During the August–September 2005 burst of solar activity, close to the current solar cycle minimum, a significant number of powerful X-ray flares were recorded, among which was the outstanding X17.0 flare of 7 September 2005. Within a relatively short period (from 22 August to 17 September) two severe magnetic storms were also recorded as well as several Forbush effects. These events are studied in this work, using hourly mean variations of cosmic ray density and anisotropy, derived from data of the neutron monitor network. During these Forbush effects the behavior of high energy cosmic ray characteristics (density and anisotropy) is analyzed together with interplanetary disturbances and their solar sources, and is compared to the variations observed in geomagnetic activity. A big and long lasting (~6 h) cosmic ray pre-decrease (~2%) is defined before the shock arrival on 15 September 2005. The calculated cosmic ray gradients for September 2005 are also discussed.