Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean


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Dymock and Haugh Woods Group


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Spring 2020

Spring 2019

Spring 2017

Autumn 2016

December 2015

May 2015

March 2015

October 2014

July 2014

May 2014

March 2014


Dymock Forest

The Forestry Commission’s Dymock Forest, near Newent, straddles the Gloucestershire/Herefordshire border. Part is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is in the Queen's Wood section of Dymock Forest, known as the Michael Harper Nature Reserves. In spring, many areas of the wood are carpeted with beautiful wild daffodils.

 In the late 1960s, Dr Harper highlighted eight areas within the wood that had particularly interesting and varied plants, butterflies and moths.

Volunteers from the Ledbury Naturalists Field Club and Hereford Nature Trust took on annual winter coppicing on these woodland reserves. This work continues to this day, to maintain and expand the Michael Harper Nature Reserves.

Dead wood in British woodlands is a relatively scarce habitat. Dr Harper developed a method of constructing vertical wood stacks (eco-heaps) to promote various types of decay. Being open to all aspects, some wood was always exposed to either sun or shade. These eco-heaps look a bit like wigwams! This work resulted in records of various moths, with different requirements, living on the same dead wood. Birds and other animals nest and roost in them and possibly Dormice hibernate in the bases. Many of the original eco-heaps are still standing today and some are still sturdy enough to have been added to in recent years.

Volunteers also undertake regular surveys of plants and animals in the woods, especially in the summer.  So far over 1000 species of butterfly and moth have been found, many of which are classified as rare.


An Eco-heap on the Michael Harper Reserve



Work parties are organised  jointly by the Forestry Commission     (Kate Wollen - 07786 526280 or )

and Ledbury Naturalists Field Club ( Mike Bradley - 07710 505492 or ).

They take place from October to April every Thursday, 9.30am – 12.45pm, meeting at the Linton Wood end of Dymock Forest (Grid ref- SO667267)



Haugh Woods

Haugh Woods, Woolhope, near Hereford, is a 350 hectare mixed woodland managed by the Forestry Commission and is also designated as a SSSI due to the rich diversity of butterflies and moths that are to be found there. The very rare Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterfly thrives in the recently coppiced areas, as do the rare Wood White butterfly and Drab Looper moth. There are two way-marked trails with information boards about the butterflies and the conservation work in the wood.

Coppicing work to help support these insects, and many other plants and animals, takes place annually over the winter. In summer, weekly butterfly transects are walked by volunteers to record and monitor the butterflies.

The Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterfly only occurs in 3 areas in Herefordshire. As well as Haugh Woods and some neighbouring woods, it can also be found at Ewyas Harold Common, between Hereford and Abergavenny and at Coppett Hill near Ross on Wye. (Butterfly Conservation also run monthly work parties here during the winter to enhance the habitat for butterflies and other wildlife. For more details go to )  



Work parties are organised jointly by the Forestry Commission (Kate Wollen- 07786 526280 or kate.wollen@forestryengland.ukk )

and Butterfly Conservation, West Midlands Branch (Robin Hemming- 07501 020605 or )

They take place through the winter, on a Thursday and the first Saturday of the month 10am – 2.30pm meeting in Haugh Woods Car Park at Grid Ref SO593365.


Spring 2020


This is a White Barred Clearwing moth (Synanthedon spheciformis) found in Dymock Woods and is a Notable B of national scarce conservation. The antennae also have a whitish band near the tips and there is a small yellowish-white spot or dash at the rear of the thorax. The caterpillars spend two years feeding near the base of a tree trunk or in the roots of Alder and Birches, overwintering as larvae.



We do not have beavers in Dymock forest, so have to make woody dams ourselves. This is one of a number we have made recently to slow the flow of water across the Orchid Reserve. We hope this will help to keep the site damper in summer and benefit plants such as the Marsh Helleborine and Bog Pimpernel.


Spring 2019


The team have continued their work in these woods and there are now signs of the masses of daffodils beginning to grow.





Spring 2017


This image was taken on the 9th March 2017 showing a great show of wild daffodils here at Dymock Reserves which reponded to the coppicing during the autumn.




This dormouse nest was found in Dymock woods recently. It was about 3 feet up in a gorse bush.

