John Robinson was the first warden of the Wyre Forest and he held that position for 30 years before retiring. Last Thursday evening he shared his vast knowledge of the forest with the audience through his award winning photographs and his amusing anecdotes.
The Wyre Forest is one of the largest areas of ancient semi-natural woodland in England and is a National Nature Reserve. In medieval times the forest would have extended from Malvern to Bridgnorth; it is now much reduced at 6000 acres. Half of that area is broad-leaved woodland with much of the coniferous area in the process of being converted to broadleaf by The Forestry Commission. The Industrial Revolution was one of the biggest influences on the forest when timber, usually oak, was used for charcoal production and the forest became somewhat depleted.
John's excellent photographs encompassed many of the species found in the Wyre Forest: dormice and badgers, puff balls and parasitic toothwort, goldcrest and lesser spotted woodpecker, pearl-bordered fritillary and marbled white, dipper and grey wagtail, glow-worm and beetle. However, hedgehogs have not been seen in the forest for 20 years and it is suspected that the small number of orchids found in the forest have been brought into the forest with other material. Redstarts are rare now and pied flycatchers are declining rapidly but barn owls are now to be found around the edge of the forest. The forest supports large numbers of redwing during the winter months.
Many of the photographs were taken from John’s kitchen window (in the forest) or from ingeniously-designed hides. He was able to enlighten the audience as to how some of his prize-winning photographs were taken.
The next meeting of our Malvern Group is at 7.30 pm on November 8th at Malvern Evangelical Church. Peter Watson will give an illustrated talk: The Management of deer in the 21st Century - we look forward to seeing you there.
Derek, Malvern Local Group