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A guide to the magnificent wildlife in the Forest of Dean

Posted on 26th January 2016

Nestled between two great rivers, the Severn and the Wye, the Forest of Dean is home to a multitude of bustling wildlife all year round. As well as being a perfect landscape for walkers, the climate and variety of plants attract a range of animals and insects to the area.

With spring just around the corner and people starting to plan breaks away to holiday cottages in the Forest of Dean, it is the perfect time to capture the start of this year’s wildlife bloom.

Birdsong

Up in the canopy of the Forest of Dean and nestling between the branches of magnificent trees are a great number of our common feathered friends such as the chaffinch, robin and jay. Look and listen carefully and you may hear the piercing call of a buzzard or a nuthatch searching the tree trunks for small insects in the bark.

Buzzard

Image Credit: Susanne Nilsson (Flickr.com)

Deer

One of the most magnificent animals to grace the forest floor is the deer. Many that roam the Forest of Dean are the commonly known fallow deer, and with spring providing the most fruitful months for the deer, they will be starting to grow new antlers to prepare them for the physical challenges against other males in the autumn. It has been known for packs of up to 50 fallow deer to graze on the natural treats of The Forest of Dean during early morning or dusk. Certainly an amazing spectacle for anyone who happens to cross their rarely seen path.

Fallow Deer

Image Credit: Bart van Dorp (flickr.com)

Butterfly

Over 30 indigenous species of butterfly spread their patterned wings, including the purple hairstreak, grizzled skipper and the white admiral. As well as building natural habitats around the forest itself, most butterflies can be seen in and around the hills of Symonds Yat where the Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo is located.

Butterfly

Image Credit: Conal Gallagher (flickr.com)

Golden-Ringed Dragonfly

During the last month of spring you can see the natural beauty of the golden-ringed dragonfly. With its piercingly bright yellow ringed tail, it is most commonly found in acidic streams flowing through moor and heathland. They feed on large insects such as their own species, the dragonfly, as well as wasps, bumblebees and beetles. Like the other species of dragonfly, they are very agile, powerful flyers. So even though the eye-popping colour might get you feeling lucky, be quick, as they won’t be around for long!

Golden-ringed Dragonfly

Image Credit: Ferran Pestana (flickr.com)

Barn Owl

Regular sightings of this most loved bird of prey have been recorded within the tree-hugging boundaries of the area, an unusual sight for your average visitor. You would probably expect to see the barn owl in the open countryside, hunting on prey down on the ground, but recently the magnificent animal has been sighted in meadows in the area over the last few months. A great spectacle if you happen to be staying in the Forest of Dean for a relaxing cottage holiday!

Barn Owl

Image Credit: Ronnie Macdonald  (flickr.com)