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29 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Greet Mill Meadow in the Shire Country Park

Another part of the Millstream Way in the Shire Country Park is the Greet Mill Meadow. It goes from Green Road to the Stratford Road in Hall Green (leading to Springfield / Sparkhill). Running alongside the River Cole. At certain points there is stepping stones with waterfalls. Named after the lost Greet Mill of the 13th century, of which no traces remain above ground. Near Sarehole Road.

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The Greet Mill Meadow in the Shire Country Park





Another part of the Millstream Way in the Shire Country Park is the Greet Mill Meadow. It goes from Green Road to the Stratford Road in Hall Green (leading to Springfield / Sparkhill). Running alongside the River Cole. At certain points there is stepping stones with waterfalls. Named after the lost Greet Mill of the 13th century, of which no traces remain above ground. Near Sarehole Road.


Greet Mill Meadow in the Shire Country Park

Beyond the ford on Green Road is the Greet Mill Meadow. The path in here runs towards the Stratford Road in Hall Green alongside the River Cole. Sarehole Road is to the east (where Druckers Vienna Patisserie used to be before they went out of business). Tenby Road is to the west. An exit / entrance halfway goes onto Bankside which leads to Tenby Road. Near the Stratford Road you will be able to see Mughal & Azam (had a recent fire so the roof was damaged). That is also near Colgreave Avenue. It was formerly the Sparkhill United Church. Was built as a Congregational church 1932-3 by W H Bidlake. It is Grade II listed.

The Greet Mill Meadow is part of the Millstream Way, which is part of the Cole Valley Walk. It was the site of a 13th century mill called Greet Mill, where the walkway here got it's name from, but it has vanished like it was never even here. The first reference to Greet Mill by name was in 1275. That date might not be when it was founded as that was when Roger Fullard was drowned near Greet Mill. The mill was the property of Greet Manor, which was near the Warwick Road, about three quarters of a mile away downstream. The first miller to be recorded was Henry Heath in 1587. The mill was sold to Matthew Boulton in 1762, who seems like he rebuilt both Sarehole Mill and Greet Mill. Greet Mill went out of use by 1843. It's last years was used for steel rolling. The last miller was John Biscoe, and the mill might have been demolished in the 1850s.

The River Cole was diverted in about 1860. The old bridge on the Stratford Road was replaced by a new stone bridge which opened in 1914. By then Birmingham City Council had taken over the running of the area from the former Yardley Rural District Council in 1911. Greet Mill used to be in the news whenever someone was drowned there a few times in the 1790s.

2009

I first popped into the Greet Mill Meadow in April 2009. The mosiac of a fish seen at the Green Road entrance. In the years since, I've noticed that it is missing a lot of tiles, and could do with repairing (either by the Canal & River Trust or Birmingham City Council).

A damaged tree from the path. I didn't go too far as wanted to avoid the youths, so turned back and walked up Sarehole Road.

Before I turned back I saw the first stepping stones for the first time. Too risky to cross at this time as the river level was quite high.

I re-entered the Greet Mill Meadow at the Stratford Road, and saw this heart shaped mosaic. I think this one has faired better over the years since I first saw it.

The fingerpost in the Greet Mill Meadow near the Stratford Road Bridge. To the left is the Burbury Brickworks (via the Blackberry Way). Sarehole Mill is to the right.

The waterfall seen from the Stratford Road bridge which opened in 1914. The water in the River Cole was fast flowing that day.

Another look at the waterfall. Would be years before I would return to the Greet Mill Meadow for a walk. After this I probably got a no 1 bus to Moseley Village, then a 50 up to Moseley Road Baths (for my first photos of the building).

2015

In August 2015, I did a complete walk through of the Greet Mill Meadow, I think starting at the Stratford Road and ending at Green Road. Only got photos of the stepping stones at the time. The first stepping stones with a waterfall. I did not cross it. But much calmer than 6 years earlier.

It is possible to cross over the stepping stones if you want to, just be careful, and don't slip into the River Cole! I think there must be paths in the woodland near Sarehole Road.

Another look at the second set of stepping stones. Much calmer this time around. I wouldn't return to the Greet Mill Meadow until during the 2020 lockdown.

2020

The lockdown daily walk in the Greet Mill Meadow was during May 2020, towards the Blackberry Way and Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve and back. Got more photos in here than ever before! The path was lined on the side by cow parsley and long grass. The route was so busy with families going on their daily walks.

