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History of Pepper Wood

Pepper Wood is an ancient woodland which has shown a remarkable ability to heal through natural regeneration. The wood has been devastated by clear-felling twice – once during the First World War and again a few years following the Second World War, although fortunately it was not re-planted with conifers.

The name Pepper Wood has developed over the years, and its name can be traced back to 1230 AD.  Pepper Wood is a remnant of North Worcestershire’s ancient Feckenham Forest.

According to the Survey of English Place-Names (The University of Nottingham et al) the suffix, the name name Pypba or Pyppa  refers to a person and the word rod means clearing, the whole name means ‘Pypba’s clearing.’, within the forest area.

Historical Forms

  • Pup(p)erode 1230 
  • Pepperod(e) 1251 
  • Purperode c.1255 
  • Pipperod 1262 For 1275 Ass
  • Popperod 1271 
  • Pypperode 1494 
  • Pyperode Wood c.1830 

The Woodland Trust took ownership in 1981, and they handed the guardianship of the wood over to Pepper Wood Community Woodland Group whose loyal members have taken on the management of the site by reintroducing the centuries-old tradition of coppicing with standards. A past owner of Pepper Wood was the Earl of Shrewsbury (Tythe records 1840).

In 2017, The Woodland Trust acquired Gorsy Piece, and in 2022, having raised £1.5 million, the Trust purchased 120 acres of adjacent land, thereby achieve some 100 hectares of resilient continuous native woodland.

During December 2022, 20,000 trees were planted, including 250 trees plated by members of the community and children from Fairfield First School.

The newly acquired area, which once served as World War 2 Starfish Decoy Site, will also include areas of regenerative growth, species rick meadows and rough pasture for grazing.