Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean








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Summer Outing 2006

The summer outing for the Dean Green Team was to see the Red Kites flying at the Bwlch Nant yr Arian centre. Click here.


December 2010

Rebecca and RufusRebecca and Rufus are leaving us!

Rebecca has been in charge of the Dean Green Team for the last three and a half years serving as a recreational ranger with the Forestry Commission in the Forest of Dean. She is moving on to Neath and the Gower to work as a woodlands ranger, still with the Forestry Commission. She has provided all the sites we have worked on which is now quite difficult as she has to do "elf and safety" checks (watch out for the pylons, eh!!) She has put up with all the foibles which the team have laid upon her! She has come up with ideas to improve the wildlife habitats. She has been good fun!

We'll miss her (but maybe not little yappy Rufus!) and we have been promised a summer outing to her new forest area.


November 2010

Save Our Forest


The government is getting ready for a huge sell-off of our national forests to private firms. This could mean ancient woodlands are chopped down and destroyed.  Walkers and endangered animals, like red squirrels and owls, would have to make way for Center Parcs-style holiday villages, golf courses, and logging companies.
We need to stop these plans. Ancient forests like the Forest of Dean are national treasures - once they're gone, they are lost forever. A huge petition will force the government to rethink. If we can prove how strongly thousands of us are against this, we can make them back down.
    Please click here to add your name to a petition saying "save our forests":
The government needs to get new laws through Parliament before these plans can go ahead. That means we have time to stop them. If we build a huge petition, we will prove that the public doesn't want precious woodland to be flogged off. That will make MPs think twice about voting for it.
When we work together, we can stop the government from forcing through these kind of bad plans. They probably think that with all the focus on cuts, no-one will have time to spare to speak up for forests. 38 Degrees members know how to work on more than one issue at once. We're already standing up for the NHS and the BBC. We're winning our fight against the massive cow factory farm in Lincolnshire. Now let's stand up for Britain's ancient forests together, before it's too late and they're gone for good.

       Brilliant! Our Save our Forests petition is growing really fast. Almost 35,000 of us have signed in less than a week. Our campaign is growing so fast it's getting talked about in the national papers.
       We're proving that the public doesn't want our forests sold off. If enough of us get involved in this campaign, we can make the government back down.
       Now we need to prove we are not just a flash in the pan. Let's aim to get past 50,000 signatures this week. That will show the government this campaign is going to keep growing until they change their plans.

       Please can you help protect forests for wildlife and future generations by asking more people to sign the petition?  
       Please forward this e-mail and ask your friends to sign by clicking here:
       If you use Facebook, please also share the petition on your profile by clicking here:
       If you use Twitter, please also send a "Tweet" about the petition by clicking here:

March 2010

If you would like to see some photography taken by a local amateur wildlife photgrapher which are mostly set in the Forest of Dean then visit

February 2010

Help the RSPB halt illegal bird killing in Malta

Each year, huge numbers of migratory birds are ruthlessly slaughtered on their way to their breeding grounds in northern Europe.

Maltese hunters have recently requested that the islands’ government defy international bird protection laws

Please sign the petition at

January 2010

Barry Embling, the RSPB warden for the Forest of Dean, will be featured on Countryfile on BBC1 on 30th January

November 2009

There will be a talk by Nick Williams of the Butterfly Conservation Trust at the Catholic Church Hall, Cinderhill, Coleford on the 20th November at 7.30 pm. Cost £2.00. This is in special reference to the small pearl bordered fritillary which we have been monitoring during the summer.

October 2009

Just to let you know that the university of Worcester are running a boar survey for the Forest of Dean –

Go on line to for questionnaire!


6 July 2009

This is the day for the Arboretum team to work but it is also the day when we will be commemorating the life of Cyril Hart who recently passed away. There will be various dignitaries from the Forestry Commission on site and a review of our work so far. Free lunch is provided and all are welcome.

June 2009

Butterfly conservation

On 9th June quite a few of the Dean Green Team went out on a butterfly conservation day at Moseley Green looking for the small pearl bordered fritillary (Boloria selene) run by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and the Butterfly Conservation, Gloucestershire Branch. We did a survey of the number of these butterflies in a meadow and counted about twenty of them, ranging from brightly coloured and faded coloured butterflies. We then did a survey of a stream to record the vegetation at five metre spaces.