Part of the River Cole was quite shallow, and it looks like cyclists could ride their bikes through to the other side.

Partway along the path was a path to the left. This leads to Bankside and Tenby Road.

Another look at the stepping stones. While we didn't cross the stepping stones, I did see various families crossing them.

May 2020 was without rain and the River Cole was quite shallow. So it would have been safe to cross the stepping stones, if you wanted to.

The path continues towards the Stratford Road, as it's lined with all that cow parsley.

An open field. The path to the left leads to Colgreave Avenue and the car park for Mughal & Azam. The building had a fire months ago, so the roof was covered in a material. They must be devestated by the fire. As it must cost a lot to repair the venue. And they would have to be closed for the duration of the lockdown. Sadly I don't think they will be ready to reopen in July 2020, at least not until the restaurant (ex church) is fully repaired.

View of the Stratford Road Bridge. Opened in 1914, it allows traffic to go towards the College Arms up Shaftmoor Lane or the Stratford Road in Hall Green. Sparkhill is in the other direction. We were about to cross the road into the Blackberry Way. I even saw a rat here, so litter is a bit of an issue around here.

Later on the walk back from the Burbury Brickworks and Blackberry Way. Back in the Greet Mill Meadow. View to one of the stepping stones with some ducks in the River Cole.

One of the stepping stones had people on it earlier, so was able to get a new photo of it on the way back. The River Cole looks so calm and peaceful here. It's hard to tell that there even used to be a mill around here, what with all the trees all over the place. Was also a lost mill pool, that must now be part of the Cole here.

Another view looking down the River Cole, before heading down the path and back into the Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground.

I will cover the Blackberry Way and Burbury Brickworks in a separate post.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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Green open spaces
29 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Summerfield Park at the end of the Harborne Walkway

The only time (so far) that I've been to Summerfield Park was back in February 2016, after completing the second half of my Harborne Walkway walk. The park opened in 1876 by the then Mayor of Birmingham, Joseph Chamberlain (in his last year of office before becoming an MP). The park goes up to the Dudley Road. There is remains of an outdoor theatre or bandstand dating to 1907.

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Summerfield Park at the end of the Harborne Walkway





The only time (so far) that I've been to Summerfield Park was back in February 2016, after completing the second half of my Harborne Walkway walk. The park opened in 1876 by the then Mayor of Birmingham, Joseph Chamberlain (in his last year of office before becoming an MP). The park goes up to the Dudley Road. There is remains of an outdoor theatre or bandstand dating to 1907.


Summerfield Park

Welcome to Summerfield Park. It is one of the oldest parks in Birmingham having opened in 1876. Opened by the Mayor of Birmingham, Mr Joseph Chamberlain (in his last year of office before becoming an MP). The park was formerly the estate of the late Mr Joseph Chance, where he lived at Summerfield House (which was demolished in 1889). The Council purchased more land in 1892, reaching the current park size of 34 acres. The park features a magnificent brick bandstand (or outdoor theatre), built in 1907. The park lies at the end of the Harborne Walkway, which means that the former Harborne Walkway used to pass by from the south west to the north east corner of the park.

It is possible that the largest public gathering took place here in Summerfield Park back in 1906 to celebrate Joseph Chamberlain's 70th birthday. When 15,000 people turned out to greet him.

Surrounded by Dudley Road, City Road, Selwyn Road, Gillott Road and Icknield Port Road. The park is also close by to Edgbaston Reservoir.

 

Onto my visit from February 2016.

Entering Summerfield Park from the end of the Harborne Walkway. Although technically the Harborne Walkway continues a little bit further into the park. Tall trees and the path.

View of the play area near City Road. While gulls were on the lawn.

Nice shadows from the trees as the path from the Harborne Walkway joins into the park.

Houses on City Road behind the trees.

The path goes straight towards the Dudley Road, but will bend to the left before reaching Icknield Port Road.

This gate is the exit to West Gate before Gillott Road.

Continuing on the path further into Summerfield Park.

Rugby goal post.

The next gate leads to East Gate and Gillott Road.

The back of the brick bandstand (or outdoor theatre). It was built in 1907.

There is an entrance for performers at the back. Just go up the steps. Perhaps there used to be a door there now, but not now.

The bandstand was looking very derelict in 2016. I'm not sure if it's the same state now.

