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Green open spaces
Displaying until 01 Sep 2021 - FreeTimePays
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Love our parks - get involved!

As Lockdown rules start to enable more people to enjoy their parks and green spaces, we all want to ensure that these wonderful places of natural beauty are protected for all to enjoy.  This community collective will share some of the brilliant initiatives running across the UK and show just how, together, we can make a difference for the benefit of all.  Connect with us.

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Love our parks - get involved!





As Lockdown rules start to enable more people to enjoy their parks and green spaces, we all want to ensure that these wonderful places of natural beauty are protected for all to enjoy.  This community collective will share some of the brilliant initiatives running across the UK and show just how, together, we can make a difference for the benefit of all.  Connect with us.


Over the next month and for the remainder of 2020, we will be growing our reach and pull together information and details on all the great work being carried out across communities as they collectively protect their parks.  

This will grow into a massive 'community-led' resource for people with a shared interest and passion for their local parks and green spaces.  

Here's just a few of the ideas and initiatives we will be telling you more about so we can share and get more people actively involved.

Litter picking groups - they do a fantastic job.  We'll connect you with your local group.

Art & Culture Trail.  We'll help you set up your trail and showcase your parks.

Walking clubs. We'll connect you and bring in more friends.

Park angels.  Volunteering with a difference.  We'll tell you more.

Creativity and green spaces collide.  Let's look at how art, music, photography and creativity in all its forms can help promote and protect our parks. 

Parks and mental health.  A walk, ride or jog in the park can do so much for your mental health.

There's something for everyone.

Connect with us and help us protect our parks. 

 

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
18 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Westley Vale Millennium Green in Acocks Green

When a former allotment was turned into a green space at the turn of the Millennium in Acocks Green it was named the Westley Vale Millennium Green. Located on The Avenue, it runs alongside the Westley Brook towards the Grand Union Canal. The area is quite small. Visitors are expected to take their litter home with them. Street art by Hoakser was unveiled in 2015 at The Avenue entrance.

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Westley Vale Millennium Green in Acocks Green





When a former allotment was turned into a green space at the turn of the Millennium in Acocks Green it was named the Westley Vale Millennium Green. Located on The Avenue, it runs alongside the Westley Brook towards the Grand Union Canal. The area is quite small. Visitors are expected to take their litter home with them. Street art by Hoakser was unveiled in 2015 at The Avenue entrance.


Westley Vale Millennium Green

The Westley Vale Millennium Green was created as one of the Millennium Greens to provide Breathing Spaces in the early 21st Century. The New Labour Government in 1998 gave support for schemes like this, and this one opened in the year 2000. The area is leased to Birmingham City Council, and a group of Trustees supported by local volunteers manage the site, clean it up, plant and maintain the site as a conservation area.

In 2015, the Birmingham street artist Hoakser was hired to paint a wall at the entrance path from The Avenue. With various birds and animals on it.

Acocks Green Station is a short walk away from the site (as well as the shops on the Warwick Road high street).

2014

I first walked past the Westley Vale Millennium Green in February 2014. This was after a short walk from the Grand Union Canal at Lincoln Road North, I found this gate on The Avenue. I did not enter it at this time, but would a year later.

On the railings was this Millennium Greens Breathing Spaces sign. A Millennium Project. An initiative of The Countryside Agency.

2015

My first proper walk into the Westley Vale Millennium Green was during May 2015. Entering from The Avenue, the street art mural by Hoakser was on the right. With owls, foxes, badgers etc.

The far end of the mural had various birds painted onto it.

Many different paths to take around the Millennium Green.

Cow parsley near the footbridge over the Westley Brook.

An area with benches. It looked like the turf was newly laid at the time.

Following the path past the cow parsley on the left.

Another bench and another path to the left.

The path continues. Lots of tree and very green in the spring.

Now a dirt path through the trees.

Some steps to go up.

Railings on the left. The Grand Union Canal was nearby, but you can't get onto it from this side.

A gate with an exit to Woodcock Lane.

A look at the steps down from Woodcock Lane North onto the towpath of the Grand Union Canal.

Just a look at the steps, I don't think I went down to the canal towpath for a walk down there that time around.

This is a view of the Grand Union Canal from the Woodcock Lane Bridge. I've not walked that section. Sometimes the towpath can be muddy or wet. This is the direction towards Yardley Road, South Yardley and towards Tyseley.

Back into the Millennium Green, and heading around the paths towards Malvern Road.

