The Forest of Dean covers an area of about 100 square kilometres and is England’s second largest expanse of ancient woodland. From our comfortable hotel base in the heart of the forest, we will make daily walks exploring the surrounding trails during the day, and on one evening head out in search of Wild Boar! During our March holiday, we will hope to see flocks of Siskin and Redpoll as well as Brambling and one of the stars of the forest the Hawfinch. Mandarin Duck and Goosander should be present and we’ll also look for Dippers on the rivers. In May the woodlands are home to Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Redstarts and Wood Warblers along with many other species. We’ll look for these and visit a clearing at dusk to look - and listen for - Nightjars. Whichever time of year you choose, this is sure to be a memorable birding break!
We are offering this holiday at 2 contrasting times of year: March & May
Hawfinch possible on both tours (more likely in March)
Redpoll, Siskin, Crossbill and Brambling all possible
Look for declining species such as Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
In March, see Goshawks doing territorial displays
Birds of prey in the forest including breeding Peregrines
Listen for ‘churring’ of Nightjars during a dusk excursion (May trip)
Led by expert naturalist guide
Breakfasts and evening meals are included in the holiday cost beginning with the evening meal on Day 1 and finishing with breakfast on Day 3. Lunches are not included in the cost of this tour.
Comfortable hotel with private facilities throughout.
Day 2/3 Explore the Forest of Dean
Situated in west Gloucestershire, and bordered by the river Wye and the Severn, the Forest of Dean is England’s second largest expanse of ancient woodland. The forest — a magnificent mix of Oak, Beech, Hornbeam and other species, both deciduous and coniferous — covers an area of over 100 square kilometres and is home to an exciting variety of birds, rare butterflies and other wildlife.
This new short break focuses on the special birds and other natural history of the forest at two contrasting times of the year: winter and spring. We will be based at a comfortable hotel in the heart of the forest, from where we will make daily walks to explore the surrounding trails. Our focus will primarily be on the forest’s special birdlife, though there will be an opportunity to head out after dark one evening to look for the Wild Boar which inhabit these beautiful woodlands — an encounter with one of these impressive mammals is always memorable!
During the winter and in early spring, large flocks of Siskins and Redpolls can often be heard ‘chattering’ amongst rows of Alders, and flocks of Brambling can be found. We will also look for Mandarin Ducks and Goosander on a nearby lake ... and for Dippers on the rivers. We will be hoping, too, to see such sought-after species as Crossbill and Hawfinch, along with such declining species as Willow Tit and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.
As well as a comprehensive selection of commoner birds of prey in the forest, there is also a healthy population of Goshawks, which we will look out for in March when they should be displaying high above their territories; nearby, we will also look for breeding Peregrines. At the time of our late spring visit in May, the woodlands are home to both Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Wood Warblers and Redstarts among many other species. Firecrests are also now breeding in the forest, and good numbers of Nightjars may be found in clearings — a dusk excursion to listen to the incredible ‘churring’ of the latter is likely to be one of the highlights of this birding break!
Utterly brilliant leaders. Marcus was superb and so was Greg. It's the best Naturetrek trip I've ever been on. The Forest of Dean is magical.
Good variety of habitats. Level of information given was excellent -not too much detail unless requested. Very good introduction talk. Leaders worked well with hotel staff and position of the hotel in the forest was excellent.
Good flexible itinerary and good mix of sites. Pleased to have reasonable amount of walking and not just getting in and out of vehicle. The leaders complimented each other well and worked well with the group.
I thought it was well organised with plenty of field time and the hotel/dining worked well. I enjoyed a new to me part of the country and seeing the wildlife, especially the Two-barred Crossbill and Firecrest.
The guides had an excellent knowledge of the local birds and their calls.
Both leaders really new where to take us to maximise time spent looking at birds. Knowledge great. I learnt lots and saw birds previously unknown!
The whole period had been carefully planned to cover all areas, whilst still flexible enough to cope with any necessary changes and to allow time to cover birds still outstanding.
A well organised weekend with excellent leaders who tried hard to find difficult species, based on good local knowledge. A good range of habitats visited. I feel that I really know the Forest of Dean and its wildlife now.
Both Tom and Greg worked very hard and diligently. Their expertise and communication skills were excellent. Very cheerful and helpful. Their efforts are very much appreciated and "made" the holiday.