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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
22 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Sunset & Moonlit Parks at Park Central

I've only really been past Sunset & Moonlit Parks at Park Central during February 2012, and not been back since (but have walked near Park Central in the years since). So memory will be a bit hazy being that this was from 9 years ago. Sunset Park is between Alfred Knight Way and Mason Way. Moonlit Park is between Bell Barn Road and Mosedale Way. In the Lee Bank area of Birmingham.

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Sunset & Moonlit Parks at Park Central





I've only really been past Sunset & Moonlit Parks at Park Central during February 2012, and not been back since (but have walked near Park Central in the years since). So memory will be a bit hazy being that this was from 9 years ago. Sunset Park is between Alfred Knight Way and Mason Way. Moonlit Park is between Bell Barn Road and Mosedale Way. In the Lee Bank area of Birmingham.


Both Sunset Park and Moonlit Park can be found between Lee Bank Middleway and Bath Row at the Park Central development in the Lee Bank area of Central Birmingham. They stretch as far as Bristol Street.

This explore of the buildings around Park Central was during February 2012, but I didn't actually go into the parks at the time, and have not been back since. But in the years since, have done walks down Lee Bank Middleway, Bristol Street and Bath Row. Plus got photos of the new corner development (Roosevelt Luxury Apartments) near the Belgrave Interchange (including the new cycle paths).

 

Sunset Park

These views of Sunset Park taken on a walk down Alfred Knight Way. Probably got here via Wheeleys Lane and Longleat Avenue.

There is this metal ramp structure with metal steps in the park.

Passing the railings on Alfred Knight Way, probably looking at the apartment buildings opposite.

These apartments are certainly an improvement to what used to be here before.

Again looking more at the apartments and less at the park. Next heading onto Bell Barn Road.

 

Moonlit Park

Next up passing Moonlit Park on Bell Barn Road.

Looks like a metal sculpture on concrete pillars.

Moonlit Park seen over on Bell Barn Road to the far right.

Basketball Court near Bell Barn Road.

Children's Play Area seen from Bell Barn Road, with what looks like a climbing frame for kids.

Corner of the park near Mosedale Way.

 

Maybe once the 3rd lockdown ends, and I can go on the bus again, I might make an effort to travel to these parks and walk through them, never really thought about them in the past.

 

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

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60 passion points
History & heritage
22 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

A visit to Dudmaston Estate during October 2020

The last National Trust property visit of 2020 was to Dudmaston Estate in October 2020. It's in Shropshire. A 17th Century country house (not open apart from a gallery inside). Near the village of Quatt. As before booked the tickets online for a slot. The grounds you could walk about and explore. Tea Room was open, but you had to have your tea or coffee at picnic tables outside.

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A visit to Dudmaston Estate during October 2020





The last National Trust property visit of 2020 was to Dudmaston Estate in October 2020. It's in Shropshire. A 17th Century country house (not open apart from a gallery inside). Near the village of Quatt. As before booked the tickets online for a slot. The grounds you could walk about and explore. Tea Room was open, but you had to have your tea or coffee at picnic tables outside.


Dudmaston

The National Trust property of Dudmaston is located near the village of Quatt in Shropshire. The country house dates to the 17th century. There is former farm buildings, some of which have been converted into a tea room and second hand book shop. There was a gallery you could visit (sanitise your hands before going in), but no photography allowed inside for copyright reasons (I think the family still live in the house). Tickets and time slot as before booked via the National Trust website (with tickets on EventBrite). If there was a gift shop, I think it was closed.

This visit was on the 18th October 2020 (so was about half a month before the second lockdown began).

 

Outbuildings at Dudmaston

The Outbuildings from the lawn. Near here was picnic tables. A queue for the toilets, sanitise your hands, wer your mask if you go in.

 

A courtyard near the Outbuildings. All the rooms here were closed. There was a one way system in place, so if you wanted, you could enter the gardens from this gate on the right.

 

The Outbuildings from the garden. Due to the one way system in place, if you went out of the garden, then back in, you had to head this way to get out.

 

This gate to the courtyard looked nice, but it was no entry this way (you could only walk through them from the other direction).

 

Private garden seen over the fence from the Kitchen Garden. Far end of the Outbuildings.


 

Dudmaston Hall

Round the back of Dudmaston Hall. A tent with National Trust volunteer, to register you before going into the exhibition / gallery. Sanitise your hands again, mask on. No photos allowed inside (tempting as it was).