Dormice are almost completely arboreal in habit but much less reluctant to cross open ground than was thought even recently. When it wakes up in spring (late April or early May), it builds woven nests of shredded honeysuckle bark, fresh leaves and grasses in the undergrowth. If the weather is cold and wet, and food scarce, it saves energy by going into torpor; it curls up into a ball and goes to sleep. The hazel dormouse, therefore, spends a large proportion of its life sleeping - either hibernating in winter or in torpor in summer.


Autumn 2016

Dymock Woods update autumn 2016

Summer is the season for admiring the work undertaken during the winter and seeing what plants and animals are benefiting from our work.

This year the Lily of the Valley along the newly cleared rideside was looking fabulous (see photo) and the Dormice in the woods had good breeding season and have been able to get well fed on the variety of pollen, berries and nuts and other food available on the reserves.

Last year the naughty great spotted woodpeckers had a field day pecking into a number of our dormouse boxes so Barry made 10 armour plated boxes to put up in the woodpecker area. This has foiled him and her and all boxes remain intact and have been used by birds early in the season and one has been used by a dormouse. Sorry to spoil your fun Mr and Mrs Woodpecker!

During the October dormouse box check we found 28 dormice including many juveniles in the 50 boxes on 2 of the Dymock Woods Reserves,so lovely to see them and know they have happily bred in the woods.

Winter coppicing has started again every Thursday morning in Dymock Woods and the first Saturday of the month at Haugh woods. We always welcome new members so please do come and join us.


December 2015

Photo of our armour plated dormouse box,lined with metal chequer plate to try to stop the naughty great spotted woodpecker from pecking  the sides out inorder to get to any young birds or dormice in residence!

Despite the poor weather during the summer, moth-trapping sessions in both woods have recorded a number of 'Notable' and 'Local' species in each wood including a new species of micro-moth for Herefordshire, a rare moth which feeds on Small-leaved Lime and is found mainly in the Wye Valley.

Butterflies enjoyed varied fortunes owing to the indifferent weather with the very rare Pearl-bordered Fritillary being seen in small numbers in Haugh Wood yet nearly 80 Common Blues were recorded during one transect walk. Silver-washed Fritillary had a good year in Haugh Woods in common with the rest of the country. This is one of our butterflies BAP species of butterfly and we hope it is doing well as a result of our conservation work parties and FC management.

Dormouse surveys have been undertaken in two areas of Dymock Wood and encouraging numbers of Dormice have been found in the boxes. Unfortunately a Great Spotted Woodpecker has again taken an interest in some of the boxes but an armour-plated version has been developed and we hope this will deter attacks



May 2015

Butterfly transects have now started in Haugh Wood and when the sun shines, already Pearl-bordered Fritillaries have been recorded in the wood along with Wood White. Brimstones seem to be in good numbers this year as well.

The Early-purple Orchids are looking particularly beautiful on the South side .

The first Dormouse surveys of the season have been carried out and 2 sleepy dormice were seen in Haugh woods. No Dormice have been recorded from the boxes in Dymock Woods yet, but a number of the boxes have been occupied by nesting Blue & Great Tits.

A pleasant surprise was the emergence of a large area of Lily of the Valley in an area recently coppiced and cleared by the workparties. A number of Herb of Paris plants were found during the survey and some work will be carried out next season to maintain the habitat for this plant.

A number of moth surveys have been carried out in both woods but the cool nights have resulted in low numbers in the traps but we hope for better weather!


March 2015

Work parties have been undertaken on the various nature reserves in Queen's Wood, Dymock and the group have even ventured as far as Haugh Wood to help with the Butterfly Conservation workparties for the Wood White and Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterflies.

The Wild Daffodils are just starting to bud and will be in full bloom soon and can be seen throughout the Dymock Wood complex.

The local villages will be holding their daffodil week-ends in March and details are as follows:


Kempley: 14 & 15th March 2015

2, 6 & 10 mile walks both days starting at 10.30 from church/village hall There is also a mini bus service. Lunch, teas, drinks, local produce, etc at Village Hall both days.

