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A guide to wildlife in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley

Posted on 15th November 2014

The Forest of Dean is famous for its great walks and outdoor activities, but something that is often underrated is its wildlife.

People staying in scenic Forest of Dean holiday cottages will soon realise that the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean wildlife scene is vibrant with a variety of different wild animals and plants species.

Here we take you through some of the animals and plants that you might be able to see during your trip.

Wild Boar

Image Credits: Algy O’Connell (flickr.com)

Just after 1254 it is thought that wild boar became extinct in the UK, but back in the 1970s wild boar farming became popular and it is during this time that it is thought the animal was either released or escaped. This has meant that wild boar now roam the entire Forest of Dean and Wye Valley region.

Although an interesting animal, if you do come across any wild boar during a walk then you should not feed them or approach them. If you have a dog you should call it and put it on a lead to stop it chasing any wild boar.

Ferns

Ferns crave damp and shady conditions and that makes the thriving woodland of the Forest of Dean a prime location for the plant. Types of fern that can be found in the forest include; hard and soft shield, male, lady, harts tongue, broad buckler, narrow buckler, hard fern, spleenworts and polypody.

Deer

Image Credits: Kumweni (flickr.com)

If you are camping, caravanning or staying in holiday cottages in the Forest of Dean, then one of the most likely sightings of an animal you will see is deer.

The fallow deer are the main species of deer that you will see and they have lived in the region since Norman times, but now the Wildlife Trust has reported that Red Deer and Roe Deer are present in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley. Check out their Wildlife Species A to Z for more info about deer and other wildlife you can see in Gloucestershire.

The best time to see deer is either early morning or at dusk as deer often lay in undergrowth during the day.

Sheep

The Royal Forest of Dean is also famous for its huge population of free roaming sheep, which include Welsh Mountain, Speckled Faced and Cheviots breeds.

Flocks of sheep have been around for years in the forest and will continue to do so for many more.

Oak Trees

The ancient Oak Trees are found throughout the Forest of Dean. While the Oak trees were used to build boats to fight against the Spanish Armada in the past they now act as a home to birds, insects and other animals.

Badgers

Badgers also live in the Forest of Dean, but unlike the other animals of this list you are unlikely to see them as they only come out after sunset to feed.

Bluebell Woods

Image Credits: Stuart Richards (flickr.com)

In terms of the Forest of Dean’s flora, the Forest of Deans Bluebell Woods are one of the most impressive sights in the whole forest, which is why they are a popular destination for people doing wildlife photography.

The best time to see the woodlands transform into soft carpets of bluebells is in May.

Small animals

The Forest of Dean is also home to a number of small animals such as hedgehogs, grey squirrels, voles, several species of bats and dormice.

Foxes

Image Credits: Zaytsev Artem (flickr.com)

Another commonly seen animal in the Forest of Dean is the fox, although the majority of sightings come at night or dusk. Foxes are seen throughout the year and throughout the entire forest.