New Forest
 - Explorers
New Forest
Explorers Guide
Wildlife composite image
Pony near Hampton Ridge
For comprehensive information about the New Forest National Park
For comprehensive information about the New Forest National Park
***** For information about New Forest access restrictions and related matters, check out the Forestry England website. *****

Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii)

Where: Often seen close to heathland streams and pools, but may also occur well away from water - for example, on heathland or flying along woodland rides
When: Early June to late August
How many: Rarely abundant but fairly widespread
Golden-ringed Dragonflies mating in tandem
Golden-ringed Dragonflies
mating in Pondhead

Monsters of the waterways, Golden-ringed Dragonflies are large, conspicuous creatures - their wingspan is a mighty 10 centimetres, whilst length is around 8 centimetres.

They are also aptly named, for colouration and patterning in both sexes comprises golden-yellow bands superimposed onto a black background. Large green eyes serve only to enhance an appearance of menace.

On the wing from early June until late August, with peak activity usually in July, Golden-ringed Dragonflies can often be seen well away from water, most frequently on heathland or cruising along woodland rides. However, streams and rivers, both slow and faster flowing, and usually in open situations rather than in woodland, provide particularly favoured habitat.

Strong, purposeful, direct but highly manoeuvrable flight is often accompanied by quite loud rustling sounds - made when their wings brush against each other or against adjacent vegetation - as these notable insects repeatedly fly backwards and forwards along frequently used hunting 'beats'. Battles between competing insects are sometimes witnessed, whilst prey items include a wide range of smaller insects, including other dragonflies and damselflies.

Golden-ringed Dragonflies occur widely in the New Forest, but territorial habits ensure that they are rarely seen in large numbers.

A Guide to the Dragonflies of Great Britain: Dan Powell
Dragonflies and Damselflies of Britain and Northern Europe: Bob Gibbons
The Dragonflies of Hampshire - John Taverner, Steve Cham, Alan Hold, et al

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** New Forest ponies and other animals**
The New Forest
Commoners' ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but during 2019 agisters attended 159 road traffic accidents involving these animals, a small but disappointing increase on the 154 accidents attended in 2018.

Sadly, 58 animals were killed - 35 ponies, 13 cows, 8 donkeys and 2 sheep, whilst a further 32 were injured - 3 pigs, 9 donkeys, 11 cows and 9 ponies.

(Forty-three accidents occurred in daylight, 15 at twilight and 101 in the dark. Twenty-seven accidents were not reported by the driver involved).

Here's just one horrific example - Three donkeys killed in collision with van at notorious New Forest blackspot (Advertiser and Times)
** Always take care when driving **
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley