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Green open spaces
13 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

From Barnt Green to the Lickey Hills Country Park Visitor Centre and back

In April 2017, I got the train to Barnt Green Station in Barnt Green, Worcestershire, and went into the Lickey Hills Country Park on the walk up the hill to the Visitor Centre. I was aware of the entrance near the station on a previous visit to Barnt Green during April 2015 (2 years earlier). And the other side from Rose Hill and Barnt Green Road in April 2013.

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From Barnt Green to the Lickey Hills Country Park Visitor Centre and back





In April 2017, I got the train to Barnt Green Station in Barnt Green, Worcestershire, and went into the Lickey Hills Country Park on the walk up the hill to the Visitor Centre. I was aware of the entrance near the station on a previous visit to Barnt Green during April 2015 (2 years earlier). And the other side from Rose Hill and Barnt Green Road in April 2013.


For my first Lickey Hills post click this link: Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park.

In April 2017, I caught a Class 323 train on the Cross City Line to Barnt Green Station, for the walk up the Lickey Hills Country Park towards the Visitor Centre. After popping into the Visitor Centre, I passed an Orchard on the way to Rose Hill. The walk was so long and steep, I felt it was easier to return to the station by walking along Barnt Green Station. Back in April 2013 when I first want to go to Beacon Hill, I was close to the area, but ended up going to Cofton Park instead. On my first train trip to Barnt Green I found the entrance to the Country Park there in April 2015, and made a mental note to return one day. Took me two years before I came back.

2013

In April 2013, I made my first attempt to get to the Lickey Hills Country Park. With the desire to go to Beacon Hill, at the time I did not know how to get there. I walked along Rose Hill near Cofton Hackett, but the paths up to the Visitor Centre side were closed at the time.

Footbridge over a stream, you can get to the Lickey Hills Visitor Centre by heading up the path to the left.

The paths goes steep up the hill. But some were closed due to the diseased trees.

So at the time, this was as close as I would get to the Visitor Centre. There was a pedestrian diversion in place at the time. I only wanted to go to Beacon Hill at first (which I did a few weeks later).

I also headed down Barnt Green Road, so many trees down here, but at the time didn't walk all the way down. So wasn't until 4 years later that I spotted paths into the country park. On this side is Bilberry Hill.

So instead I went into Cofton Park, which is south of Longbridge (post coming soon once the project is set up).

2015

I first got a train to Barnt Green in April 2015, mainly for a look around the Barnt Green area (and not to go into the Lickey Hills Country Park). But I did see the entrance to the park from Fiery Hill Road. Cherry Hill Drive is to the right.

According to the Welcome sign, the Lickey Hills Country Park Visitor Centre was 1.25 miles away from here.

The dirt path from Barnt Green goes up the hill.

Horses and bicycles are now allowed up this section.

There was also this wooden shelter with maps of the park on both sides. At this end it is called the Pinfields Wood. It would be two years before I got the train back to Barnt Green.

2017

I next got a train to Barnt Green Station during April 2017, this time for the walk towards the Lickey Hills Country Park Visitor Centre. From the gate, view of the station near Fiery Hill Road.

Similar view to 2 years earlier near Cherry Hill Drive, except this time I would walk up the hill. It leads to Cherry Hill Road. This is the Pinfields Wood.

Approaching the end of the first section at Cherry Hill Road. Had to cross over the road and continue into the section known as Lickey Warren.

Heading into the Lickey Warren part of the Lickey Hills Country Park on the long walk to the visitor centre.

On the Bluebell Trail, a field of bluebells.

The path continues amongst the trees with the bluebells on both sides.

The Hope Hut with picnic benches underneath.

Still heading up as some kids have fun running about. Trees are quite tall here.

Approaching the Lickey Hills Country Park Visitor Centre for a drink and a sit down.

The car park on the other side of the Visitor Centre. After my break, I next walked down towards Rose Hill.

Now on Warren Lane, this brick building is the School Room. Would assume that this is the classroom used by visiting schools that come to the Country Park, before they go out and explore it for educational purposes.

Heading down Drovers Way, then a brief stop on the left at the Orchard.

It's the Lickey Hills Community Orchard. The trees were planted between 2012 and 2014 by the Lickey Hills Society and the Ranger Team.

A close up look at the new trees in the orchard. At this point, they had only been there for 3 to 5 years.

Back onto Drovers Way on the path down to Rose Hill. Some fallen trees in the wood.

Some small wooden bollards on the path. Not too far down to Rose Hill. A bit further on the path would get a bit muddy.

A while later on the walk back to Barnt Green Station, I was now on Barnt Green Road. At Kendal End was this wooden gate. A bit muddy here. Was near a quarry. All part of Bilberry Hill going this way.

At least two gates to the quarry at Kendal End. Some of the plants around here were still diseased so you had to stick to the footpaths and have clean footwear. Also don't remove plant material from the site.

Fingerposts to Barn Green Road Quarry and the other to the Visitor Centre.

I only briefly checked out this entrance before going back onto Barnt Green Road.

There was another path and gate to Kendal End a bit further down. Even from here was signs warning you about the diseased plants.

I will next for this area have to do a Cofton Park post. So watch this space. Coming soon.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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60 passion points
Classic Architecture
12 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

A visit to Blakesley Hall in the summer of 2014

On the first Sunday of the month you can visit Blakesley Hall for free. At the time in 2014 entry was usually £4 each. This visit to Blakesley Hall was during early August 2014. The timber framed house is located in Yardley on Blakesley  Road and was originally a farmhouse. Built in 1590 for Richard Smalbroke, whose family later gave their name to Smallbrook Queensway.

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A visit to Blakesley Hall in the summer of 2014





On the first Sunday of the month you can visit Blakesley Hall for free. At the time in 2014 entry was usually £4 each. This visit to Blakesley Hall was during early August 2014. The timber framed house is located in Yardley on Blakesley  Road and was originally a farmhouse. Built in 1590 for Richard Smalbroke, whose family later gave their name to Smallbrook Queensway.


Blakesley Hall

Taking advantage of the first Sunday of the month for free, we went to Blakesley Hall on Sunday 3rd August 2014. Normally entry would be £4. I had a chance to look around the garden as well as explore the house and all the rooms. In this post we will look at the exterior and interior of the hall.

Now for some history. Blakesley Hall is located on Blakesley Road in Yardley, now in Birmingham. It is a Grade II* listed building. At the time when it was built in 1590, Yardley was in Worcestershire. Built for a local Yardley man called Richard Smalbroke, it was built as a farmhouse. In was passed to his descendants until it ended up in the Greswolde family from 1685. They used it as a tenant farm for the next 200 years. Henry Donne bought the hall in 1899 who restored the house before selling it to the Merry family, who was the last family to live in the hall. It became a museum from 1935 onwards. Bomb damage in WW2 in 1941 meant that the hall didn't reopen until 1957. After the 1970s and with research the hall was restored to an authentic appearance as it was in 1684.

The Birmingham Museums Trust took over the running of the hall from Birmingham City Council in 2012.

There was a nearby village (which is today called Old Yardley Village and has a park called Old Yardley Park). For more on Old Yardley Village I have a post here Old Yardley Village: a hidden gem not far from Blakesley Hall.

 

Watercolour painting below of Blakesley Hall c. 1840-60 by A.E. Everitt (from a private collection).

Black and white view below of Blakesley Hall in 1890, when a pond was created by clay extraction, which was in a field opposite the house.

Black and white photo below showing the Merry family in 1910, they were preparing for haymaking. Tom Merry is at the back.

The above photos were taken from the Blakesley Hall Guide Book published by the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, 2003.

 

Before heading into Blakesley Hall I had a look all the way around the house from the gardens.

There was lavender growing on this side of the garden.

The right side of the house facing Blakesley Road. This was the entrance to the hall.

To the back of the house. The gardens were quite large and plenty to see in the summer.

The house has a few wings around the back. The kitchen dates to the mid 17th century. While there was an 18th century brick addition.

One more look around the back before heading inside.

