Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean


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26 September 2017

Horsepool Bottom Nature Reserve

Grid Ref SO667167


A glorious day which was quite warm to complete three separate tasks at Horsepool Bottom Nature Reserve.

This is a three acre nature reserve managed by the Oakraven Field Centre () which has been a nature reserve for educational purposes and wildlife, since 1985. Oakraven now occupies the old Plump Hill school which was built in 1878 and finally closed in 1984. The 3.0 acre reserve adjacent to the field centre grounds is managed by agreement with the Forestry Commission for both educational purposes, and to provide a wide range of habitats to encourage wildlife. The reserve consists of areas of semi-natural woodland, glades & boundary hedgerows, pond and dense bracken. The reserve includes seven very large and old oak trees, together with old hazel coppice stands. Some coppice is to be restored through standard silviculture, to help enhance the habitat diversity on the reserve and the ongoing survival of veteran oak.

Coppicing was required through the main track to allow the canopy to be opened, Hedgelaying was used at the side of the track. The area at the bottom of the site needed extensive clearing.






It is not often that we get such a young member of the team to help us out! This young fellow did actually do quite a lot of picking up the sticks for us.






Coffee break in the grounds of the field centre proved to be very civilised!

The main aims at the field centre are:

  1. To encourage enjoyment of the outdoors and outdoor learning.
  2. To encourage education and research.
  3. To maintain, enhance and encourage appreciation of the site’s habitats and rare native populations.






Hedgelaying along the track is still in progress.




On the left is the old willow which we totally removed to the ground (see the right image) and this created the open area beyond. The willow will re-grow!