Wyre Forest Study Group – Forest articles

Cherry Rescue and the Assessment of Orchards – Brian Stephens

Brian Stephens provides details on the efforts to restore orchards and rescue old cherry varieties, efforts that received some stimulus in August 2017 at a Stone Fruit Conference, the first of its kind, organised by the Three Counties Orchard Project.

(From Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2017)

The Study Group’s visit to Finch’s Wood 7th September 2016 – Rosemary Winnall

Roy and Francis Finch generously hosted a day in their Wyre Forest woodland as part of the Wyre Forest Study Group’s 25th anniversary year.

(From Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2016)

Wyre Forest Oak Fogging Project – ed Rosemary Winnall

Natural England’s fogging project involved sampling three oak trees in the Wyre Forest, and this article describes the method and some of the results.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2016)

Personal Observations of the Natural History of the Forest 1854 to 1889 – Rev. Josiah T. Lee

This article was originally published in the Transactions (2nd series, Vol. 1, 1889, pp 285-293) of the Shropshire Archaeological and Natural History Society and is reproduced here with permission from the Society.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2015)

“The Nature of Wyre – a wildlife-rich forest in the heart of Britain”

Eds. B. Westwood, P. Shirley, R. Winnall, H. Green

Wyre Forest Study Group members and associates spent several years writing this book which was published in December 2015. Mike Averill recalls the Book Launch and quotes from several reviews.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2015)

Frozen Dowles Brook, 1985 – Rosemary Winnall

Photographs show the Veevers family standing on the frozen Dowles Brook near Oak Cottage in February 1985.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2014)REVIEW 2014)

Wild-growing Apples and Mistletoe in the Wyre Forest, Wimperhill and Longdon Orchard – Susan Limbrey

This first phase of a wider survey documents apple trees in part of the Wyre Forest, and the presence of mistletoe where it has been located.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2014)REVIEW 2014)

Norman Hickin PhD.,BSc, FRES, F.I.Biol., FZS 1910-1990 – Peter Bateman

Norman Hickin’s obituary is reproduced here by kind permission of the Royal Entomological Society, and it first appeared in the society’s publication ANTENNA vol. 15 April 1991.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2014)REVIEW 2014)

Wildlife Photography, how it all began – John Robinson

The author has been interested in wildlife and photography since childhood and he writes about how this all developed.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2014)REVIEW 2014)

Planting the 2013 Whitty Pear – Harry Green

Mrs. Woodward of Arley Castle planted a Whitty Pear tree in Wyre in 1916 after the large veteran tree had been burnt down. Nearly 100 years later, in March 2013, her grand-daughter Hermione Gerry planted another one in the Wyre Forest Arboretum, this article celebrates that occasion.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2013)REVIEW 2014)

The Wyre Forest Arboretum and the Wyre Forest Society – Stuart Leadley

The arboretum in Wyre was established by the Wyre Forest Society in 1983 in conjunction with the Forestry Commission, and its development is described in this article.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2013)REVIEW 2014)

Slug and Land Caddis in Hawkbatch – Mike Bloxham

A joint field meeting with the Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland took place in Wyre in October 2013. Mike Bloxham describes the event, and notes the finds of the day.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2013)REVIEW 2014)

Opening of the Deer Museum in 1986

Two photographs show members of the Wyre Forest Society and the Forestry Commission at the opening of the Deer Museum, Button Oak by Dr. Norman Hickin on the 18th January 1986.  

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2013)REVIEW 2014)

‘Grow With Wyre’ – Rosemary Winnall

The author describes some of the projects that were successfully completed as part of this Heritage Lottery-funded landscape partnership scheme led by the Forestry Commission.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2012 but based on an article written for the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s ‘Worcestershire Wildlife’ )REVIEW 2014)

More Record Floods in 2012 – Mike Averill

The author describes another summer storm that resulted in severe flooding around the Wyre Forest on 13th July 2012. The article is illustrated with some examples of the flood damage.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2012)REVIEW 2014)

September Walk via Snuffmill Dingle – Jane Scott

The author describes a Study Group walk around Bewdley via Ribbesford Church, Snuffmill Dingle, and back along the River Severn. She describes some of the items of interest spotted by members along the way.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2012)REVIEW 2014)

Wyre Forest Conservation Volunteers – Phil Rudlin and Chris Doncaster

Since November 2001 a conservation work party has been meeting monthly to undertake woodland management tasks to enhance habitats and biodiversity in the Wyre Forest.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2011)REVIEW 2014)

Coppicing in the Manor of Bewdley 1741-1771 – Brian Stephens

This article includes records from ‘A Survey of the Manor of Bewdley’ in 1749 giving an insight into woodland management of those times. Units of measure and coppicing terms are explained.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2010)REVIEW 2014)

Wyre Forest Balloon Trip – Phil Rudlin

The author joined the Forestry Commission’s Grow With Wyre flight in a hot air balloon over the forest in November 2010. Some stunning photographs show Wyre Forest from the air.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2010)REVIEW 2014)

Tufaceous Wet Flushes in the Wyre Forest – Susan Limbrey

Soil scientist Professor Susan Limbrey describes how wet flushes have formed within the Wyre Forest. She provides the results of soil sampling in several of the flushes, and discusses why some flushes are tufa-rich.