The main foodplants for pearl bordered fritillary are Common Dog-violet (Viola riviniana) and Marsh Violet (Viola palustris). We found some Marsh Violet and it had clearly been nibbled by the larvae and we found some Dog-violet by the meadow.

We also spotted Small Skipper, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell and Small Heath butterflies.

Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary

A return visit to Moseley Green was done on the 16th June where we spent some time doing a habitat survey. This involved recording a 1 metre area every 5 metres apart. We measured the vegetation height, whether there were any marsh violets, dog violets, nectar bearing plants, sedge, reeds, spagnum moss and whether it was in shade, waterlogged or disturbed by grazing animals. We also counted the butterflies in the area.

Foxgloves at Moseley Green


May 2009

Continuing with the archeaological dig at New Weir Forge

We joined the New Weir Forge archeaological dig again and spent a beautiful day by the River Wye. The wild garlic was still in flower and covered the area that the Dean Green Team had cleared in March. The dig has discovered many old metal and pottery artefacts under the earth and they will spend the next few months putting all the details together before resuming the dig next year.

Swans on the River Wye

Forge dig


April 2009

Archeaological dig at New Weir Forge, Symonds Yat

Herefordshire Archeaology are excavating New Weir Forge, Symonds Yat where we helped to clear the area in March and some of the team have been there to assist with the archeaology.

Attempts were made to make Wye navigable as far as Hereford. In between two attempts, the weir was rebuilt then destroyed by ice 1684. A lease was granted to build a forge for 'fining of pig iron'. In 1695 all weirs were to be abolished by Act except New Weir 'because it had been here time out of mind.... ' There were two hammers and three chaferies or fineries which could work in summer.... there were besides a dwelling house, stables, warehouse, outhouses and several dwelling houses built for above 30 families

The forge here worked in conjunction with the furnace at Whitchurch. Originally located at place now called Old Forge at Whitchurch, and removed to New Weir 1685, where the gradient of the River Wye gave more effective fall for water power. It was partly destroyed by severe frosts in 1814 and soon after the remains of weir, lock and forge buildings were demolished. The foundations and a few low walls survive in the undergrowth. New Weir lies downstream from Whitchurch at the foot of the Doward. It is mentioned in the Goodrich manor court of 1513. It may in fact date to an earlier period because Old Weare of Goodrich, upstream was already called so in 1445. Rebuilt by George White in 1684.


Wild Garlic

Wild Boar Education Day

Some of our members attended a wild boar education day run by the Forestry Commission at Beechenhurst Lodge on Saturday 25th April. This was a most interesting and informative discussion and display of wild boar habitat. Two of the Forestry Commission wildlife rangers led the talks and were full of local knowledge and anecdotes. They explained the arrival of the boar in the main part of the forest only five years ago and the monitoring of them ever since. In the afternoon, we went out into the forest to find boar tracks and, although we did not see any boar, we did see deer. We also found a boar wallow and the signs of them rubbing on the trees.

They will continue to monitor the boar and see if they establish a stable population within the forest. Boar are wild animals and should not be fed or approached and, if people keep to that idea, the boar will not get aggressive but will, peacefully, disappear into the forest when seen.

December 2008

Following our visit to Lancaut on the 16th December to coppice the hazel for the dormice, one of our group sent these pictures and the story to go with them - enjoy!

'My youngest son works in France for about 8 months each year, predominately through the summer. When he returns to the U.K. it is normal for Dad to help with a full service on his car, a Vauxhall Astra estate. Last year this was done in October. The oil was changed, oil filter replaced, appropriate fluids topped up, then came the air filter.......

The plastic outer casing was removed, all normal, then the paper filter itself  and hey presto "the stash".  There were pips/seeds and a small amount of nesting material as the pic shows, hundreds of them.

A couple of dozen of the seeds/pips were sent to Nottingham University where a specialist in recognition of rodents by their teeth marks declared that the culprit was a dormouse (or an army of them).Many of the pips were from cherries.

The car was used regularly all summer, sometimes on very long trips and frequently left for a few days in various places around France. However it also spent a lot of time at his base in the rural Ardeche where we suspect the visitors came from.'

