It is one of the largest remaining ancient woodlands in Britain. Much of the area is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and many rare species of flora and fauna can be found there.
Although now the Wyre Forest has been much deforested, it still extends from east of the A442 at Shatterford, north of Kidderminster in the east, almost to Cleobury Mortimer in the west and from Upper Arley in the north to Areley Kings, near Stourport in the south.
Wildlife species to be found in the forest include Hawfinch, Fallow Deer, Dipper, Common Crossbill, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, and Long-eared Owl among many other woodland birds and plants. The small but colorful moth Oecophora bractella has one of its few English populations here, and does not seem to occur much farther northwards.
Strictly Wyre Forest was not a forest at all, but a chase of the Mortimer family, who had the title Earl of March from 1328. It belonged to their manor and liberty of Cleobury Mortimer. Legally, only the crown can have a forest, a subject could only have chases.
|The Blount Arms|
In the 17th century and 18th century, the forest was intensively managed as coppice to provide cordwood for the production of charcoal. The charcoal was used to fuel iron forges at Cleobury Mortimer, and at Wilden and elsewhere in the Stour valley. These supplied iron from manufacture into finished iron goods mainly in the Black Country. Charcoal burning continued into the 20th century.
A branch off the Severn Valley Railway known as the "Tenbury Line" once ran through the Wyre Forest. It broke off the main line north of Bewdley and crossed the River Severn at Dowles Bridge, the piers of which still remain. The main track has long been dismantled but survives in the form of a well known walking route through the forest on the level trackbed.