 

The back of Dudmaston Hall. It is a Grade II* listed building. A Queen Anne mansion. Built of red brick with stone dressings. Was also a 19th Century office and stable wing built in the Elizabethan style. Couldn't cross the rope on the left.

 

Heading down the hill, a look at Dudmaston Hall, an impresive looking house.

 

There was this Red Ivy going down the house. A bit like those poppy art installations around Remembrance time. Some old steps with urns.

 

Another view of the house with the Red Ivy in the middle.

 

The Red Ivy looked wonderful from any angle in the parkland.

 

You could have a walk around the Dingle Walk. Eventually you would end up at the back of the Big Pool, with this wonderful picturesque view of Dudmaston Hall.

 

Parkland and gardens

A look down to the Big Pool at Dudmaston Estate.

 

Sculpture in the garden, part of a trail. Spaceframe sculpted by Anthony Twentyman during 1985.

 

Seated bench area for relaxing and looking at the views of the picturesque parkland.

 

Greylag geese flying and landing in the Big Pool.

 

The Kitchen Garden. Pumpkins in the greenhouse before Halloween.

 

Fingerpost on the Dingle Walk. Head right to the Garden, or left to the Dingle Walk.

 

Kept spotting this brick boathouse near the Big Pool, although didn't see any boats in the lake.

 

The South Lodge seen from the car as we left Dudmaston Estate. Now a private house. A Grade II listed building dating to the early 19th Century. Made of coursed sandstone rubble, with a tiled roof. The gate on exiting the estate was an automatic electric gate.

 

Hope to visit more National Trust properties in 2021, after the 3rd lockdown ends, if we are allowed to travel far again. Especially in the Spring or Summer months.

 

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

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70 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
22 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Yellow O's at the Oaklands Recreation Ground

A lockdown walk to the Oaklands Recreation Ground in South Yardley on the 17th February 2021 (a distance I'd usually get the bus to in normal times). Saw all these yellow O sculptures plus purple I's. I would guess they were installed by the Yardley Arts Forum sometime during 2020. Nice to see. The walk was too long, next time I'm getting a bus there (after lockdown ends).

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Yellow O's at the Oaklands Recreation Ground





A lockdown walk to the Oaklands Recreation Ground in South Yardley on the 17th February 2021 (a distance I'd usually get the bus to in normal times). Saw all these yellow O sculptures plus purple I's. I would guess they were installed by the Yardley Arts Forum sometime during 2020. Nice to see. The walk was too long, next time I'm getting a bus there (after lockdown ends).


A walk of over 12,000 steps and almost 6 miles (via Acocks Green). I walked on Wednesday 17th February 2021 to South Yardley. Not renewed my pass since before we entered this third lockdown (and not been on a bus in a month and half now). Mainly to see the skyline again from the Oaklands Recreation Ground.

While there found all these new yellow O sculptures and purple I sculptures. Plus they are starting to built wildlife friendly planting areas. So development of this park continues into 2021.

 

The first yellow O I saw on entering the Oaklands Recreation Ground was from the entrance on Church Road. Says I love Oaklands on all of them.

 

The yellow O's were scattered all over the park.

 

Some placed at different angles near the paths.

 

This yellow O with a view to the Swan Shopping Centre (with Tesco Extra), Bakeman House and Equipoint.

 

Towards Church Road with this yellow O. Some people have already tagged them sadly.

 

Back on the semi circle Church Road and got this view of 103 Colmore Row and the BT Tower with a yellow O. Wondered if I could have lined it up with 103 Colmore Row inside of the O?

 

Also when first entering from Church Road, saw these purple I's slanted in the soil.

 

They are creating wildlife friendly planting areas here. Seen close to Equipoint and the Tesco Extra petrol station.

 

Some more purple I's on the path to the other end of Church Road.

There was about 7 purple I's here around the path, and one yellow O. View to the Birmingham skyline. The Mercian was visible to the right of it, about 6 miles distance away.

 

One of the yellow O sculptures was also visible with the Birmingham skyline from the Oaklands Recreation Ground.

 

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

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70 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
17 Feb 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

The Floral Trail and The Big Hoot in Centenary Square

Taking Centenary Square back in time. The Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail pieces in the square in the summers from 2010 and 2016 (most of which won gold at Chelsea). Also the owls of The Big Hoot over the summer of 2015. The Big Sleuth didn't have any bears in the square during the summer of 2017 due to the renovation works in the square (which didn't finish until 2019).

