A family of wild boar on a forest track
Wild swans and cygnets on the Cannop ponds
Meadows of wild daffodils in April
"Ping-pong" our resident Serotine bat sunbathing in the wall.

Where are the wild boar? 

If you are coming to the Forest hoping to see our famous wildlife we'll do our best to help and point you in the right direction and give tips on when and where to go for your best chance of seeing the wild deer, boar and badgers. 

The wild boar visit our orchard when food in the Forest is in short supply, and other regular visitors and residents include green woodpeckers, a nuthatch, robins and wrens and a variety of garden birds.  A family of  buzzards are always circling overhead and we often see other raptors - red kites, sparrowhawks and even peregrine falcons have been spotted. Owls live in the nearby woods, and can be heard calling and screeching as darkness falls.  In summer swallows and martins nest in the eves, and there are always bats on summer evenings.

The duck pond attracts frogs, toads and newts as well as some beautiful dragonflies, and the brook is populated by Brown trout - it is also a salmon-run, and I have seen fish leaping the waterfall, a delight of step-sitting on Gypsy Rose on a bright November morning!  Of course, predators like the heron, kingfisher and otters are attracted by the fish, and it is usual for Mr Heron to do a morning and evening low fly-past along the valley, often with a stop just downstream of the waterfall, or to see a flash of bright blue from the kingfisher near the brook or even perching near the duck pond.   Otters and the other nocturnal visitors -badgers and hedgehogs - are not so easy to see but you never know... We certainly have a fox, so our hens and ducks go to bed from dusk till dawn, and food is not left out overnight.

The big walnut tree and nearby hazel trees ensure the squirrel population thrives, and you'll almost certainly see those cheeky creatures. I am always hopeful that water voles will make their homes near the brook, but have yet to see one.

Slimbridge WWT is 4 miles as the Bewick Swan flies, so it's no surprise to see all kinds of migratory birds overhead, or simply stroll down to the banks of the Severn and watch them feeding on the sandbanks and mudflats at low tide.   

Of course, with wildlife nothing can be  guaranteed.  However, it is unusual not to see deer on a drive through the woods especially in Autumn, when the leaves have fallen and the rut has begun.  Lately Muntjack have been thriving in the Forest, and I have seen one just up the road a few hundred yards near Wenchford.

The Forest teems with wildlife - from humble voles to slow-worms and glow-worms, deer and wild boar, close encounters with wildlife are the 'norm' in the Forest of Dean.  We even have a resident "Beast" - a panther-like black cat which is frequently reported in the local press, and definitely not nocturnal!

In Spring, tiny wild daffodils carpet meadows in gold for a few weeks in March, wild garlic covers the woodland floor to the east, and the bluebell woods above Wenchford bring visitors and photographers by the coachload.  The beautiful azaleas and rhododendrons in Lydney park put on a splendid show for a few weeks each year - well worth a visit. And as soon as the first frosts turn the leaves in Autumn the Forest becomes a blaze of colour - just the time for a fungi-foraging expedition!

Forest Enterprise - the custodians of the Forest of Dean - run regular safaris for wildlife-lovers and would-be foragers.

In winter, with the abscence of leaves, wildlife is easier to see.  Roads are quieter, so animals venture out more readily in broad daylight.  The Forest becomes a winter wonderland in the snow - well worth a trip for keen photographers with sturdy boots and a spirit of adventure!

*We do NOT feed or encourage boar or deer into the garden or provide hides (we don't need to, when they are here you can see them by looking over the wall!)  Sightings of all wildlife depend upon conditions, time of year, your skill and pure luck.

With only a few small streetlights dotted along the valley we enjoy a "dark sky" environment, ideal for star-gazing. On a clear evening the Milky Way forms an arc across the sky and the familiar constellations of Orion, Pleiades, the Plough and Cassiopeia are easy to spot, with the ISS making regular pass-overs. Meteor showers can be spectacular on clear nights - worth taking a sun lounger onto the terrace for a good view of shooting stars. Blakeney Hill to the north blocks a really good view of an Aurora Borealis from here, but the strongest auroras have been enjoyed from the top of the hill, so worth keeping an eye on the forecast and making the short trip up the road when conditions are favourable.

With the Severn Vale to the east and the Forest to the west we are blessed with spectacular sun (and moon) rises and sunsets, sunshine all day long on fine days and clear, dark starry skies by night. Pull up a chair, or in Gypsy Rose just open the window, sit up in bed and Enjoy!


                Email us Theapplestoreatmaytree@gmail.com