(See link article ‘Ellipteroides Craneflies in the Wyre Forest – Mick Blythe’, both from the Wyre Forest Study Group’s REVIEW 2010)

Freezing Conditions on the River Severn, December 2010 – Mike Averill

The author notes times in the past when some of our rivers have frozen. He describes the weather in December 2010 that led up to the River Severn freezing over completely at Bewdley and includes photographs which record this event.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2010)

The Bell Brook, Wyre Forest – Cedric Quayle

This article describes Bell Brook in the Wyre Forest, and the valley through which it runs, pointing out features of historical interest along the way.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2010)

Field Meeting to Arley and Coldridge Woods – Brett Westwood

Hot sunny weather during the Wyre Forest Study Group’s field meeting on 10th April 2010 helped the members to record a good selection of insects, as well as other animals of note. 

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2010)

Mills on Dowles Brook and its Tributaries – Tim Booth

This article describes the mills that used to operate in the Dowles Brook catchment with illustrations of what remains today.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2010)

Historic Wyre, Friday 9th August, 1861 (Worcestershire Naturalists’ Club)

This article describes a walk in and around the Wyre Forest by a group of naturalists interested in the geology, botany and bryology of the district. 

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2009)

Hedgwick: from Manorial Waste to Forest Community – Stuart Davies

Dr. Stuart Davies describes, from documentary evidence, the two Hedgewick Commons, detached land owned by the Manor of Bewdley. By 1840 the land had become enclosed and known as Far Forest. 

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2009) 

The Old Sorb Tree – Harry Green

The author notes the first record of Sorbus domesticus, the Whitty Pear or True Service Tree, in 1677 from the Wyre Forest. He documents subsequent references and describes the current national distribution of this species.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2009)

Orchards near Bewdley and Wyre Forest 1749-1870 – Brian Stephens

The author has analysed old records from the Manor of Bewdley, and the Crown Sale of 1870, to assess the development of fruit production around the Wyre Forest.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2009)

Place Names in and around the Wyre Forest – Susan Limbrey

The late Dr. Margaret Gelling worked tirelessly in her study of English place names. Her friend and colleague Professor Susan Limbrey discussed with her some of the names in and around the Wyre Forest and the results are documented in this article.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2009)

Experimental use of Pigs to manage Woodland in the  Wyre Forest – Mark Cleaver

The Wyre Community Land Trust with Natural England has started to use pigs in woodland to help clear bracken and scrub. Botanical monitoring will help to assess the impact. 

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2009)

Severn Expeditions – Brett Westwood

The author documents two trips in a boat down the River Severn by some members of the Wyre Forest Study Group in search of mosses, liverworts, an underwater bug and evidence of otters. 

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2009)

Historic Wyre, Saturday, 30th September, 1854 (Worcestershire Naturalists’ Club)

This article was first published in the Transactions of the Worcestershire Naturalists’ Club, 1847-1896 and is reproduced with permission from the Club. It describes a walk through the forest with botanists Mr. G. Jordan and Mr. Babington noting finds of importance along the way.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2008)

Fred Fincher 1901-1995 – Mervyn Needham

This article celebrates Fred Fincher’s contribution to natural history recording in Worcestershire and includes photographs of this dedicated naturalist in the field.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group  REVIEW 2008)

The Impact of Deer Browsing on Coppiced Vegitation at the Wyre Forest – Andrew Southcott

This is a summary of a BSc Independent Study which compares the vegetation within and outside fenced plots which restrict deer browsing, the results of which have implications for future woodland management.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2007)

The State of the Woods in 1801 – Stuart Davies

From documentary evidence of a survey and valuation carried out in 1801, Dr. Stuart Davies provides an informative insight into how the Wyre Forest woodland was managed at that time.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2007)

Floods in the Dowles Valley – Sylvia Sheldon and Chris Bradley

This is a personal account of the great floods in June and July 2007 at Knowles Mill, Wyre Forest. Illustrations of Knowles Mill during this flood can be seen in the article ‘The Great Flood of June 2007′ by Mike Averill.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group  REVIEW 2007)

The Great Flood of June 2007 – Mike Averill

The author uses data from the Environment Agency to document this severe flood in the Wyre Forest and explain the hydrology of the storm. He compares this with the next flood in July 2007. The article is illustrated with photographs of Knowles Mill, showing the height the water reached.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group  REVIEW 2007)

The Decline and Fall of the Mawley Oak – Brian Stephens

The author provides measurements of the Mawley Oak tree when it was standing and documents damage to the tree in August 1974 and when it finally fell on the night of the 3rd November 2005.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2005)

The Sorb Tree of Wyre, the True Service or Whitty Pear (Sorbus domestica) – Fred Jennings

Fred Jennings relates his links with the Wyre Forest and describes his interest in Sorbus domestica trees across the region. 

