Savernake Forest is like most woodland on the Wiltshire downs and was once a royal hunting ground , it occupies the flat tops and is cut into by smoothly sloping dry valleys. Certain trees grow well on the land that spreads down the valleys on the red clay. They depend mostly on the moisture held by the clay and on its relative acidity. Only certain trees like – beech , ash ,yew and whitebeam grow well on the thin soils of chalk itself.
Looking into the forest , it occupies the clay-loam plateau and immediately in front of you the chalk of Postern Hill which is still grass land .
If you walk to deep into the forest the trees start to get older , and as you nearer the centre you become among the oldest trees of the forest which probably date from 1765. If you look at the dead trees you can see where woodpeckers have been hacking to find insects . Also they will sometimes make their neat round nest holes in the dead trees . keep a good look out for green and spotted woodpeckers , and for nuthatches , treecreepers and tits. The green woodpecker usually forages for ants outside the woodland verge .
If you are looking for birds then you will find that the birds mostly nest along the woodland edge and some within it : Jackdaws , owls and starlings in holes in the trees ; others, wood pigeons and crows build high in the branches of the trees but some birds such as the Wood warbler nest at ground level.