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Wildlife in the Forest of Dean

You won’t find a B&B with closer proximity to RSPB Nagshead nature reserve than Edale House! Birdwatchers, wildlife photographers and nature enthusiasts love staying with us for this very reason and come back time and time again.

At Nagshead, short (1 mile) and long (2.25 miles) nature trail walks are available and are clearly signposted. There are two hides in woodland situations overlooking ponds and deer and boar are seen here regularly as well as a huge range of birds and insects. There are also information boards with recent sightings and locations which are incredibly helpful.


The Forest of Dean contains most British nesting birds, dippers which nest in the banks and bridges of our streams and the pied flycatcher which nests in natural cavities of the older oaks and readily takes to nest boxes. Buzzards are often seen circling overhead as well as Peregrine Falcons which are often seen at Symonds Yat, goshawks, red kites and other birds of prey.

Birdwatching Nagshead RSPB Reserve Forest of Dean

Deer and Wild Boar

In Norman times, the Forest was protected as a games reserve where red, roe and fallow deer and wild boar were hunted. In medieval times, boar from the Forest were supplied for the King’s table. Early morning or dusk is the time when you are most likely to see deer in the Forest as during the day, they lay up in the undergrowth. Boar became extinct by the 14th century, and so did the wolf, their natural predator. Today, fallow and roe deer can often be spotted and seen throughout the year. In 1999 boar escaped, or were released, from a farm in the Forest and the population quickly grew. Boar are now feral throughout the Forest area and although they are normally secretive, and largely nocturnal, they can be seen from time to time. Spring is a particularly special time with the baby boar, or humbugs in the Forest. It is advised never to approach boar and to keep dogs on leads in deep woods especially during breeding time.

Wildlife Forest of Dean


The Forest has a large population of free roaming sheep derived from many breeds and include welsh mountain, speckled face or cheviots with the occasional kerry or ryeland. You will see these by the side of the roads around Parkend, and sometimes on them!

A Huge Variety of Wildlife

Smaller animals shelter in the trees and pastures in the Forest of Dean including grey squirrels, voles, hedgehogs, foxes, badgers and dormice. There are several species of bats recorded within the Forest of Dean district and they are protected. The pipistrelle, noctule and long-eared bat are the most common species.

The large oaks of the Forest of Dean individually can support up to 300 different insects and their old hollow branches and trunks have been nest sites to many generations of tawny owls and woodpeckers.

The Forest is home to over thirty different species of butterfly. Specialities include purple hairstreak, white admiral, silver washed fritillary, grizzled skipper and wood white, while open areas support small copper, marbled white, small heath and common blue.

The Forest of Dean is famous for its wildlife. Miles of forest walks and trails offer an ideal opportunity to discover the amazing flora and fauna that inhabit the Forest. Bring your binoculars! The Forest is quite literally teaming with wildlife.

Birdwatching in the Forest of Dean