Dormice stash


Dormice stash


Dormice stash


November 2008

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 for the first meeting on 3rd November 2008 11.00 am to 3.00 pm

October 2008

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

September 2008

Identifying Broad Leaf Trees and Conifers

There is a course at the Royal Forest of Dean College, Five Acres for those of us who need to know more about tree identification!

It is for 8 weeks from 18 September to 13 November at 14.00 to 16.00 pm on Thursdays and costs £60 or £45 for concessions to enrol.

Contact the forest of dean college for info

01594 833416

All are welcome not just the regular Dean Green Team volunteers!

Hope to see you there!

RFDC Course

March 2008

Woorgreen Lake and Marsh Bird Survey

One of the members of the Dean Green Team, Hayley Clayton, has been doing a survey of the birds who frequent the lake and marshes around Woorgreen Lake during the winter. Click on the links below to view her results.

26th January 2008

Wild Boar in Ruardean Village School

The wild boar in the Forest of Dean are regularly invading the villages now. This one spent the day in the village school field and has returned so the children need to be on the look out for it! It seems to be enjoying the crab apples!



18th January 2008

The Work of the Wildlife Trust in the Forest of Dean by Rosie Kelsall
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust
Venue: St Margaret Mary's Catholic Church Hall, Cinder Hill, Coleford GL16 8HN
Contact: Helen Williams (local volunteer)
Tel: 01594 510384

The talk will be about the wide ranging work of The Trust in the Forest of Dean District from Nature Reserves to surveys and Parish Projects to forward planning.
This talk is taking place at St Margaret Mary's Catholic Church Hall, Cinder Hill, High Nash, Coleford, GL16 8HN and all are welcome, Admission £2 to include refreshments.

BBC AutumnWatch - November 2007


Last week the BBC program showed a film of the wild boar in the Forest of Dean. This has created a lot of interest and the Forestry Commision advise people not to approach the boar as the sows with piglets can be very protective and the male boars are very large but as the boar are secretive animals it is unlikely to come across them!


Forest of Dean Angling Club - January 2007

The Forest of Dean Angling Club have contacted us regarding the Otter Watch with some very useful information concerning otters seen at Steam Mills lake. Below is the report submitted by Nigel Phillips who can be contacted on

Their website is at

To view our Otter Watch diary click here

'The otter frequents Steam Mills Lake and has been here to my knowledge for approximately one year.

I was clearing the stream that feeds the lake as a participant in one of the work parties that the Forest of Dean Angling Club organise throughout the year. I noticed the paw prints in February 2006 and searched for spraint which I discovered.Soon after we found evidence of fish kills and that that several of the fishing platforms that we installed were being used to open mussels, the shells and small stones being left after the meal!

I believe that 'he' has made his way here from the Wye via the inlet stream that originates from the upper Drybrook/Mitcheldean area.  We had seen mink here on odd occaisons over the last 10 years and thought that perhaps this was the culprit. The Otter has been seen twice but not to my knowledge in the last 3-4 months. The club has a match at Steam Mills this Sunday and I shall both enquire if he has been seen and look for evidence.If I become aware of his presence no doubt it will be of interest to your team. 

The angling club, of which I am a committee member, has been engaged in promoting the biodiversity of the waters under our control and we regularly stock the lakes and maintain the surroundings at our own cost both in time and money. I regard Steam Mills as a huge success, we now see Kingfishers as well as Heron and have a thriving population of Wild Brown Trout that use the feeder stream to breed. Last year I discovered a Badgers sett extremely close by. It may seem strange to the lay person but as anglers I suppose we tend to take these things for granted and without realising do our best to improve the environment for the fish which also has a knock on effect for the general biodiversity of the area.

The club has become a member of the Brown Trout Trust and are actively promoting the Environment Agency Brown Trout Strategy, we are also working with the Agency to promote the biodiversity of the area.' 


Dry Stone Walling - January 2007

A tuition day to learn the arts of dry stone walling was taught on 23 January 2007 at the Buckstone on Staunton Meend. Mr Chris Hodges gave us instruction and the results can be viewed here and he can be contacted on

To see the Dry Stone Walling diary click here





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