Places to see birds


Gavin Black

Nagshead, near Parkend in the Forest of Dean, is home to possibly the oldest nestbox scheme in the country. It was started by the Forestry Commission in 1942 to encourage Pied Flycatchers as a way to control caterpillars. The caterpillars of the Oak Tortrix or Oak Leaf Roller Moth and, to some extent, the Winter Moth, were sometimes so numerous that they could completely denude mature Oaks of their foliage preventing any growth for the year.
Sadly there are no longer caterpillars in any significant numbers and the number of Pied Flycatchers is also much reduced. There are now over 400 nestboxes and this is still the county's best place to see the Pied Flycatcher alongside two other specialist migrants, the Redstart and the Wood Warbler.
A walk through the woods is always a pleasant experience and there is always the possibility of a chance encounter with a Hawfinch, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Spotted Flycatcher (summer) or Crossbill. You may even see a family group of Wild Boar with their humbug-striped boarlets.
See our LINKS page for more details.
Nagshead is found off the Parkend to Coleford road and is sign posted. Drive up the forestry access road to the car park at SO 606085