In mediaeval times the area south of Shrewsbury was, for a very long time, covered by the Long Forest. Most of Pulverbatch was woodland until the late 16th century. The area east of the Shrewsbury to Bishops Castle road and between Longden Common and the Wilderley Brook, was called Steplewood. In the mid 16th century it was described as ‘so thick of timber, trees and hollies and bushes that one might very hardly find the way'. Much of the wood was common land for 300 years until 1600. At that time it consisted of 345 acres.
By 1839, the only surviving remnants were The Gorse (now 14 acres) and a few small coppices beside brooks. This explains just how special The Gorse is. The presence of so many old oaks, particularly in the New House Lane/Longden Common area suggests that Steplewood had plenty of oaks in it and that some of them, now almost all likely to be offspring, were left to be incorporated into the local hedges.
(© Kate Thorne, 1992)