The Council could do with investing in the restoration of this bandstand. And when things go back to "normal" have performances take place here in the future?

The second playground / play area was close to Dudley Road.

Now onto one of The Big Hoot Birmingham 2015 owls I missed seeing in 2015.  This one was called Papa Winson. The artist was Colin Gabbidon working with Ladywood Arts Forum. It was funded by Birmingham City Council and the Big Lottery Fund. Seen from the back. It was located not too far from Winson Green.

Side viewof Papa Winson with a shadow to the right.

The front view of Papa Winson wasn't too great in the sunshine at this time of the day (just before 1pm on 25/02/2016).

Near the Dudley Road entrance was this Welcome to Summerfield Park sign and map, with some history.

The reverse side has a modern map of the park.

Next to the welcome sign was the former Dudley Road Police Station. Also known as Summerfield Police Station. It has been derelict since the West Midlands Police moved to a new police station on Icknield Port Road. This building has been threatened with demolition. But hopefully the Victorian Society can save it?

See this Tweet here on Summerfield Police Station by the Victorian Society. According to Birmingham City Council in the same thread it is not threatened with demolition.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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Art, culture & creativity
26 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Summer fun fair at Dartmouth Park in West Bromwich

Every summer there used to be a fun fair in Dartmouth Park in West Bromwich. The first time I saw it was in July 2017 on the way to Sandwell Valley on the Big Sleuth trail. Saw again last summer during August 2019, when I popped into the park to cross the footbridge over The Expressway. I expect it is cancelled for summer 2020. So enjoy this gallery from two of the previous summers.

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Summer fun fair at Dartmouth Park in West Bromwich





Every summer there used to be a fun fair in Dartmouth Park in West Bromwich. The first time I saw it was in July 2017 on the way to Sandwell Valley on the Big Sleuth trail. Saw again last summer during August 2019, when I popped into the park to cross the footbridge over The Expressway. I expect it is cancelled for summer 2020. So enjoy this gallery from two of the previous summers.


Fun Fair at Dartmouth Park

I first passed through Dartmouth Park in July 2017. Located near West Bromwich Town Centre and Sandwell Valley Country Park. The main entrance is on Reform Street through a set of gates near the gatehouse. There is also a footbridge that goes over The Expressway which takes you to Beeches Road. The park has a war memorial and a bandstand. There is also a boating lake and a children's play area.

For my post on Sandwell Valley Country Park, click on this link here: Summer fun fair and The Big Sleuth at the Sandwell Valley Country Park (July 2017).

2017

Pat Collin's Fun Fair was on from the 27th to 30th July 2017 in Dartmouth Park. The fun fair was established almost 150 years ago in 1875. They are based in Brownhills, Walsall.

I first saw the lorries from the fun fair on the main path into the park from the Reform Stret entrance.

The fun fair lorries from the back. They would have also had some caravans there.

Back of the Ghost Train.

A ride called Atmosphere, but was folded up at the back of this lorry.

Close up of Atmosphere.

Was also this Dodgems ride and teacup ride. But both were folded up during the day.

2019

Back in West Bromwich in early August 2019, I had another walk into Dartmouth Park after I left the Town Centre. And saw this fun fair there. I saw a sign outside the park that said "Sandwell Valley Children's Fun Fair - open weekends every day during holidays". I'm not sure if it referred to the fun fair in Dartmouth Park, or the one in Sandwell Valley Country Park.

But it was Pat Collins Fun Fair again. Rides here included Jumping Jack and Dodgem.

This ride was called Scream.

Ghost Train from the front this time around. The bouncy castle was deflated.

Dodgem and Freeway / Route 66.

A look towards the Freeway ride, not far from the bandstand. But they were setting it up at the time.

One of the caravans near Freeway.

After this I took the path the footbridge that crosses over The Expressway. It goes around in circles on both sides. My next Dartmouth Park post will include the rest of my previous visits to this park (excluding the fun fair which you can see above here).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

 

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Green open spaces
24 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Cofton Park in Rednal and near Longbridge

Cofton Park is close to Longbridge and Rednal as well as being not far from the Lickey Hills Country Park. Back in April 2013, when I first tried to get to Beacon Hill, I ended up going to Cofton Park instead. At the time it was close to the MG Motor factory on Lowhill Lane. The Council bought the land in 1933.

