'Discovering traditional ways! An Orchard Restoration project is being planned.'
An Orchard Restoration project is the cornerstone of the Wildlife, Restoration & Natural History Programme.
The Wyre landscape is to undergo a dramatic restoration, thanks to a grant boost of nearly £2 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The ‘Grow With Wyre Landscape Partnership Scheme’, which is led by the Forestry Commission, has been set up to help restore the unique landscape of Wyre and celebrate its rich working history.
Years of industrialisation and increasing urban populations have had an impact on the Wyre landscape and left people disengaged from their natural heritage. Forgotten fruit varieties, historic crafts and the increasing scarcity of native species are all at risk of becoming extinct without expert help.
The confirmation of the £1,846,000 grant means that the partners can now drive the project forward and ensure the long-term social, environmental and economic sustainability of the Wyre landscape.
As the work develops, the local community and visitors will start to notice new hedgerows, clearings and fences, freshly rolled bracken and new saplings appearing. Better habitats for creatures such as butterflies will be created and old orchards will also be brought back to life.
Anne Jenkins, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the West Midlands region, says:
"We’re delighted to fund this project in The Wyre Forest, which is right on the doorstep of almost 2 million people and provides wonderful opportunities to enjoy our natural heritage. Now more people from the local community and beyond will be able to make the most of this hugely diverse natural environment and get involved in learning more about it and importantly, how to support it."
The ‘Grow With Wyre Landscape Scheme’ partners, the local community and visitors will all take an active role in restoring around 72 square kilometres of unique landscape through the delivery of 18 projects. Each project will be designed to manage the landscape character, heritage and biodiversity that make the Wyre Forest Landscape special.
There is also a plan for a new community discovery centre - Gateway to Wyre - next to the Forestry Commission's Wyre Forest Visitor Centre at Callow Hill, which will act as a first stop for information and community events.
Much of the Wyre area is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and many rare species of flora and fauna can be found there. The landscape consists of rolling hills, woodland, orchards and open water with picturesque valleys and is one of the largest areas of ancient semi-natural oak woodland in Britain.
The Wyre Forest's 6,500 acres is all that survives of a wood that once stretched along the Severn Valley from Worcester to Bridgnorth.
The Forestry Commission is the lead partner in the ‘Grow With Wyre Landscape Partnership Scheme’, joined by Natural England, Shropshire County Council, Bewdley Development Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Worcester County Council, Wyre Forest Study Group, Wyre Community Land Trust, Wyre Forest District Council and The National Trust.
The remaining funding for the ‘Grow With Wyre Landscape Partnership Scheme’ has been provided by the project partners, together with nearly £300,000 from GrantScape and a further £73,000 from SITA Trust.