The path leads to a closed gate at Malvern Road.

Another path from near Malvern Road leads back to The Avenue entrance / exit.

The gate is closed, so you have to use the latch to open the gate, then close it behind you. This was on Malvern Road.

The Millennium Greens Breathing Spaces, Westley Vale Millennium Green and Conservation Area signs at the Malvern Road entrance.

Close up of the Westley Vale Millennium Green signs. Don't dump your rubbish. Pick up and bag your dog waste.

Close up of the Conservation Area sign. Please respect the environment. Bin or take your litter home. Clean up after your pets. Do not damage trees or pick the flowers. No motorcycles or other unauthorised vehicles.

2020

Didn't get around to coming back to the Westley Vale Millennium Green until doing an afternoon walk around Acocks Green during July 2020. Weren't here for long, before walk a stretch of the Grand Union Canal as well.

The footbridge over the Westley Brook. Everything looking lush and green in the summer.

The grass near the path looked to be cut short near the bushes.

Straight on the path under the trees.

Google Lens says this flower is called Asian pigeonwings. But who knows, Google Lens might be wrong?

Up the steps on the path towards Woodcock Lane.

No sooner had we got here, we were almost out of the Millennium Green.

The area is quite small anyway.

A bag on the tree for litter (I think).

A look at the Grand Union Canal. You can not get onto it from this side.

Back to the Woodcock Lane gate. Next headed over the bridge then down onto the canal towpath.

Near the Woodcock Lane Bridge was these signs from the Canal & River Trust. This area is adopted by Acocks Green Neighbourhood Forum.

A look at the Woodcock Lane Bridge from the towpath of the Grand Union Canal. Walked towards the Lincoln Road North Bridge. The Millennium Green is to the far left of here. It is Grade II listed, dating to the late 18th Century, and made of red brick. The canal was built as the Warwick and Birmingham Canal. It later became part of the Grand Union Canal from 1927 onwards.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Green travel
17 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

A walk on the Harborne Walkway back in 2016

A former railway line in Birmingham had been turned years ago into the Harborne Walkway. Starting from Harborne close to Park Hill Road, the route passes several bridges via the Hagley Road before heading towards Summerfield Park. I'd say it ends just after the Selwyn Road Bridge in the park. Although the paths continues towards Northbrook Street in Summerfield.

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A walk on the Harborne Walkway back in 2016





A former railway line in Birmingham had been turned years ago into the Harborne Walkway. Starting from Harborne close to Park Hill Road, the route passes several bridges via the Hagley Road before heading towards Summerfield Park. I'd say it ends just after the Selwyn Road Bridge in the park. Although the paths continues towards Northbrook Street in Summerfield.


HARBORNE WALKWAY

The Harborne Walkway forms part of the route of the former Harborne Railway, which had trains going from Birmingham New Street, leaving the branch line at Harborne Junction with the Stour Valley Line (Birmingham to Wolverhampton). The railway opened in 1874, with four railway stations at Harborne, Hagley Road, Rotton Park Road and Icknield Port Road. The line closed to passengers in 1934. The line remained open for coal to be carried until it closed for good in 1963.

Today the line is now of course the Harborne Walkway. It starts in Harborne at Forest Drive. It then crosses over Park Hill Road on a bridge. All other bridges, you can walk, run or cycle under them. Following along the Chad Brook (although you can't see it). The first bridge you walk under is at Woodbourne Road, then Hagley Road.

There is an exit / entrance to Station Avenue and Percival Drive. Which lead to Stanmore Road. Passing through Ladywood, the next bridge to go under is at Portland Road, followed by Rotton Park Road. The final bridge to pass through is at Selwyn Road, before entering Summerfield Park.

The paths split off in many directions in the park, but the route of the former railway line continues towards Icknield Port Road, then Barford Road, before ending at Coplow Street and Northbrook Street.

There used to be a railway bridge over the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline and the Birmingham to Wolverhampton railway line. But all that remains now is the brick buttresses.

 

Forest Drive / Park Hill Road

I did my first half walk on the Harborne Walkway from Harborne towards Hagley Road on the 5th February 2016. As I felt it was too far for me to walk all the way in one go to the end of the line.

First up a look at the Park Hill Road Bridge in Harborne.

Heading around to a cul-de-sac called Forest Drive, I followed the public footpath onto the Harborne Walkway.

The Park Hill Road Bridge is the only bridge you walk over. The other bridges you walk under them.

The views from the bridge looking down at both sides of Park Hill Road in Harborne. The Harborne High Street in this direction.

