Other Wildlife in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley
Small animals find shelter in the trees and hedgerows here including grey squirrels, voles, hedgehogs, foxes and dormice. Badgers centre their life around their underground home or sett, emerging after sunset for food.
The Forest of Dean is famous for its large population of free roaming sheep derived from many breeds and include Welsh mountain, speckled faced or cheviots with the occasional kerry or ryeland. "Sheep Badgers" is a Forest term for the residents who have ancient rights to graze sheep freely. The sheep have been around for hundreds of years and are likely to continue to be part of the Forest scenery. See them especially around Parkend where they enjoy the cooling dry stone walls.
Our local wildlife trusts have a series of introduced wildlife to improve conservation including grazing and flood defences:
- Two beavers were introduced to Greathough Brook in Lydbrook in 2018 in an innovative project to see if they would help with local flood defences. Find out more here.
- Exmoor ponies, English longhorn cattle and Highland cattle have been introduced at several reserves in the Forest of Dean including Woorgreens and Tidenham Chase. Find out more here.
- Pine martens were introduced in 2019 by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust in the centre of the Forest of Dean. It is very unlikely you will see any! Find out more here.
There are several species of bats recorded within the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley and they are protected. The pipistrelle, noctule and long-eared bat are the most common species, and the lesser and greater horseshoe bat can be seen too. They will come out at dusk and can be seen flitting through the air catching bugs. Visit Clearwell Caves to find out about their bat project.
The Forest of Dean and Wye Valley is home to over thirty different species of butterfly. Specialities include the 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. Wildlife reserves are excellent for butterfly spotting but you can also see many across the whole area especially in spring.
The large oaks of the Forest of Dean individually can support up to 300 different insects and their old hollow branches and trunks are nest sites to many generations of tawny owls and woodpeckers who thrive on the large insect population.