So you’ve got a massive English forest that straddles Worcestershire and Shropshire, and you want to see what the landscape once looked like without trees? Kev-down-the-pub might suggest you get out your chainsaw, but there’s a better way of doing it. Wedge some boffins and a rack of high-power lasers into a small light aircraft and ascend to 3,300-feet, then pulse the lasers down through the trees. Try to avoid singeing the tails of small furry animals.

misty trees in Shropshire, pic by me

This Wyre Forest LiDAR project (it doesn’t hurt anything, actually; just kidding) will be the topic of a free public seminar…

“Wyre Forest Landscape: Unravelling the Past”, at Millennium Point, Birmingham (4pm-6pm, Tuesday 3rd June 08)

“Experts will discuss the breakthrough aerial survey techniques being used to unravel the complex landscape history and features that have already started to emerge in the Wyre Forest landscape. […] We were amazed to find that farms were present in the past in land we thought had always been wooded.”

Places are limited. Email: — alison.coggon _at_ forestry.gsi.gov.uk to reserve tickets.

It’ll be very interesting to see what they find when they try this on Sutton Park — is it really a relatively pristine survival of a Mercian royal forest?