Nagshead is one of several hills in the Forest of Dean, carefully hidden from
idle eyes by the extensive tree growth. It doesn't exactly make the hill look flat; it just means that the extent of the
hill isn't obvious while on it and from anyone trying to look at it from a distance is probably also somewhere in the Forest
amongst its scenery-hiding flora. It's a bit of a case of not being able to see the wood for the trees.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has set up a reserve in Nagshead
for the protection of (primarily, and funnily enough) birds. It's a good sort of location for a reserve, being in a
quiet part of the Forest - on the other side to Bream of a fairly well-used road, not the obvious direction to go
in from Parkend and outside the main Severn & Wye Railway loop. In the reserve are several paths and various "interpretation"
opportunities - mostly taking the form of a series of small question boards mounted on posts, each carrying the answer from
the previous post. (At least, it's the previous answer for people going around in the correct direction. Those going around
in the wrong direction can play "If this is the answer, what is the question?" for several posts through the depths of the reserve.)
As well as the birds, the RSPB like to advertise the deer (who are shy, and usually run away
if they see anyone) and the fungi (which, left to themselves, like the dark mossy forest floor). The place is also well populated with bracken, which
is less nature-reserve-y but seems to like it there. The Gloucestershire Way passes through, allowing everyone to appreciate the
benefits of these wild places while engaging in a long-distance walk which otherwise often ends up in agricultural country.
Also appreciating the reserve, as can be seen in the photo amongst the fauna-hiding flora, are a population of wild boar. Ancestors
of the modern domestic pig, the boar have tough black hair, short backs (not so good for pork chop production), alert ears, a fondness for
frequent mud-baths and a remarkable turn
of speed for such an ungainly-looking animal. The RSPB is not sufficiently proud of them to advertise their presence. This particular example was however distracted by its evening snack of fresh fungi and the general
boar workload of extensive snuffling.