Wednesday 1 October 2014


I don't know Max Coborn that well, only having ever met him twice. 
From his past media articles he always came over as level headed, unbiased and respectful and I always held a lot of respect for him, for this. 
However, the recent article in a local newspaper left me shocked to think that it had actually come from the pen of the Mayor of Cinderford.
Yes newspapers can and usually do edit and misquote, but I have the feeling that Mr. Coborn would not have been misquoted due to his status in the area and probably having read over the letter before it went to print, if it had been edited.

Here is the link to Mr. Coborn's letter...

CLICK HERE - Also below...

If anyone is misguided Mr. Coborn it is sadly you as only this week, globally released statistics have shown that our "global" wildlife species have plummeted by 50% in the last 40 years.

What does this tell us? 
As you obviously (as well as everyone else involved with and backing the NQ) can't grasp this fact, then I shall explain for you.

It has taken just 40 years for billions of trillions of animals to perish at the hands of humans due to deforestation, encroachment, poisoning, hunting and pollution.
Northern may seem like a pin prick in comparison to the world, even the UK, but if we keep chipping away at our forest we will be no better than the people who are destroying the rain forests of the world and polluting our rivers, seas and oceans.

Northern is home to the following.

Great crested newt
Smooth/palmate newt
Grass snake
Common lizard
Bats - Including rare and EU protected species
Hawfinch - Including other rare birds
Many rare insects including rare butterflies

Imagine if we took this stance with every area in the Forest of Dean and also imagine if the proposed development was passed without objection?
We love our forest and like the HOOF campaign, we will stand up for it as if we don't we will have no forest left.
Yes the area requires help and regeneration, but to be blinded by money and to destroy an area, which should actually be a nature reserve is foolish.
We need to protect areas like Northern and work to maintain them, not flatten them as by far, this is one of the most bio-diverse areas in the entire Forest of Dean for habitats and wildlife.

Please see below if you can't view the link above.

I have decided to write this letter to do with the Northern Quarter.
I have never heard so much misinformation about a project which would bring a brand new college to the Forest of Dean, not just Cinderford.
Without it being built there will be no college in the Forest at all and our youth will have to travel to Gloucester. That is a fact.
We need the housing, we need the jobs and this development will bring all this for people in the Forest instead of having to travel outside and you know what that means, just look at the A40 and A48 roads in the morning.
We need the planned by-pass to take the lorries and traffic away from the school at Steam Mills where I am a governor. The school supports the Northern Quarter project.
We have been lucky no-one has been killed outside the school – I just hope our luck holds up and we get to see the by-pass built soon.
When I was a boy I used to play in that area, where the trains used to run up and down and the brickworks was going full pelt and it was all wasteland.
The funny thing is that at that time wildlife was abundant with more rare birds, butterflies, frogs, newts, etc.
This has always stuck in my mind because I actually did a project at school on that area.
Then over the years, everything has grown over and a lot of the birds, butterflies etc have moved on from what I have seen.
Now let’s talk about what is going on. We have got bats in that area, so they have built bat roosts for them – little bungalows for them – three in number built and so good it’s a wonder some Cinderford residents haven’t moved in.
Ants have been surveyed, fingertips searches for newts and frogs, butterflies, etc – all this work has been done, which is of course, a good thing.
Considering what has been said about the project cutting down the woods of Cinderford, killing all wildlife, that you can’t build on it because of the underground lagoon, the next thing no doubt will be the lost world of Cinderford with dinosaurs and cavemen and women.
The only dinosaurs in the Forest are the people who oppose this project.
Nearly half of Cinderford is built over mines, my house is. In Wales and the Midlands they have taken the money and built over their coalfields.
I am a builder – you can build on any ground conditions these days and this is the last area of land that can be developed in Cinderford.
After this there is no more land to develop.
I ask these objectors where are future jobs coming from? What happens when the college goes back to Gloucester and our children have to travel to Gloucester every day – do they even care?
The Forest of Dean will just become one big retirement home with all our young people leaving. There is nothing to keep them here – it is so sad.
I have three children aged 15, 11 and six. Is there a future for them in the Forest? Not if the Dean Natural Alliance get its way. No Forest of Dean college, the loss of 1500 jobs and affordable housing.
Let’s put another thing right about what these people have been saying – that the money could be spent elsewhere in the Forest.
Well the fact is if the money is not spent on the Northern Quarter it will spent in another part of the country and it will be lost forever to the people of the Forest of Dean.
I love wildlife but we must have a balance. The way things are going, the only rare species will be children – loads of wildlife but no children.
I and my fellow councillors try to do our best for the people of the Forest Of Dean. We need local jobs, need affordable housing, need the new college, need good roads and Cinderford needs another supermarket to have more competition in the town.
This is a working Forest, not a museum as some people seem to want.
All I want is a future for our children.
– Cllr Max Coborn (Lab), Forest of Dean District Council, Cinderford East.

Thursday 7 August 2014

Butterflies, Dragons & Everything Else

Ragwort; disliked by some as they see it as a serious weed. 
Also, people who own horses dislike this plant and for good reason as it is poisonous to horses.
However, if managed it is not a problem and in the forest and countryside, where this plant is relatively harmless it has some fantastic benefits.

If you want to see or photograph a huge array of different insect species then look no further than this bright yellow wildflower as nearly every insect imaginable swarms around ragwort to feed on it.

So the next time you see ragwort, don't look on it as a weed, look on it as a vital source of food for our many thousands of insects and stop to check out the activity.

Click on images for larger view.

Common Blue


Southern Hawker

Golden ringed

Green Veined White

Meadow Brown

Small Copper

Clouded Yellow

Common Blue



Fallow Deer

Common Lizard

Fallow Deer

Candid Fallow Deer

Fallow Deer

Hornet Moth

Hornet Moth

Poplar Hawk Moth

Poplar Hawk Moth

Poplar Hawk Moth

Tuesday 8 July 2014

2015 Charity Wildlife & Nature Calendar

I am pleased to announce that along with a good friend, Scott Passmore, I can now bring you our 2015 Charity Wildlife & Nature Calendar.

The following charities will benefit from "100% of all profits."

Macmillan Cancer Support
Vale Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre
Animal Rescue

Please click HERE for details and to order.

Or copy this link into your browser

Tuesday 17 June 2014

June Wildlife

Some images from my travels around the Forest of Dean, so far during the month of June.

Wild boar
Roe deer
Fallow deer


Wild boar

Tortoiseshell butterfly

Roe deer (doe)


Male broad bodied chaser

Four spotted dragonfly

Fallow deer (doe)

Emperor dragonfly

Common lizard

Wild boar

Wild boar sow

Wild boar sow

Juvenile wrens

Juvenile wrens

Wild boar

Monday 2 June 2014

May Wildlife

A few snaps from wandering the forest over the last month or so.

It's all coming alive out there and I've been making the most of it. 

Also check out my "Snakes in the Forest of Dean" blog for my latest snake sightings and work for GlosARG. I will be updating it today.

Click HERE