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Cofton Park in Rednal and near Longbridge





Cofton Park is close to Longbridge and Rednal as well as being not far from the Lickey Hills Country Park. Back in April 2013, when I first tried to get to Beacon Hill, I ended up going to Cofton Park instead. At the time it was close to the MG Motor factory on Lowhill Lane. The Council bought the land in 1933.


Cofton Park

Cofton Park is located close to Longbridge, and is also near Rednal and Cofton Hackett in South West Birmingham. The park is surrounded by Lowhill Lane, near what was the MG Motor factory (the Chinese owned SAIC Motor UK Technical Centre Ltd), Groveley Lane and Lickey Road. The Lickey Hills Country Park is nearby.

The park has 135 acres of rolling fields and trees, and is mainly open grassland. In the centre of the park is a small woodland. The park was once the boundary of Lowhill Farm. Birmingham City Council bought the land in 1933 from the Trustees for William Walter Hinde. He left the land in his will to be used by the people of Birmingham forever. There is an old farmhouse at the centre of the park.

Cofton Plant Nursery is also based here. Selling high quality bedding and shrubs to the public. They also make the public displays for the Chelsea Flower Show and Gardeners World Live (they later go on display around the City Centre or elsewhere in the City).

In September 2010 at Cofton Park, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated mass here for the beautification of Cardinal John Henry Newman. It was attended by a crowd of over 51,000 people. Cofton Park had a capacity of 80,000 people. Newman was later elevated to the Sainthood by Pope Francis in 2019 (but this took place in the Vatican City, Rome).

2013

In April 2013, I walked down Lickey Road heading towards the Lickey Hills Country Park. But at that time I didn't know which way to walk to Beacon Hill. I did go around some of the roads near the Lickey's in Cofton Hackett but ended up going to Cofton Park instead (I ended up returning and trying again for Beacon Hill two weeks later).

The walk down the Lickey Road past Cofton Park. Lowhill Lane is to the left.

At the time I was aiming to get to the Lickey Hills Country Park and not thinking about ending up in Cofton Park.

The entrance to Cofton Park Nursery from Lickey Road. At the time they had a Summer Plant Sale. And this was in April 2013.

I was on the other side of the road to Cofton Park, but you can see it lines down Lickey Road.

A closed gate from the Lickey Road.

One last look down the Lickey Road past Cofton Park, before I got close to the Lickey Hills.

After going up a bit of Rose Hill and part way up Barnt Green Road and back, I next headed up Groveley Lane past Cofton Park.

The entrance to Cofton Park from Groveley Lane which I took to go into the park.

I headed up the path from Groveley Lane in Cofton Hackett.

Apart from the main path, the park is mostly open fields with trees.

At the top of the hill from the path is a view of the trees at the Lickey Hills.

Panoramic of the Lickey Hills view.

The panoramic was stitched together using photos such as the one below.

The view towards MG Motor.

MG Motor had both British and Chinese flags outside.

Zoom in to the Lickey Hills. At this point I was wondering how I would get up there.

View of houses in Cofton Hackett village below. Including the Rednal Social Club on Barnt Green Road.

Another view of the MG Motor factory. Parts were made in China and assembled here. Sadly I've heard recently that this has been demolished and MG cars will no longer be made in Birmingham. The previous MG Rover factory at Longbridge went bust in 2005, and in the years since it was all demolished and replaced by a new Town Centre with shops, a retirement village and houses.

By the looks of it, I mainly stuck to the path at the time. One bench to the left.

Another panoramic towards the Lickey Hills. I wouldn't walk that section until I got the train to Barnt Green years later.

Getting close to the end of the path. One bench on the right. The path leads to Lickey Road (but exits at Elliot Gardens - and no it was not named after me!).

Before I left, saw this dog sign for dog walkers to pick up their dog's mess.

2016

In the years since, I've only really walked past Cofton Park and not gone back in. Such as in late January 2016 when I walked past the MG Motor factory (on left) and Cofton Park (on the right) while on Lowhill Lane, on a walk around Longbridge.

There was a lot of bright sunshine behind these trees from Lowhill Lane.

A road with bollards from Lowhill Lane while the sun shined brightly.

I didn't really think about going into the park at the time. Just to walk around Longbridge and end up back at Longbridge Station.

One of the Cofton Park signs from Birmingham City Council's Department of Recreation and Community Services.

