D is for…
Drybrook is also known as a royal hunting ground, where the white deer, and, according to legend a black panther roamed. Unfortunately, the white deer was killed after being hit down and then trophy hunters cut off its head, but the police have not caught the person responsible. Drybrook also had a good supply of coal and stone. As Drybrook grew, so did its boundary, and it grew to include a small village called Harrow Hill (or as most locals call it, Harry Hill).
The Dean became a Royal hunting forest in Norman times. The last record of the monarch actually hunting in the Forest was 1256, but it continued to be an important source of venison for the Royal table for centuries. Since Norman times, the Dean has had principally one species of deer – a herd of fallow deer. A few red deer were dumped in the Forest in 1999, but have since moved to the SW of the Forest in the Wye Valley. Muntjac and roe deer are now also present having moved in from other areas but the fallow continues to be the main species.
There is a good chance of seeing deer throughout the Forest particularly once you move away from the car parks and if you are quiet. Deer are frequently seen on the verges or running across roads where they are a traffic hazard.