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Wildlife at Colby Woodland Garden

A close-up of the hands of a child holding a small brown frog in the garden at The Argory, County Armagh.
Child holding a small frog, Colby Woodland Garden, Wales | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Binoculars at the ready, Colby Woodland Garden is wonderful for wildlife spotting with creatures great and small calling the wooded valley home. Take a walk through the woods and see how many you can see.

Wildlife to spot at Colby Woodland Garden

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.

If you look closely and you might meet the locals.

A dipper, which has chocolate-brown feathers on its back and a white breast, is perched on a lichen covered rock beside rippling water.
Dipper on a rock | © National Trust Images/Richard Bradshaw

Birds to see at Colby

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.

Spot a wagtail

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 horseshoe bats 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.

Common darter dragonfly on blade of grass at Croome, Worcestershire
Dragonflies are often seen during the summer months at Colby Woodland Garden | © National Trust Images/Tracey Blackwell


Creepy crawlies are all over the place, search under stones, in the mud and banks of fallen trees.

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 also see them in the damper areas of grassland. Lift logs carefully and see what you find. Toads, spiders and maybe even a grass snake might be underneath.

Helping nature at Colby Woodland Garden

Colby is a haven for flora and fauna, supporting a wide range of habitats including grassland, ponds and woodland. We want to keep it that way, so our team of gardeners and volunteers are hard at work making sure they remain in tip-top condition.

Wildflower meadow

We allow the grass in the meadow to grow tall, only cutting it when the flowers have set seed. This means that it's rich in wildflowers and butterflies and you might also discover field mice, voles, frogs and toads.

A young boy is smiling and swinging on a tree rope swing at Colby Woodland Garden, Pembrokeshire as two other children watch him.


Everyone needs nature, now more than ever. Donate today and you could help people and nature to thrive at the places we care for.

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