The Hall

The table in the hall dates to around 1620. It was laid out like it could have been during the 1680s.

On this table in The Hall was some old newspapers, probably dating to the First World War, as one mentions British Soldier casualties in France. There was also an old inkwell and desk lamp and a framed black and white photo. Would have to assume of the Merry family who were living here during the 1914-18 War.

Spinning wheel in The Hall. Before mass production in factories, women would sew their own clothes at home for the family. This might be a modern one called an Ashford Spinning Wheel (made in New Zealand). Obviously a spinning wheel in the 17th Century would have been made in England!

The Great Parlour

This room was used for private dining, sitting and entertaining. There was a door from the garden so people could come and go without passing through the main Hall. Their is a set of replica panelled painted hangings on the wall. These depict the story of Joseph and his brothers in the Old Testament. Fireplace to the right of the table and chairs.

The Little Parlour

According to a 1684 inventory this room was a private family dining room. The most comfortable room in the house. Apparently their used to be a fireplace in here but where it is now is a mystery. Hangings were very fashionable in the 17th century, and their were reproductions in the room dyed in similar colours to what may have been used in the 17th century.

The Painted Chamber

One of the main bedrooms in the house. The tester bed dates to the 17th century. The bed curtains are replicas. Wall paintings in this room date from when the house was built and had been covered over, as at one point they were thought to be old fashioned. They were hidden until the 1950s when repairs to the house after WW2 took place.

The Servant's Chamber

Just a simple bed for the servant of the house in this room. While this room is displayed as the Servant's Chamber, the servant's would have actually slept in the attic on the second floor.

The servant had her own Spinning Wheel and bobbin in her room. Like the one on display here.

The Far-Bed Chamber

This room is furnished with replica items and reproduction wall hangings. The tester bed and other furniture in the room are accurate replicas of late 16th and 17th century pieces.

This chest has objects on top of it. They had something to do with the handmaiden cleaning the room.

Another view of the test bed in the Far Chamber. The door out to the first floor corridor.

One more view of the bed in the Far Chamber.

Heading down the stairs to the floor below.

Kitchen

This brick built kitchen was added to the back of the house in 1650. Before it was built, it is likely the Hall's original kitchen would have been in a separate building to reduce the risk of fire. The beams in the kitchen dates to 1350 suggesting that they may have been reused from the house that was previously on this site.

Typical objects in a late 17th century kitchen. Objects on the tables for preparing food. Also some early equipment for cleaning the floor, or washing the clothes.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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70 passion points
Classic Architecture
11 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

A tour of Soho House in the summer of 2010

Did you know that before the Birmingham Museums Trust took over from Birmingham City Council, you had to sign a disclaimer when you wanted to take photos around Soho House? My only visit to Soho House was in July 2010. It was the home of Matthew Boulton from 1766 until his death in 1809, so went the year after his bicentenary of his death. The Lunar Society met here in the late 18th C.

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A tour of Soho House in the summer of 2010





Did you know that before the Birmingham Museums Trust took over from Birmingham City Council, you had to sign a disclaimer when you wanted to take photos around Soho House? My only visit to Soho House was in July 2010. It was the home of Matthew Boulton from 1766 until his death in 1809, so went the year after his bicentenary of his death. The Lunar Society met here in the late 18th C.


Soho House

The Birmingham Museums Trust took over from the running of the museum at Soho House which was previously run by Birmingham City Council until 2012. At the time of my visit, I had to sign a form to get permission to take photos inside of the house (which I've not had to do since at other venues). The visit was during July 2010.

Some history.

The house located in Handsworth, was built for Matthew Boulton one of the 18th century's major entrepeneurs. Who ran the Soho Manufactory (taking over Soho Mill in 1761). Originally a cottage was on this site which he had expanded, making several changes. Boulton moved in during 1766 and he became one of the founding members of the Lunar Society. He hired Samuel Wyatt in 1789 to landscape the garden and extend the buildings. In 1796 his brother James Wyatt, made additions to the main front. It is now a Grade II* listed building.

