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

Volunteers meet at the Arboretum on the first Thursday of every month at 10am


We have done 3 years of work at the Arboretum (October) and have made real progress

To see the pictures from the first year - Click here

To see the pictures from the second year - Click here

To see the pictures from the third year - Click here



4 October 2012

Ilex Aquifolium var Pendula "Weeping Holly"


The Weeping Holly was cleared of all the underlying bramble, fern and young oak so that it had room to expand. We also continued to clear out another three pens and remove all the weed growth. It was a lovely bright day but the sunshine brought out the midges in their thousands!





Little Sammy is practising to be a Forest Ranger with his toy chainsaw!







6 September 2012




The pens which surround the species trees have all suffered from weed growth during the summer even though we have been regularly clearing them. The image of the pen on the left shows how invasive this is and was high with Rosebay Willowherb under which was a mass of bramble. It took us about three hours to clear this all out and the image on the right shows the result.

During the clearing we disturbed a little vole and a rather large frog!




2 August 2012

A very busy day at the Arboretum. The stump grinder continued his work in levelling the stumps so that, in the future, the grass can be cut evenly across the Arboretum. He has done a marvellous job and has grinded through many of the old stumps. The larger stumps took over an hour to destroy but the smaller ones were much quicker.

The Forest Ranger had a strimmer to slice through the bracken, brambles and long grass and the team built two small fires to burn off fallen branches.



7 June 2012

Slow-worm - Anguis fragilis

The relentless rain continued pouring down as it has for most of this summer! However, that means that every plant in the Arboretum is growing fast, including the grass, nettles and brambles. Brambles were pulled out of the tree inclosures and bracken was bruised as this is recognised as the most effective method of controlling regeneration. If the fronds can be damaged so as to bleed sap the buds on the rhizomes are less able to produce rapid growth.

We decided to move a pile of old logs so that the mower could eventually get through there to cut the grass. We are always being told that log piles are good for the wildlife - well... - when we moved the logs we saw.... a slow-worm, a mouse and some baby toads. Not to mention all the invertebrates in there!



3 May 2012

These are a few of the Greylag Geese who regularly visit Speech House fields by the side of the Arboretum. We think they come from Woorgreen Lake which is about 1/2 mile away.

Our Forest Ranger told us the story of finding a baby Tawny Owl (about 3 weeks old) hung up in a tree right next to the Arboretum. It was suspended, upside down, as it had it's claws caught in the ivy. It was cold and wet and would have been targeted by crows and magpies if it had been left there. So the ranger climbed the tree and rescued it and took it to the where it is now enjoying life with two other Tawny Owls. Once it is strong enough they will release it into the wild again.



5 April 2012

There are signs of spring at the arboretum. Many trees have blossom now and the bluebells are on the verge of flowering. We burnt off some previously cut holly branches, checked the newly planted trees and continued pulling out bramble and self seeded oak saplings from the enclosures. Sadly, a dead deer was found tangled up in the outer fencing and was removed by a forest ranger.



14 March 2012


We received an email from William Henderson who said "My Mum's memorial bench is at the Arboretum so I regularly go there to pay my respects. Nice to see you doing a good job keeping it intact!"

His photos and article can be seen here -


1 March 2012

Tree Planting!!!

For the first time ever the Dean Green Team did some tree planting! We had been given some trees by Westonbirt Arboretum which they had grown from seed collected in Japan by one of their rangers. As this was our first planting session we did everything by the book - cleared the ground (especially the bramble roots), dug the holes, carefully planted the trees and firmed them in, and we built an enclosure around the Handkerchief tree.

Some of the species we were planting were as follows:


The Dove Tree (Davidia involucrata) is also known as the Handkerchief tree or Pocket-handkerchief tree. The tree is native to South Central China and Southwest China from Hubei to southern Gansu, south to Guizhou, Sichuan and Yunnan

It is a moderately fast-growing tree, growing to about 20–25 m in height, with alternate cordate leaves The Dove Tree is best known for its flowers. These form a tight cluster about 1–2 cm across, reddish in colour, each flower head with a pair of large (12–25 cm), pure white bracts at the base performing the function of petals. These hang in long rows beneath the level branches. The flowers are at their best in late May. On a breezy day, the bracts flutter in the wind like white doves or pinched handkerchiefs, hence the English names for this tree..






The Japanese snowbell tree (Styrax). When in flower, the blooms hang face downwards, massed in clusters along the full length of the almost horizontal branches, and they need to be seen from below to appreciate their special charm. They are pure white, fragrant and bell-shaped, with a central tuft of bright yellow stamens. In a warm summer, small greyish green fruits are formed.



















Surveying the scene!



Our youngest member lends a hand!




















Building the enclosure




The final result !



2 February 2012


The temperature on this day was -2 degrees although the sun was shining all day. A very large branch had cracked off one of the Redwood trees so this provided the fuel for the fire!

So we spent the day clearing up fallen branches, removing the bracken and checking the fences (Sheep had come into the Arboretum from the Speech House fields which is not a bad thing but, if the sheep can get in - so can the boar!)



5 January 2012

Bird feeding


The start of 2012 was in the midst of ferocious windy storms so there were quite a few fallen branches to clear up. Old brambles were removed from the tree enclosures. The image displays a bird feeding station near to the main gate and plenty of people regularly supply wild bird food which has the small birds appearing to the table all day long.



5 December 2011

Arboretum fire


We spent the day clearing up many fallen branches and removing some wild holly trees as you can see in the photograph above. The views through the trees in the Arboretum are much more open now.

From January 2012 we will be meeting on the 1st Thursday of every month at 10.00 am (not the Monday anymore)



7 November 2011

Arboretum gate


As you can see, the photo this month is of the Arboretum gate! This is because the gates have been weighted to make sure they always close. We have had a problem with the wild boar getting into the Arboretum and digging up the grass and we need to keep them out as they consume a large amount of bluebell bulbs which would, eventually, result in no bluebells to be seen in the Arboretum. Hopefully, this will do the trick!

The team spent time burning off many fallen branches. We also had the use of a Forestry Commission GPS gadget and were able to log every tree which had a plaque in the Arboretum. This will now provide an accurate map of the trees for future reference.