Beyond Park Hill Road, it leads onto Moor Pool Avenue.

The other side of the Park Hill Road Bridge in Harborne, as seen on the 13th March 2016.

There is an entrance path on the right from Park Hill Road.

Turning around, you can head down to or up from Park Hill Road from the path on the left.

Woodbourne Road

Coming up to the Woodbourne Road Bridge.

The Woodbourne Road Bridge from the other side.

Hagley Road

Coming up was the Hagley Road Bridge.

I exited here at Hagley Road, but would resume the walk 3 weeks later to complete it. Was a man running under the bridge, looks a bit like a tunnel.

20 days later on the 25th February 2016, I headed back to the Hagley Road, to resume my walk on the Harborne Walkway. First up on the left was the exit / entrance to Station Drive and Percival Road. It leads to Stanmore Road.

Portland Road

Passing through the Portland Road Bridge.

It looks like exiting a tunnel under the Portland Road Bridge.

Rotton Park Road

Not too far from the end of the Harborne Walkway now. Passing the Rotton Park Road Bridge. From here it is a short walk towards the Edgbaston Reservoir.

Selwyn Road

The final bridge to pass under is the Selwyn Road Bridge, before entering Summerfield Park. I'm not sure why this section is fenced off, unless there is still railway sleepers here.

The open gate seen from under the Selwyn Road Bridge, the entrance to Summerfield Park.

A look back at the Selwyn Road Bridge from Summerfield Park.

Beyond Summerfield Park there is no more bridges to walk under. But there is a bridge on Icknield Port Road, but the exit gates are at road level so you don't go under that. The only time I went into Summerfield Park, I exited at Dudley Road.

The path towards Barford Road, now runs alongside the Barford Primary School football pitch. There is also a housing estate on the other side of that road, but no bridge.

The footpath ends at Coplow Street which leads onto Northbrook Street. There is the remains of a bridge on one side of Northbrook Street near the canal.

Northbrook Street

That day I did end up on Northbrook Street, so got to see the remains of the railway buttresses over the existing canal and railway line.

While the viaduct that used to cross the railway and canal is long gone, there is a lot of old brick walls that remains, but covered in graffiti near the towpath. Can see the BT Tower and Library of Birmingham from here.

First look at the massive red brick buttress that used to carry the Harborne Railway over the Birmingham Canal.

A Cross Country Voyager (Class 220) heads towards Birmingham New Street, it's last stop was probably Wolverhampton.

Of course the trains that would have gone on the Harborne Railway a century ago would have been steam engines, and not the modern diesel or electric trains we have today.

One last look at the large brick buttress in the middle of the canal from Northbrook Street. A relic of a lost railway line.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

 

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70 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
12 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The River Cole at the Scribers Lane ford

There is a few fords that pass through the River Cole. Scribers Lane in Hall Green near Yardley Wood is one of them. Located in the Shire Country Park between the Trittiford Mill Pool and the Scribers Lane SINC. This road is no longer in use, as there is bollards at both ends. There is a footbridge for pedestrians, cyclists and dog walkers. The river level changes here during the year.

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The River Cole at the Scribers Lane ford





There is a few fords that pass through the River Cole. Scribers Lane in Hall Green near Yardley Wood is one of them. Located in the Shire Country Park between the Trittiford Mill Pool and the Scribers Lane SINC. This road is no longer in use, as there is bollards at both ends. There is a footbridge for pedestrians, cyclists and dog walkers. The river level changes here during the year.


River Cole at the Scribers Lane ford

This ford is located on Scribers Lane between Yardley Wood and Hall Green in Birmingham. The River Cole flows through the road on the Cole Valley. Nearby is the Trittiford Mill Pool and the Scribers Lane SINC. Visitors on walks can use a footbridge to cross the river on Scribers Lane. There is bollards at both ends of the river, as it is no longer suitable for cars or other motor vehicles to cross over. One set of bollards on Scribers Lane is near Riverside Crescent. Pedestrians can walk through the middle in the gap.

For my Shire Country Park posts relevant to this area:

2014-16

After a walk down to The Baldwin during February 2014, I walked down Baldwins Lane and then onto Scribers Lane. I got to this Ford sign just before the railway bridge on the Shakespeare Line.

The road is liable to flooding. Only cycles can go past here. At the time I thought that you couldn't walk up the road, so I turned back. Beyond here is the Scribers Lane Allotments.