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The Floral Trail and The Big Hoot in Centenary Square





Taking Centenary Square back in time. The Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail pieces in the square in the summers from 2010 and 2016 (most of which won gold at Chelsea). Also the owls of The Big Hoot over the summer of 2015. The Big Sleuth didn't have any bears in the square during the summer of 2017 due to the renovation works in the square (which didn't finish until 2019).


Birmingham City Centre Floral Trail

Birmingham Parks & Nurseries (aka Cofton Nursery) have over the years been making floral trail pieces to go on display in the City Centre every summer. But first they take the main display to the Chelsea Flower Show and Gardeners World Live, where they usually win the Gold prize. These are the floral trail features spotted over the years in Centenary Square.

Living Wall, Summer 2010

In the summer of 2010 there was the Living Wall on the hoardings of the Library of Birmingham construction site. Around July 2010, the wall was half complete at the time.

 

Another look at the Living Wall in August 2010, towards the Hyatt Hotel. You can see the former Municipal Bank on the left.

The Living Wall remained in place for the rest of summer 2010, before it was moved to a more permanent location (there is now permanent living walls at Aston University, Birmingham New Street Station and Birmingham Snow Hill Station, but not sure where it went).

 

The Plight of the Gorilla, Summer 2011

Seen outside of the Library of Birmingham construction site hoardings was The Plight of the Gorilla. Seen during July 2011. It won Silver at the Chelsea Flower Show and Gold at Gardeners World Live in 2011.

At the top was a sculpture of a gorilla.

Below the gorilla was a waterfall over a rock garden.

The water was flowing down the waterfall below the gorilla.

It was very impressive to see, the flowers and plants around it looked nice as well.

 

The Best of Birmingham, Summer 2012

After winning Gold at the Chelsea Flower Show, and Gold and Best of Show at Gardeners World Live in 2012, this floral feature from Birmingham City Council called The Best of Birmingham, was split in two. One half in Centenary Square featured a Mini, a Silver Spoon and Birmingham Town Hall. The other half was in St Martin's Square at the Bullring and included the Bullring Bull, Selfridges and the Birmingham canals with a narrowboat. Seen here during August 2012 next to the Library of Birmingham (about a year before it opened to the public).

A close up of the Mini, covered all over with a floral skin. It was later displayed at Longbridge Island over August 2013, for Birmingham's entry into the Entente Florale Europe 2013.

The silver spoon acted as a fountain, and probably represented the Jewellery Quarter.

Plenty of colourful flowers around this section. You can see why Birmingham win's Gold every year at Chelsea!

 

Enlightenment, Summer 2013

As the Library of Birmingham got ready to open in September 2013, around August 2013, you could see pieces from a floral trail feature called Enlightenment. Which included models of The Two Towers (Perrott's Folly and the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower) plus a deckchair. As well as being part of Summer 2013's City Centre Floral Trail, it was also part of Birmingham's entry into the Entente Florale Europe 2013.

Here you could see the metal sculpture of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower, as it looks like a man walking past Baskerville House was dressed as Spider-Man!

This view of the model of the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower towards The Library of Birmingham.

There was lots of summery flowers around in the landscaped garden in front of the new library.

Also the model of Perrott's Folly towards The Library of Birmingham.

View of the Two Towers in the garden outside of the new Library. These days you can find the models at Sarehole Mill. But in the late summer of 2013 you could see them with the Hyatt Hotel and Symphony Hall.

Boulton, Watt & Murdoch could be seen with the Edgbaston Waterworks Tower. All this seen over fences, as the Library and the landscaped grounds wouldn't open until early September 2013.

View of Perrott's Folly towards The ICC, The REP and the Library of Birmingham.

The deckchair was covered in the same floral material as the Mini was the year before.

 

City of Birmingham Ambulance Train, Summer 2014

August 2014 marked the 100th Anniversary of the start of the First World War, so Cofton Nursery that summer had a trailer of features around the City Centre commemorating Britain's entry into that war. Outside of the Library of Birmingham seen in July 2014 was this floral feature of a train. From the view below you can see the link from The REP to the Library of Birmingham.

This view of the train towards the Library of Birmingham and Baskerville House.

Behind the train was the landscaped garden in front of the Library. It lasted from 2013 to 2017 before being removed. The Hall of Memory to the left. The floral train was later placed outside Birmingham Snow Hill Station in the summer of 2015 (the public square near Colmore Row).

