VISITING Wyre Forest is always an enjoyable experience and the choice of available routes is almost infinite because much of the forest is designated access land, where we can walk wherever we want.

The Forestry Commission has created dozens of footpaths and bridleways, all of which are available to the public except when forestry operations result in temporary restrictions.

Welcome though it is, this super-abundance of choices can sometimes cause confusion, especially as only a small selection of the paths is represented on Ordnance Survey maps. So, the following comments about this week’s route may be helpful.

The walk begins with a gradual descent to Dowles Brook and the most straightforward way to do this is to follow a well-used cycleway, which is waymarked in blue and branded as a ‘family mountain bike route’.

However, it’s much more pleasant to use a combination of routes, including part of the Buzzard Trail, which is waymarked with red-banded wooden posts, some of which are also numbered. This more complicated approach is described in point one below, but you might find it useful to look at the Forestry Commission’s on-site map before you begin.

You’ll find it near Woodpecker Tree, to the right of Forest Café. It shows the commission’s waymarked trails and you might even decide to choose a different route altogether, especially if you would prefer a shorter walk.

Tree felling is currently taking place within the forest, a small part of which has been temporarily closed to the public as a result.

This does not affect public rights of way, so any path waymarked with the familiar blue or yellow arrows is still available for use, but other paths in the affected area are closed.

The route described below does briefly pass through the current felling area but only on a right of way, which remains open. But do look out for on-site notices in case the area subject to felling restrictions is extended, which might potentially affect other paths used in this walk.


START Wyre Forest Visitor Centre, Callow Hill, on A456 west of Bewdley; grid ref SO750740.

LENGTH Seven miles/11km.

MAPS OS Explorer 218, OS Landranger 138.

TERRAIN Woodland and plantation; a few slopes but nothing too steep.

FOOTPATHS Excellent.


PARKING At visitor centre.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT Bus or train to Kidderminster then Tenbury service 291 or Ludlow service 292, Mon-Sat; timetables or 01905 765765.

REFRESHMENTS Forest Café at visitor centre.


1 There are two main starting points for the forest trails – choose the one just to the right of the café. Follow signs for ‘Go Ape’ initially, then fork left by the Go Ape cabin, following a path waymarked in blue, green and red. You’ll soon see point 22 on the Buzzard Trail. Follow the Buzzard Trail, waymarked in red, for a fair distance, but eventually join the main cycleway, waymarked in blue. You can join it at various points as the Buzzard Trail crosses and re-crosses it, but a good place to join is after you’ve passed point 13 on the Buzzard Trail. Descend to a junction marked by a large fingerpost and a memorial bench dedicated to the memory of Edith Florence Harvey.

2 Turn left along the route of the old railway. After about 250m, turn right on an unmarked but clear path and make your way down through lovely woodland to Dowles Brook; there are various routes but one easy option is to keep right at every fork. Turn right beside the brook and eventually you’ll see a blue arrow pointing left. This leads to a ford but if you continue straight on for a few metres you’ll rejoin the cycleway, which crosses the brook at a bridge.

Turn left on the other side of the brook, joining the Geopark Way.

3 Turn right, still on the Geopark Way, which climbs to the top of a slope where you turn right on a wide path bordered by heather and winberry. Turn left at a junction, joining a forest road, but still on the Geopark Way. The road climbs, then swings right through a clearing where young trees have been planted. When the road enters a more densely forested area, it descends very slightly.

Eventually, you will see another waymarker indicating that you’re still on the Geopark Way – this is your signal to turn right on to an unmarked cross-path a short distance further on. The path is not waymarked but it’s well used and easily followed, running close to the edge of the forest for a while, with fields visible on the left. Eventually it bears right, away from the edge, to meet a cross-path.

4 Turn left, descending to cross a tributary stream then go to the right at the next few junctions, and straight on at a final junction, descending all the while so that you eventually meet Dowles Brook again. Turn left, rejoining the Geopark Way and shortly crossing the brook at a footbridge.

5 Turn right, leaving the Geopark Way, when you meet a footpath waymarked with yellow arrows. Follow the frequent waymarks, eventually rejoining the Buzzard Trail at point 11.

Follow the Buzzard Trail back to the visitor centre; the route is mostly straightforward but two points need clarification. Firstly, when you enter an arboretum, the path goes roughly straight across to a gate at the far side, but the first of two red-banded posts is some way to the left of the trodden path, potentially throwing you slightly off course. Secondly, when you come to a forest road there are signs indicating two routes to the visitor centre, but no distances are given. If you turn right you’ll walk much further than if you choose the route which goes straight across the forest road.