Welcome to the second instalment of ‘In The Sticks’ – Offa’s Press’s Arts Council England-funded poetry project focusing on rural life.

We’ve already looked in detail at Brindley Village on Cannock Chase – how people living in the area were impacted by the natural world around them, and vice versa. This time, we’re focusing on the ancient practice of forestry – in particular, in the Wyre Forest, which straddles the border of Shropshire and Worcestershire.

Wyre Forest Road

People have used wood for millennia – not just for building homes and firewood, but charcoal-making, leather tanning (using bark), and basket-weaving, too. 

These practices underpinned a network of production across the UK – charcoal burners at Wyre sold their products to the glass-makers at Stourbridge and to the wider Black Country. When forests were plentiful and covered most of the UK, there was always a good supply of wood, but when the demand for wood increased and the forest cover decreased, we had to start thinking about how to ensure our supply, and later, how to manage forests as a whole ecosystem.

In this segment of ‘In The Sticks’, we’re exploring the relationship between people and forests – including the trees, plants, birds, animals, insects, and fungi which live in them. How have humans used forests in the past for their own needs, and what are we doing today to sustain them? 

Visiting the Wyre Forest

Do you fancy a visit to the Wyre Forest yourself, to see the autumnal details of the forest?

See the map below for details of parking and directions. Parking charges apply at the Visitor Centre, but others (such as Earnwood Copse) are free. Prices, ways to pay, and other methods of transport can be found at the link below.

Please follow the government’s latest advice on travel and social distancing available here…