 

Skull and a Book, Summer 2016

The last floral trail piece to be in Centenary Square was this outside of the Library of Birmingham. Resembled a skull with an open book in front of it. The grass behind hadn't faired to well between 2013 and 2017, and would be removed in the 2017 renovation works of the square.

This would be the last floral trail piece to be in the square before the square was revamped from 2017 to 2019. At least in a summer.

 

The Mo Bot, Winter 2018

This is a bonus one. When the World Indoor Athletics Championships came to Arena Birmingham in March 2018, Cofton Nursery got their wicker sculptures out (no flowers). Was strange seeing them in the winter with snow on them. The Mo Bot, based on Mo Farah, was seen in Centenary Square (closed to the Edward VII statue), while the square was in it's second year of renovation works. This February 2018 view as it was snowing.

 

By March 2018, after the WIAC had ended, I saw workers removing The Mo Bot and putting it on the back of a lorry. They had two small lorries. One to take the soil away, the other to remove the wicker sculpture.

The zoom ins from the Library of Birmingham. Already on the back of this lorry was the Usian Bolt wicker sculpture, originally made in 2012, for their London 2012 floral trail. It had been taken down from Victoria Square (was in front of the Town Hall at the time).

Two Council workmen digging up the soil, while another prepares the Mo Farah sculpture for removal.

Just a pair of red shorts, the purple t-shirt had already gone.

 

 

The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015

Now onto The Big Hoot. In Centenary Square there was about 5 Big Hoot painted owls from July 2015, for around 10 weeks. Before they were auctioned off for the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity.

Jack

Located outside of the Hall of Memory was Jack. It was by the artist Martin Band. And was sponsored by JLT Specialty Limited. Seen during July 2015.

Jack was designed by the Union Jack (the British National flag).

He had the Union Jack on the back as well.

 

Wise Old Owl

This Wise Old Owl was designed by the artists Kieron Reilly and Lynsey Brecknell. The sponsor was Gateley Plc. They designed it to look like the Library of Birmingham (which you can see behind). Seen during July 2015.

It closely matches the golds and blues of the Library, plus the silvers and blacks of the circles.

 

TropicOwl

The owl named TropicOwl was painted by the artist Jenny Leonard. The sponsor was Twycross Zoo. Resembles a jungle with chimpanzees. Seen during July 2015 outside of the Library of Birmingham.

 

At the back was more features of a jungle, plus giraffes in a desert. This view to Baskerville House.

 

Owlbert

The owl called Owlbert was painted by the artist Meghan Allbright. The sponsor was University College Birmingham. Seen outside the Library of Birmingham during July 2015.

This view towards Symphony Hall, The ICC and The REP. It was a rainy day that I saw these owls.

 

Welcome to Birmingham

Outside of Symphony Hall in Centenary Square was an owl called Welcome to Birmingham. Painted by the artist Laura Hallett. The sponsor was Pertemps Network. Seen during August 2015, with a reflection of the Library of Birmingham and The REP.

The design featured, Selfridges, the Library of Birmingham, the canals and more.

 

Bonus content on Centenary Way

Back in Febrauary 2013 there was a trail for one week called The Big Egg Hunt. These same eggs went from City to City. Two eggs were on Centenary Way at the time.

The first egg resembled the Rocket Ship from Wallace & Gromit's A Grand Day Out. Seen towards the Hall of Memory.

The charity at the time was Action for Children. The next egg was behind, on the way to the Hall of Memory.

The second egg on Centenary Way was of Ben 10 Omniverse, close to Chamberlain House (demolished in 2018).

 

The Big Sleuth did not come to Centenary Square, for obvious reasons in 2017, as that's when they began revamping the square, but there was one bear on Centenary Way near Paradise Birmingham.

 

Memoirs of Paradise

This Big Sleuth bear was on Centenary Way, close to the One Chamberlain Square construction site of Paradise Birmingham. Memoirs of Paradise was painted by the artist Gayani Ariyarante. The sponsor was Paradise. Seen during July 2017. Shows what a real paradise looks like! By August 2017, someone had knocked this one over, and they had to remove and repair it, before putting it back in it's place.

 

There was more to be found in the Library of Birmingham, 4 little owls in 2015 and 4 little bears in 2017. There was a Big Hoot owl inside of The ICC mall, and another outside at the canalside (in 2015). Plus a Big Sleuth bear at canalside (in 2017).

 

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

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