers and visitors during the day.

First Day!


2 December 2008

Another really gorgeous day with the weather being cold but sunny. We carried on from where we left off last time and soon had a fire burning to clear up all the dead wood on the ground and the small holly trees. We also cut many of the really thick ivy stems growing up the larger trees. Some of the ivy stems were 4-5 inches diameter. The ivy will eventually wither away although it might take a year or so.

We found a large fallen tree near to the Japanese Cedars which had been sawn into smaller chunks so after we had cleared away the dead branches we moved the chunks to create a log circle. The logs will probably be removed at a later stage (to prevent brambles growing around them) but it was fun to do something constructive this time.

Log circle

5 January 2009

We woke up this morning to a covering of snow and, although it was very cold, the sun was shining through the trees making it a really pretty scene and we soon got a good fire going to warm us up. We continued along the track clearing a lot of invasive holly and some small beech trees which opens out the area and gives the larger trees more room. There were plenty of larger logs left over for the members in the group who have wood burning stoves at home!


2 February 2009

This day was the start of the worst winter weather for 18 years and the snow began to fall during the afternoon which meant that some of us had to get home quickly before the roads and lanes were impassable! We did have a few hours of clearing and a good strong fire going first. We took some of the lower dead branches off the large cypresses and pines and had a general tidy up of small holly and birch. The photo was taken in the morning before the worst of the snow came.


2 March 2009

Continuing the tidying up and clearance of the Arboretum and making good progress through the area. Many small firs and scrubby holly and bramble were taken out allowing a vista through to the forest behind the Arboretum. Some new volunteers joined us this time which is always very encouraging. Tiny sprouting bluebells were visible under the leaves.

a good fire!


6 April 2009

The time was spent clearing some of the protected areas around new specimen plantings to eliiminate brambles and self sown natural seedlings which are competing with the specimen trees. We disposed of a tree blown over by the winds and also a lot of branches broken off some of the large redwoods, we believe these branches had been broken off by the heavy snow earlier in the year.


5 May 2009

A beautiful spring day with a large number of volunteers continuing the tidying up in the Arboretum. We cleared a lot of self sown fir and beech and had an enormous bonfire. A common lizard was disturbed during the clear up and it was about five inches long. There is a need to update the plans for the site as many trees are unrecognized or do not fit in with the plan.


1 June 2009

Summer has arrived and the bluebells are still, just, in flower. The hottest day of the year so far. We started off by burning the branches of some fallen trees and branches that had been removed as they were dangerous. Then we removed the protective fencing from some oaks which had been planted a few years ago and are now viable young trees. There have been a number of sign stakes put in front of various specimen trees and we will be affixing the identity signs next month.


7 July 2009

We commemorated the life of Cyril Hart, who recently passed away, at the Arboretum on this day. He had done a great deal in the Forest and served as a verderer since 1952. Rob Guest, the Forestry Commision Deputy Surveyor, gave a speech relating his work and commitment to the Forest of Dean which was followed by a speech from his son, Anthony Hart. Many family of Cyril Hart, friends and colleagues attended and many people came to help us out with some work in the Arboretum.

We were screwing on the labels of many trees to the new posts erected under these trees. We removed the fencing around young, but now vigorous trees, and cleared the bramble around them. We started on the clearance of small birch and gorse which was blocking the old back wall of the Arboretum.

Cyril Hart

3 August 2009

This summer it has rained just about every day so we were fortunate to do a days work and finish before the rain came in the afternoon. There were some piles of old brush that needed burning and some large holly trees smothering a magnificent old oak tree which we removed. We found a small family of frogs under the old brush and, it is a pity that the photograph of them turned out fuzzy otherwise it would have been included here!

The local fire brigade is always informed that we are lighting a controlled fire.


7 September 2009

Another picture of a fire! But this time it was essential as we had a birthday for one of the team members so potatoes were baked in the fire and baked beans cooked on the ashes. We continued to clear along the stretch from where we were last time and disturbed a little toad which scurried off into the undergrowth.