Meet Colby's local wildlife

A baby frog resting on a visitor's hand

Binoculars at the ready, Colby’s wonderful for wildlife with creatures great and small calling the wooded valley home.

The wildflower meadow with its network of streams and ponds is a popular spot with all sorts of species including birds, toads and even the occasional otter.

Within the woodland itself you’ll find fascinating fauna like rare wood warblers and, if you’re lucky, Bechstein’s bats.

All you need to do is look closely and you might meet the locals…


Dippers are familiar faces at Colby. The water birds feed on caddis fly larvae, tiny molluscs and fish eggs, and they operate along the entire length of the stream. You may hear their high-pitched call and catch sight of them speeding along close to the water. They perch on stones and bob before plunging into the water.

Grey wagtails don't plunge into the water like dippers, but flit about chasing insects among the stones. They're easy to see, with their long tails and lemon-yellow underparts.


Lesser horseshoes live in the old buildings around the Bothy Tea-room and lots of bats also use the old mine shafts and holes in the woodland’s trees.

A rare Bechstein's bat was found in the woods in 2009, before that the nearest sighting of the species was in the Forest of Dean.

Spot dragonflies and lots of other insects in the wildflower meadow
Dragonfly in Colby's wildflower meadow
Spot dragonflies and lots of other insects in the wildflower meadow


Creepy crawlies are all over the place, search under stones, in the mud and banks of fallen trees. Join in with a mini-beast safari and explore Colby’s nooks and corners.

There are plenty of grassland butterflies and dragonflies flitting about the meadow too; they’re a flurry of colour in the summer.


You’ll need to be nocturnal to spot an otter at Colby as we know from their droppings or 'spraints' that they pass through the garden on a nightly basis. Look for spraints on stones or along the banks.

Reptiles and amphibians

Frogs spawn in the stream, but you'll see them in the damper areas of grassland. We leave a few sheets of tin around the meadow – lift these carefully and see what you find. Toads and maybe even a grass snake might be underneath.

Or borrow one of our nets and go pond dipping, there’s a whole water world waiting to be explored.