When Matthew Boulton died in 1809, the house passed to his son, Matthew Robinson Boulton and later grandson Matthew Piers Watt Boulton who later sold the property in 1850. Over the years the house had a variety of owners. At one point it was a residential hostel for police officers. Birmingham City Council acquired the house in 1990 and opened it as a museum in 1995. In 2012 the Birmingham Museums Trust took over from the Council for running Soho House.

A map of the Soho area which was taken from Matthew Boulton's Notebook no. 27 dating to 1793 to 1799.

This view of the Soho Manufactory was taken from J. Bissett's Magnificent Directory, dating to 1800.

Below is a watercolour of Soho House painted by Paul Braddon.

The above images were taken from a guide book called "Matthew Boulton Bicentenary Celebrations", published by Birmingham City Council in 2009 (when Matthew Boulton has been dead for 200 years).

 

Plan of Soho, this map from when Matthew Robinon Boulton owned the estate from 1809 (death of his father) until 1842 (his own death). Including the Soho Manufactory. Soho House is to the right. Below used to be Soho Pool.

The above Public Domain Dedication image taken from the Birmingham Museums Trust Digital Image Resource. Which are Public Domain images free to download.

 

You can find my full Flickr album on Soho House here: Soho House, Handsworth.

Arriving at Soho House for the July 2010 visit.

There is a blue plaque on the wall for Matthew Boulton from the Birmingham Civic Society, stating that he lived here from 1766 to 1809.

This photo came out a bit blurry, despite some attempts to edit it. Also the man that worked here for the Council came out and sat on the bench. I think I had to sign the form for him.

View from the back of the garden. These garden views were taken after the look around the house.

Same photo as above but a different crop. There is a tea room on the right.

Now for a look around the rooms inside of Soho House.

Breakfast Room

This room would probably have been used by the Boulton family as an informal sitting room as well as a breakfast room. The marble chimney-piece is one of a number that survive throughout the house and dates from the late 1790s.

Drawing Room

The Drawing Room was one of the principal rooms in the house and would generally have been used only for entertaining guests or on other special occasions. Matthew Boulton purchased the japanned chairs for this room in 1798 from the cabinet maker James Newton.

To the left there was a bust of Matthew Boulton.

And to the right was a bust of James Watt.

Dining Room

The Dining Room of Soho House has come to be known as the Lunar Room, named after the Lunar Society who often met here. This eminent group of scientists and manufacturers met at Boulton's home to dine together, and to exchange ideas, discuss their inventions or entertain each other with scientific experiments.

The mirror and fireplace in the Dining Room aka the Lunar Room.

Entrance Hall

This portrait of Matthew Boulton was in the entrance hall.

Matthew Boulton's Study

Matthew Boulton filled his home with scientific instruments, equipment and books. to the left of the fireplace is a diagonal barometer by John Whitehurst of Derby, c. 1775. Above the chimneypiece is a pastel drawing "The Face of the Moon" by John Russell, c. 1795.

Fossilry

This room contains Matthew Boulton's large collection of geological specimens. In 1782 he created a "fossilry at his Manufactory to house his collection, and by 1803 it has been moved to this room, so that he could keep and study his specimens in his house. The mahogany cabinet contains drawers for storing geological specimens and is one of a pair formerly owned by Matthew Boulton.

Housekeeper's Room

This room was the kitchen of the house where the housekeeper would cook for the Boulton family.

They would prepare food on this table.

They would also do other tasks such as cleaning the house and the chimney.

Wine Cellar

Under the house was the extensive cellars at Soho House. They were used for the storage of wine, beer, ale, oil lamps, and some foodstuffs. This area was the wine cellar and still has it's original slate shelving.

This is also near the area used for the Furnace & Heating System. This cardboard cut out of a man showing the kind of tasks that were done down here. I'm not sure if he was carrying a bag of coal or disposing of the household waste?

The stairs from the different levels of the house. We were heading back up into the house.

Ladies Room

At the time I wasn't able to make out what this room was called or used for. There was a chair for a lady to sit on, and a dress on display. The chair was called a Day Bed and was made in 1805, probably for Miss Boulton (Matthew's daughter).