For further details see:



Oxenhall: 21st & 22nd March 2015

Betty Dawes Wood open with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust stand on Saturday

Walks from Betty Dawes Wood on Saturday

2.00pm 2 mile walk taking in Betty Dawes Wood and Gwen & Vera's Fields - 2.30pm Short walk for children


Oxenhall Village Hall open both days 12.00pm to 5.00pm for teas etc. - GWT children's activities at Hall on both days


Dymock: 28 & 29th March 2015

Spring Fayre and Daffodil Weekend

2.30pm 1 hour walks to see the daffodils starting from Wintour's Green in front of the church



October 2014

Summer has seen sunshine and so wildlife surveys have been underway all season in both Haugh and Queen's Wood.

Dormice have been happily occupying the boxes and a mother with young was found in one box in Dymock Woods at the end of September.


Moth-trapping sessions in both woods have recorded a number of 'Notable' and 'Local' species in each wood including the beautiful Merveille du Jour (see photo). The larvae of this stunning moth feeds first on oak flowers and buds and then on the leaves. although found over much of the country,it is not commonly found. Other uncommon moths recorded were Devon Carpet, Mocha, Maiden's Blush, Tawny Pinion and Beautiful Hook-tip. These species require different foodplants, showing the benefits of different habitats throughout each wood.

Butterflies enjoyed the good weather with the very rare Pearl-bordered Fritillary being seen throughout Haugh Woods and White Admirals seen for the first time in a number of years in the centre of Dymock Woods,enjoying one of the coppice areas that the Conservation Group cut 2 years ago.

Herefordshire Mammal Group undertook several bat surveys in Haugh Wood as part of a woodland survey, Herefordshire for Natural England, and showed that a number different species are using the woods,with a particulary high number of Soprano Pipistrelles being recorded in one area in Haugh.



Conservation work in Queen's Wood will start in October and anyone wishing to help can obtain further details from Kate Wollen (07786 526280 - or Michael Bradley (07710 505492 -

Work parties at Haugh Wood will start in November and further details can be obtained from Kate Wollen (07786 526280 - or Robin Hemming (07501 020605 -


July 2014

Dormouse surveys have been undertaken in two areas of Dymock Wood and encouraging numbers of Dormice have been found in the boxes including a mother with young. Unfortunately a Great Spotted Woodpecker has taken an interest in some of the boxes and they have been removed to ensure the safety of any occupant.

White Admiral butterflies and Broad-leaved Helleborine plants have been seen in Dymock Woods and Silver-washed Fritillary in Haugh Woods. Both butterflies are BAP species and indicators of good quality habitat within the woodland.




May 2014

Drab Looper Moth feeding on Wood Spurge ( the moth's food plant).


The spring flowers are now in full bloom - Bluebells look stunning, the yellowy green of the Wood Spurge contrasting with the blue.

Early Purple Orchids are now in flower and the leaves of the Common Spotted Orchid are showing.

With the onset of longer days and higher temperatures, the butterflies and moths for which the woods are important refuges are now flying.

Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Wood White butterflies and Drab Looper moths, all rare species, can all be seen throughout Haugh Wood indicating that the conservation work carried out by the Forestry Commission and Butterfly Conservation volunteers is having the desired effect.

The Pearl-bordered Fritillary can also be seen on Ewyas Harold common and Coppet Hill, where BC workparties also take place. There is always the chance of seeing them on the Doward as they have occurred there previously and the clearance work carried out there may enable them to return.


March 2014

 'The daffodils  are looking stunning already this year and over the next 2 weekends the local villages host 'daffodil weekends' with guided walks through the wood and fields in celebration of the daffodils.'

Details below-

Kempley  Daffodil Weekend,  or

15 & 16th March

2, 6 & 10 mile walks both days starting at 10.30 from church/village hall There is also a mini bus service. Lunch, teas, drinks, local produce, etc at Village Hall both days.


Oxenhall Daffodil Weekend,


Betty Dawes Wood open Sat & Sun

2.00pm  both days 2 mile walk taking in Betty Dawes Wood and Gwen & Vera's Fields


2.30pm Saturday Only Short walk for children 


Oxenhall Village Hall open both days 12.00pm to 5.00pm for teas etc.

GWT children's activities at Hall on Saturday only