Tour At A Glance





Single Room Supplement:


Tour Code:

Intermediate with flexible finish times. Up to 5 miles walking per day

Group Size:

Eight plus Leader

Common Crossbill Great White Egret Northern Goshawk

Somerset Levels & The Forest of Dean

Date: 14th - 18th March 2022 (SPACES)
Leaders: Paul Roberts




This exciting tour covers two highly contrasting and productive areas of habitat; firstly the extensive and varied woodlands of Gloucestershire’s Forest of Dean, followed by the vast marshes of the Somerset Levels, rapidly gaining a reputation as a prime UK birding destination. The Forest of Dean is characterised by over 110 square kilometres of mixed woodland, one of the surviving ancient woodlands of England. Here the main focus will be a variety of woodland birds, including desirable species such as Hawfinch, Common Crossbill and Firecrest, while Great Grey Shrike is possible. The forest is an excellent area for Northern Goshawks, which we will hope to see in display. Waterbirds may include Mandarin Duck, Dipper and Goosander. Nesting Peregrines should be viewable from the watch point at Symonds Yat, just outside the Forest proper. The Somerset Levels is sparsely populated lowland grazing marsh system holding one of the most important inland wetland landscapes in Britain. An extensive network of recently created reserves in areas formerly dug for peat has developed into a fabulous birding resource. The area holds the largest concentration of breeding Bitterns (over 30 'booming' males) and Great White Egrets in Britain, with Cattle Egret also likely. The number of wildfowl here is impressive and the reeds should hold noisy Cetti's Warblers, 'pinging' Bearded Tits and quartering Marsh Harriers. Freshwater drains support Otter families and at dusk the skies are transformed by swarming Common Starlings coming in to roost. In addition, we can hope for the first spring migrants, which could include Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Garganey, Common Chiffchaff and Blackcap. A stop between the two principal area at Goldcliff Lagoons should see us add Pied Avocet and a host of other shorebirds to our trip list. The terrain is mostly easy and you can expect to walk approximately four miles per day on good paths. Your tour leader will be Paul Roberts and you can expect to see approximately 110 species.


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