Miss Boulton's Sitting Room

This room was used by Matthew Boulton's daughter, Anne as a small sitting room. Anne Boulton who was born in 1768, spent most of her life at Soho House. She never married, and only moved to a house of her own in 1818 after her brother's marriage, when Soho House became his family home.

A portrait of Ann Boulton in the Sitting Room.

Matthew Boulton's Bedroom

This room became Matthew Boulton's bedroom c 1803, before this it was his library. The house was remodelled in the late 18th century and the handsome marble chimneypiece was probably put in as part of this work. The mahogany bed dates from the 18th century.

There was a portrait of Matthew Boulton in his bedroom. By Carl Frederick von Breda. There is a similar one at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (or it is the same one in their collection).

Miss Boulton's Bedroom

This room is displayed as Miss Boulton's Bedroom, although c 1800 she probably had a bedroom across the passage. By the 1780s, fashionable homes had begun to have highly co-ordinated interiors. There is a mahogany side table and japanned chairs, all by James Newton.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at more than 1,130 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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80 passion points
Green open spaces
06 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Memorials in Cannon Hill Park

There is at least three memorials now in Cannon Hill Park. Including the Boer War Memorial, also the Boy Scouts War Memorial (of 1924) near the Nature Centre. And more recently the memorial to the Sousse and Bardo Terrorist Attacks (which happened in 2015). This was unveiled by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex in March 2019.

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Memorials in Cannon Hill Park





There is at least three memorials now in Cannon Hill Park. Including the Boer War Memorial, also the Boy Scouts War Memorial (of 1924) near the Nature Centre. And more recently the memorial to the Sousse and Bardo Terrorist Attacks (which happened in 2015). This was unveiled by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex in March 2019.


Did you know that Cannon Hill Park has three memorials within the park?

The oldest of the three was the Boer War Memorial, which is now Grade II* listed. It was sculpted by Albert Toft. It was installed in 1906. The Boer War was fought in South Africa from 1899-1902 (Joseph Chamberlain was the Minister at the time that this war broke out).

The second oldest is the Boy Scouts War Memorial, on Queens Drive, on the footpath towards the Birmingham Nature Centre. It is Grade II listed and dates to 1924 in memory of local Boy Scouts who lost their lives in the First World War. The sculptor was William Haywood. It was later modified to remember those lives lost during the Second World War.

The most recent memorial sculpture is called Infinite Wave and was unveiled in March 2019 by HRH the Duke of Sussex (Prince Harry) in memory of the victims of the 2015 Sousse and Bardo Terrorist Attacks. It was designed by George King Architects.

 

Boer War Memorial

The Second Boer War was fought between 1899 and 1902 between the British Empire and two independent Boer states over the Empire's influence in South Africa. At the time Birmingham's own Joseph Chamberlain was the British Colonial Secretary. The Boer War Memorial was proposed to be in either Old Square or on Corporation Street in the City Centre but this was rejected in favour of Cannon Hill Park. This decision was taken in 1904. The memorial was designed by Albert Toft and unveiled in 1906. It was cleaned and repaired in 2012. It is now Grade II* listed.

The following photos below were taken in May 2009 on my then mobile phone camera, so the bronze was looking quite green at the time.

There was a cannon at the front.

Names of the soldiers around the sides.

And at the back of the plinth.

This side has a bronze plaque inscribed "TO  THE GLORIOUS MEMORY OF THE  SONS OF BIRMINGHAM  WHO FELL IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN WAR 1899-1902  AND TO PERPETUATE  THE EXAMPLE OF ALL WHO  SERVED IN THE WAR THIS MEMORIAL IS ERECTED BY THEIR FELLOW CITIZENS" .

By November 2009, I took my first bridge camera for a photo session around Cannon Hill Park, and that meant getting new photos of the Boer War Memorial (to try and improve on the mobile shots from the previous Spring). This was the approach from the back.

A close up of the statue. There is a large figure of a woman in the middle. Then a pair of male soldiers either side of a cannon.

Further back towards the Boer War Memorial. The flower beds didn't have much in them at this point.

