Wyre Forest has been extended to become England’s largest woodland National Nature Reserve (NNR).

A NNR is an area which protect wildlife and geology. The Wyre Forest reserve itself sits on the Worcestershire and Shropshire border, and, after being extended by nearly 900 hectares, now covers more than 1,455 hectares.

There are a number of habitats to be taken in while exploring Wyre Forest, including forest settings, meadows, old orchards and steep-sided valleys. The area is home to a significant amount of wildlife too, ranging from reptiles and birds to moths and protected mammals – 58% of the UK’s butterfly species also reside there.

Only 20 miles from Birmingham, the area has seen an increase in the number of visitors since the pandemic struck, as recognition grows for the wellbeing benefits of exploring green spaces and being around nature.

A walker in Wyre Forest - image credit: Forestry England

Natural England Chair, Tony Juniper, said: “Wyre Forest is a mosaic of woodlands, ravines, grasslands and scrub, and it is exactly this kind of varied habitat that we must create more of if we are to improve the prospects for some of our most beautiful and interesting wild species, including butterflies such as the White Admiral and Wood White.”

Colin Raven, Director, Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, said: “The Wyre Forest is home to amazing and rare wildlife, and we’re delighted that the National Nature Reserve is being expanded. As well as the wonders of wildflowers, fungi, reptiles and mammals, there are a number of bird species that are very sensitive to disturbance so having more protected land should help to give them a real boost. Wildlife doesn’t recognise borders, so we need more, bigger, better, and connected landscapes for nature.”

“Nature’s recovery isn’t just about protected areas; we need more nature everywhere if we are to halt its decline. This expansion is a great start in helping to reach our target of 30% of land managed for the benefit of nature by 2030 and we hope that it will inspire residents throughout the Wyre Forest and beyond to think about how they can also provide space for nature.”

Lead image credit: Forestry England

If you’re looking for somewhere to head to for your next tour, be sure to check out our round-up of the best caravan sites, where we pick the top locations to stay at from across the UK.

You can also find out more about encountering nature on tour in our guide to birdwatching and butterfly spotting guide.

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