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group  REVIEW 2005)

Tales from Uncllys, Spring 2006 – John and Linda Lles

John and Linda Iles moved to Uncllys Farm within the Wyre Forest in October 2004 where they wished to live a less energy intensive lifestyle. They provide some background to the site and relate the early beginnings to life on the small-holding with no mains electricity!

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2005)

Leaf Miner and Plant Gall Day, Wyre Forest

Visits were made to a number of sites within the Wyre Forest on 1st October 2005 and the list of leaf mine and plant galls causers is provided.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group  REVIEW 2005)

The Wyre Forest Gall Meeting, 2nd October 2004 – Mike Bloxham

Members of the British Plant Gall Society spent a day in the forest searching for plant galls on trees and plants around Lodgehill Farm. The results are listed and some of the special finds described.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2004)

Rustic fencing and Furniture Making in the Wyre Forest – Paul Jackson

Paul Jackson learnt his craft from the Doolittles at ‘Forest Glade’ before setting up his own business ‘Coppice Creations’. He describes the processes involved in turning coppiced oak and sweet chestnut into rustic fencing and furniture.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2004)

The Goodmoor Oak – Brian Stephens

The author describes this notable old oak tree and compares measurements taken in 1968 and 2004. 

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2004)

Albert Link and Bark Peeling in the Wyre Forest – Rosemary Winnall

Albert Link was one of the last bark peelers in the Wyre Forest and this illustrated article describes his methods.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2003)

The New Dark Ages of Wyre – John Bingham

The author describes how the Wyre Forest has altered in character over the years and how changes in management have effected the landscape and the wildlife. He reflects on the future of Wyre.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2007)

Oak Trees in Wyre Forest – Brian Stephens

The author describes some of the veteran oak trees still alive in the Wyre Forest and provides measurements for them.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2002)

Wyre Forest Lichens – Joy Ricketts

The author describes the lichens she finds on a walk through the Wyre Forest from Park House to the River Severn and lists her finds, noting the importance of the bridge near Lodgehill Farm for crustose lichens especially.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group  REVIEW 2001)

The Demise of the Mawley Oak – Brian Stephens

The large veteran Mawley oak collapsed on 29th October 2001. Statistics are provided for the tree in 1975, and photographs show the tree in 1991 and after the collapse.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2001)

Trees and Biodiversity: Post Mature Trees and Deadwood Habitat – Malcolm Smart

The author explains the importance of veteran trees and deadwood in relation to biodiversity. He provides an overview of the history of our forests and suggests ways in which we might care for our veteran trees and educate countryside managers about the value of deadwood.

(From the Wyre Forest Study Group REVIEW 2002)

The Nature of Wyre  Now in its second publication, this is the definitive, collaborative work, covering the natural history of the Wyre Forest and its flora and fauna. Written by local naturalists and 10 years in the making, this is surely the most authoritative source of information for those wishing to learn and understand something of the complex ecology of one of Englands remaining forests.
The Nature of Wyre 
Now in its second reprint, this is the definitive, collaborative work, covering the natural history of the Wyre Forest and its flora and fauna.
Written by local naturalists and 10 years in the making, this is surely the most authoritative source of information for those wishing to learn and understand something of the complex ecology of one of Englands remaining forests.  
Available for sale now.  Contact: bookshop@naturebureau.co.uk
Forest sunlight
Forest sunlight
Knowles Coppice
Knowles Coppice
Waterfall, Bell Brook
Waterfall, Bell Brook

Rosemary Winnall

Gloucester Old-spot pigs in Wyre Forest
Gloucester Old-spot pigs in Wyre Forest

John Iles

The Mawley Oak in Hoar Frost
The Mawley Oak in Hoar Frost
Brian Stephens
Winter forest track
Winter forest track
Balloon over Birchen Park
Balloon over Birchen Park

Phill Rudlin

Whitty Pear fruit
Whitty Pear fruit

Rosemary Winnall

Bark Peeling in the Wyre Forest, probably during the 1930s
Bark Peeling in the Wyre Forest, probably during the 1930s

From photo collection of Mr Charles Purcell, Bewdley

New Parks June 1993
New Parks
Rosemary Winnall
Pigs in Wyre
Pigs in Wyre

Rosemary Winnall

Hawkbatch and Trimpley looking north
Hawkbatch and Trimpley looking north

Phil Rudlin