The statue was surrounded by all these benches and bins. People who sit here, probably don't even realise what this memorial is for or represents. As not many people know about the Boer War (compared to WW1 and WW2).

The first of three plaques with the names of fallen Birmingham soldiers from the Boer War (1899-1902).

The second names plaque.

And the third names plaque.

I have been back to Cannon Hill Park many times over the years since, but not got new photos of the Boer War Memorial, even after it was restored (wasn't thinking about it).

Boy Scouts War Memorial

Queen's Ride is the road / path near Cannon Hill Park, and part of it is now the public car park of the park. Beyond the bollards is this war memorial on the walk towards the entrance of what was the Birmingham Nature Centre (now Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Centre). The Boy Scouts War Memorial has been Grade II listed since 2016. It was unveiled on the 27th July 1924 in memory of the local Boy Scouts who lost their lives during the First World War. The obelisk was designed by local Birmingham architect William Hayward (1877-1957). The memorial was conserved in 2012 by the Birmingham Museums Trust and Birmingham City Council.

The following photos were taken in December 2010 when there was a light dusting of snow on the ground.

Close up of the Boy Scouts War Memorial. Behind you can see the bollards on the Queen's Ride (car park behind). Queen's Ride was laid out in 1897 as a riding track, and later modified in 1920 when an avenue of trees was planted to commemorate the fallen Scouts.

This view of the Boy Scouts War Memorial towards the trees that line the path towards the Pershore Road.

In the late Victorian period, it is possible that people rode their horses and carts down here, but these days it's most likely to be cyclists on their bikes. The only cars at this end (or vans) from the Council groundsmen who maintain the park. This way to the entrance of the Nature Centre.

Was a couple of poppy wreaths at the base of the obelisk. From the Scouts. I would assume they were laid in early November 2010.

I have walked this route the odd time over the years. In the summer there is always colourful flowers planted around the Boy Scouts War Memorial. This was in July 2013.

More of the same in August 2014, red flowers, pink flowers and white flowers all the way around the obelisk.

In July 2018 there was mostly red flowers around the obelisk. You can tell that the memorial had been restored / cleaned up compared to my earlier photos. You can even see a smiley face on this side!

Infinite Wave

Birmingham's Cannon Hill Park was chosen to be the location of the Sousee and Bardo Memorial. It is a monument to the 31 British Nationals who lost their lives in two terrorists attacks in Tunisia in 2015. The project was commissioned by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It was unveiled in March 2019 by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex at a ceremony attended by over 300 guests. The architect was George King Architects.

I initially got photos of it in late February 2019, but was still barriers around it. I later came back for a proper look at it during late May 2019.

As you can see at the end of February 2019, Infinite Wave was almost complete but was barriers around it.

This was a few days before Prince Harry travelled to Birmingham to unveiled the memorial.

I couldn't get too close as the barriers were also near the main path in the park, but I would return near the end of the Spring for some updates.

I popped back to Cannon Hill Park near the end of May 2019 for a full look at the Sousse Memorial. Now known as Infinite Wave.

There is a path that leads up to the memorial sculpture.

Like with the other memorials in the park, there was this metal memorial plaque listing the naems of the victims of the Sousse and Bardo Terrorist Attacks.

Now time to walk around the wavey sculpture.

It meant going off the path and onto the grass.

It looks a bit like a spring, or one of those toys that you can push down the stairs, or between your hands.

It forms 31 individual streams, one for each victim who lost their lives in the attacks.

There is an area in the middle that visitors can stand in and admire the memorial.

Young children would probably run around in circles and have fun.

It pretty much looks the same on the other side.

I wonder if when the pandemic ends, if the Government would consider having a memorial here for those lost to the virus? What kind of memorial would you like to see in Cannon Hill Park for that?

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at over 1,130 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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70 passion points
Green open spaces
01 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Into the Warley Woods from a July 2017 visit

Back in July 2017 when I was on the Big Sleuth bear hunt, one of the bears would be in the Warley Woods. So I popped in there after Lightwoods Park to see Bentley the Bearwood Bear, before leaving to catch my next bus to Dudley (and later West Bromwich) for more bears in the Black Country. While there I passed a golf course. Plenty of history going back to the 18th century on this land.

