Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean


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(To see previous News page - up to 2011)

April 2012

Moseley Green - Result!

Here we have a lovely display of Marsh Marigolds taken at the pond at Moseley Green on 13 April 2012. The Dean Green Team had cleared this little pond and the surrounding shading trees on the 14th Feb 2012. The abundance of life and flora in this pond is now evident.




March 2012

The Cyril Hart Arboretum

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 -



Adders at New Fancy View

In November 2009 we were asked to clear an area at New Fancy View in the hope that adders would use it to bask in rather than on the track. We are pleased to report that last summer four adders were seen on the same day, all basking in this new area. The original report can be seen here Click Here


January 2012

Forest Review

We were interviewed by Sarah Daly from the Forest Review and the article can be read here Click Here



December 2011

Forest Forum

Forest of Dean Winter Forum – 7 December 2011

Thirty four people were in attendance representing other interests within the Forest district.  Kevin Stannard, Deputy Surveyor, was the main speaker.

Conservation Proposals:

Consultations are in progress with reference to a trial grazing proposals in Crabtree Hill which it is proposed to return to a heathland site;  Clearwell Meend is a community site and the most controversial and Mosely Green, which would be the easiest site to manage.  The impacts and benefits of these proposals need discussions and agreements would need to be sought with local neighbours and the graziers, HM Verderers and Enclosure  Commissioners  because of proposed fence lines.  The project is moving forward, but a long way to putting up the first fence.  Cattle and ponies have different methods of feeding to sheep and when the land has been cleared the sheep will be returned.  Hardy breeds of animals are needed for this job.  The FC is to inherit 80 long horn cattle, which are to be run as a commercial venture.

The FC wants to work with the commoners to bring in new younger sheep badgers to run sheep and cattle to keep the tradition of grazing in the forest.

Wild Boar Management:

The revised draft plan is in its final stage and is now with HM Verderers for their approval. The target to cull 150 was achieved in September, plus 6 road kill accidents. The cull figure was set in March based on the best survey available, but the FC does not know for sure how many boars are at large within the forest.  Using night vision survey equipment, the first run through has been completed.  The conclusion is that this survey technique system is not working, as only 16 have been detected this way.  Two more surveys are to be completed, but  the scientists say this system is not appropriate for surveying the wild boar! The current estimate is that there is between 300 and 350, although this number is strongly disputed by many and the population can treble every year. The FC is committed to transparency on this issue and an independent observer joined the survey in November.  The results will be made public once the three surveys have been completed.  The FC wants to manage the numbers so that the forest community do not suffer excessively by their presence.

Recreation Strategy:

There are 150 car parking areas in the Forest, but only Mallards Pike, Beechenhurst, Cannock Ponds and Symonds Yat have parking areas to be paid for.  Wenchford will also be added to this list, as toilets are provided and have to be maintained.  There is an urgent need to get people to spend more money in the forest.  There is discussion as to which areas do the FC invest in to employ people to encourage tourism?  The signage at hub sites is to be refreshed as there are benefits of joining up the different marketing brands.   This will be undertaken by the FC design team, thus avoiding expensive consultancy costs.

FC Reorganization:

Reorganization has been necessary to meet the financial challenge the Government has set the FC.  By 2015 the scale, remit and approach has to fit the amount of money the FC have in the future.  Funding has been reduced by 25%.  2010/11 there were 872 full time employees; in 2012/15 this will  be reduced to 661 by reducing management and admin staff.  West England Forest District will be born on 2 April 2012, from Birmingham and Shrewbury to Land’s End.  The main office will be based in Coleford with a sub-office in Exeter. 

Open Forum:

The meeting was then opened to the floor when further discussions took place on the above subjects.



March 2011

Badger Surveying

A few members of the team went out to do a badger survey with the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT). The GWT are surveying all their reserves so that they have an accurate assessment of badger setts on their sites and can appraise the situation regarding bovine TB. We visited three local reserves and were recording the setts in grades of live setts (with latrines, clear badger paths and open holes), semi used setts and old setts (which could be used by foxes or rabbits). We found many setts on all the sites, took a GPS reading for their locations and took photographs.


The GPS equipment outside a badger sett recording the ordinance survey co-ordinate





This is a badger skull we found by one of the setts. The large canine teeth are clearly seen.





Truly wild daffodils growing in one of the woods where we did our badger surveying.



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.


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