The ancient Forest of Wyre conceals a landscape that has had a very long, rich and diverse history. Over 8,000 years ago temporary settlements sprang up overlooking the Severn Valley. These seasonal camps supported small extended families that gathered wild harvest, fished the river and hunted. 300 years ago, Wyre was entering a period of exploitation as a major industrial landscape: coal mining, charcoal burning, milling and many other activities defined Wyre as an area of craft specialisation with products distributed to markets near and far via the gateway towns of Bewdley and Cleobury Mortimer. In the millennia between these two periods Wyre's landscape was settled, altered and exploited; each period leaving its mark on the land.
Two Lidar images of Wassall Wood near Trimpley illustrating how the tree cover can be removed to reveal the woodland landscape
In 2007 the Forestry Commission funded a Lidar survey of Wyre and its surrounding landscape as part of a major Heritage Lottery Fund project: Grow With Wyre. Lidar is the acronym for an aerial laser survey method: Light Detection and Ranging. The technique uses a low intensity laser scanner fitted to a light aircraft that records the land surface in high detail. This is impressive enough, however, using specialist software it was possible to filter the survey data to remove all records of the forest tree canopy thereby revealing the previously hidden forest floor. Over 2000 surface features of archaeological potential have been mapped across an area of 72 square kilometres providing a significant insight into the historic evolution of Wyre. Since 2010, a team of volunteers has been actively checking the results on the ground and adding valuable extra information into the County Historic Environment Record.
Now you can access the Lidar images and mapping via the Historic Wyre Forest website and interactive map browser. Navigate around Wyre and select individual features to read more about the main archaeological features types that have been identified. Archaeological research in Wyre has entered a new phase as part of the Wyre Forest Landscape Partnership. During the next three years the website will be developed to provide more detailed information about individual features and the landscape archaeology of Wyre.
For more information about the work of the Wyre Forest Landscape Partnership and volunteering opportunities please contact Adam Mindykowski firstname.lastname@example.org 01905 765972