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Into the Warley Woods from a July 2017 visit





Back in July 2017 when I was on the Big Sleuth bear hunt, one of the bears would be in the Warley Woods. So I popped in there after Lightwoods Park to see Bentley the Bearwood Bear, before leaving to catch my next bus to Dudley (and later West Bromwich) for more bears in the Black Country. While there I passed a golf course. Plenty of history going back to the 18th century on this land.


Welcome to the ... Warley Woods

 

My visit to the Warley Woods was during late July 2017. That day I was going on another Big Sleuth bear hunt around the Black Country, meaning I had to catch quite a lot of buses. My first two buses to Bearwood for Lightwoods Park. Then after I left the Warley Woods, another bus to Dudley, then later another bus to West Bromwich for the final bears I could find (and then a couple of more buses back home to Birmingham - it was a long day).

Now we will have a look back on my visit to the Warley Woods. But first some history (taken from Wikipedia).

The Warley Woods (sometimes also known as Warley Park or Warley Woods Park) is a public park in the Warley district of Smethwick, Sandwell. It was originally laid out by Humphry Repton. The estate which now forms the park was purchased by Samuel Galton, Jr. in the 1790s, at the time it was in Worcestershire. He commissioned Humphry Repton to landscape the fields and the building of the house. The house was occupied by his son Hubert in 1819.

The land was purchased by Birmingham City Council in 1902 and opened as a park in 1906. The house known locally as "Warley Abbey" was demolished in 1957. The park is now managed by the Warley Woods Community Trust who lease the land from Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council who themselves lease it from Birmingham City Council.

The drinking fountain dates to 1907 and was restored in 2009. There is also a nine hole golf course in the parkland.

 

Onto my actual visit to the Warley Woods from July 2017. The entrance gate at Lightwoods Hill and Barclay Road. Once you open the gate, close it behind you.

A notice board from the Warley Woods Community Trust and to the right was a map. Welcome to Warley Woods The Peoples Park.

Heading up the path amongst the trees.

Not much grass under the trees, there was some, but was mostly just soil.

So many trees in the woods, you wouldn't know that you were in the urban Sandwell. Could be the countryside. But then again it was in the late 18th century when this was in Worcestershire.

Getting close to the Big Sleuth bear I was looking for. The wooded part near the corner of Lightwoods Hill and Barclay Road gives way to a large field.

Here it is. The Big Sleuth bear I was looking for. Bentley the Bearwood Bear by the artist Rebecca Cresswell working with PAID (Positive Activities Innovative Development) and it was funded by PAID and Sandwell Council.

The back of Bentley the Bearwood Bear. It would later end up in Lightwoods Park in front of Lightwoods House (see my Lightwoods House post). I saw it again in November 2017.

To see Bentley the Bearwood Bear outside his new home check out this post: The restoration of Lightwoods House in Lightwoods Park.

A look at the Drinking Fountain. It was made in 1906 and 1907 and was restored in 2009. There is a similar drinking fountain in Lightwoods Park.

Heading onto the next path after the Big Sleuth bear, this path leads to the golf course.

The path actually goes through the golf course. But you have to stick to the perimeter. I can't recall if any games of golf were being played at the time I was there.

One of the sandpits in Warley Woods Golf Course. With a yellow flagpole in the hole.

Another yellow flagpole in a golf hole, was slightly hilly there.

One last look at the golf course before I exited the Warley Woods.

The gate from Harborne Road just before I headed to get my next bus to Dudley. As before when you open the gate, close it behind you. The bus stop I needed would be on the Wolverhampton Road.

Follow Warley Woods on Twitter.

 

I've got plenty more photos from other parks around the Black Country, and hopefully will be doing posts on those as and when the projects are set up for me.

Not too far from here is Leasowes Park in Halesowen. Which I visited in February 2018. Other recent parks I found include Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge (July 2019 visit) and West Park in Wolverhampton (which I found in March 2019).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at more than 1,120 followers. Thank you.

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