The May Day Bank Holiday during May 2016. After leaving the Trittiford Mill Pool, saw the River Cole on the Scribers Lane ford for the first time.

The back of the tree near the River Cole. From a footbridge at the far end of the Trittiford Mill Pool. Can just about see the road surface to the right.

There's the bridge that pedestrians and cyclists can use to cross the river.

At this point in the Spring, the river level was quite low.

Scribers Lane sign near the bridge.

Discarded barrier in the River Cole near the Scribers Lane ford.

The other side of the River Cole into the Scribers Lane SINC.

These views of the River Cole at the Scribers Lane ford taken during December 2016. The river level is always higher in late autumn and early winter. This was after a period of heavy rain.

You can see why this road is closed off to cars or other motor vehicles, it is just too unsafe for them to pass without them getting stuck.

2020

The first National Lockdown at the end of March 2020, and a walk down Scribers Lane to get onto the Trittiford Mill Pool. First up the railway bridge on the Shakespeare Line between Yardley Wood and Shirley.

It seems that you can walk down Scribers Lane. Trees yet to get their leaves grown back.

Bollards just before the footbridge. The River Cole is to the right on Scribers Lane.

Crossing the footbridge over the River Cole.

The view of the River Cole from the footbridge on Scribers Lane.

The River Cole from the other side. Within months all of the natural growth would grow back during the first lockdown.

The River Cole looked shallow enough to go into from Scribers Lane.

The main tree near the River Cole on Scribers Lane. Water surrounds it when the river level is higher.

Still in lockdown during May 2020. The trees are now lush and green. A month long drought, and the River Cole was quite shallow.

Even the main tree was looking dry as the leaves were green, and the river was low.

It was so nice and warm in May, and the Shire Country Park was looking green near the River Cole on Scribers Lane.

The 2nd lockdown began on the 5th November 2020. After a walk down to Yardley Wood and into the Trittiford Mill Pool. Got some Autumnal views of the River Cole on Scribers Lane. The river level now looks higher.

There's that tree again, the River Cole going behind it, but the land around it was not flooded at this point.

Heading to the footbridge over the River Cole. The closest cars can get now is behind the bollards and close to the Allotments.

I think the river level is too high for cyclists to ride through. Then again, I expect that they use the bridge as it's safer to cross.

The walk up Scribers Lane towards the railway bridge. Vehicles that do drive down here must be under 12'6".

There is also the ford on Slade Lane. I think I'll do a separate post on that ford at a later date.

The other ford in the Shire Country Park, but one that cars can drive through is on Green Road near the Greet Mill Meadow and Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
History & heritage
10 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Lickey Monument

If you are walking to or from Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park on Monument Lane, you might spot an obelisk in a field. This is The Monument. Erected in memory of Other Archer Windsor, 6th Earl of Plymouth by the Worcestershire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry in 1834. He was their Colonel Commandant. From a distance the monument is visible from far and wide.

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The Lickey Monument





If you are walking to or from Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park on Monument Lane, you might spot an obelisk in a field. This is The Monument. Erected in memory of Other Archer Windsor, 6th Earl of Plymouth by the Worcestershire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry in 1834. He was their Colonel Commandant. From a distance the monument is visible from far and wide.


The Lickey Monument

I first saw the obelisk behind some gates off Monument Lane in Lickey back in May 2013. I took some zoom ins over the fence at the bottom, but didn't enter the field at the time. I've seen it again close up at least one more time since, but didn't take more close up photos.

 

Some history.

The monument was erected by the Worcestershire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry in memory of their late Colonel Commandant, Other Archer Windsor, 6th Earl of Plymouth (1789-1833). He lived in a house in nearby Barnt Green for some time.

 

It is Grade II listed. It dates to about 1834. It was made of Anglesey marble.

Located in a field off Monument Lane, it is also close to Old Birmingham Road. Beacon Hill is to the north west, while Bilberry Hill is to the east.

 

In October 2020, I was walking down the Bristol Road South in Northfield, when I zoomed into this view of the Lickey Hills. The Monument was clearly visible from here. At the bottom of the picture is Longbridge.

I unexpectedly went down to Longbridge again at the end of October 2020, after getting a bus down Bristol Road South from Selly Oak Triangle. Got off the bus and got this view. The Lickey Hills seen in the distance, but not zoomed in far enough to see The Monument. Bournville College on the corner of Longbridge Lane and Bristol Road South is now part of South & City College Birmingham (either the Bournville or Longbridge Campus).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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