The sign that says "This gate closes at dusk".

This is the entrance to the Lowhill Lane Car Park. There is also the Cofton Park Pavilion, although I've not seen it myself .

2019

Another Longbridge walk up Lowhill Lane during February 2019. As before walked down Lickey Road, then up Lowhill Lane past the park, before making my way back to Longbridge Lane. Again didn't go into the park at the time.

The Lowhill Lane Car Park entrance as a car drove down the road. There is a ramp ahead that cars have to go over.

I also spotted these football goalposts.

It would be nice to one day go back to this park and walk over the grass, as long as it isn't too wet from the recent rain we have been having.

 

Another park in Longbridge to check out is the new Austin Park at the new Longbridge Town Centre. Post coming soon. Check the project for the photo gallery.

 

For my related Lickey Hills Country Park posts go to:

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
24 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Knowle Park in the spring of 2019

My second visit to Dorridge, and the walk up to Knowle in Solihull was during March 2019. While in Knowle, I popped into Knowle Park. While in the park it was nice and sunny, but after I left for the walk back to Dorridge Station, it started hailing! Also in this park is Jobs Close Local Nature Reserve and Purnells Brook.

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Knowle Park in the spring of 2019





My second visit to Dorridge, and the walk up to Knowle in Solihull was during March 2019. While in Knowle, I popped into Knowle Park. While in the park it was nice and sunny, but after I left for the walk back to Dorridge Station, it started hailing! Also in this park is Jobs Close Local Nature Reserve and Purnells Brook.


Knowle Park

My visit to the historic Knowle Village and Knowle Park was during March 2019. Having caught a train to Dorridge again, I wanted to walk further than 2 years before and get to Knowle. Like Dorridge Park, Knowle Park is a Green Flag Park. Home to Jobs Close Local Nature Reserve and Purnells Brook. They are reminders of the historical Forest of Arden from Knowle's past.

Jobs Close gets it's name from Jobs Close House which looks over the park. Built in 1904 as a private residence, before being bought by Solihull Council in the 1940's and used as Cedarhurst Primary School. In 1957 it was sold to a charitable trust, and used to this day as a retirement home.

There is a pond near Longdon Road. Which was formerly a series of three marl pits. The pond is reguarly visited by ducks, herons and moorhens. The park is home to a variety of tree species.

Purnells Brook that runs through the park from the north west corner. It was the boundary in Saxon times between Knowle and Longdon Manors. In the Nature Reserve you can see woodland flowers such as bluebells (when they are in flower).

The park also has an outdoor gym and a playground. There is a local community group here called the Friends of Knowle Park.

 

Onto my visit from the middle of March 2019. Entering from Longdon Road in Knowle. Saw this Solihull M.B.C. sign for Jobs Close Local Nature Reserve.

So first up is Jobs Close Local Nature Reserve. Steps near the pond.

A green fence around the pond.

View of the pond towards the car park.

Next I went up these steps.

Woodland walk in Jobs Close Local Nature Reserve.

Bit of a drop near the trees from here.

Now into Knowle Park proper. A pair of paths splitting in a Y shape.

March is daffodil season. These daffodils were quite white with yellow on the inside.

A close up look at the Knowle Park daffodils.

A map of Knowle Park welcomes you, it also has information of the park (which I've mentioned at the top of this post).

Dark clouds in front of the sun. Perhaps a sign of the coming hail storm I would be caught in on the way back to Dorridge Station at the time.

A footbridge back into Jobs Close Local Nature Reserve. Crossing Purnells Brook.

A look at Purnells Brook from the footbridge.

A stone in the middle of the nature reserve and a sign. Paths in a triangular shape. Information about the grassland and scrub. Also the tree lined brook.

Close up look at the artwork on the Jobs Close Local Nature Reserve stone.

Back into Knowle Park again and the clouds didn't look too bad at this point.

Another Knowle Park map and sign (same as the other one).

Those houses are Jobs Close, which is now a retirement home. But once a private home. It was used as Cedarhurst Primary School in the 1940s.

More daffodils, theses ones are the more traditional yellow ones.

Heading out of the park towards Lodge Road.

After this the walk back to Dorridge Station. But was a hail storm. Again instead of getting the train back to Acocks Green, I got the first one out to Solihull with Chiltern Railways. West Midlands Railway services terminate at Dorridge. But didn't want to wait in the waiting room for too long.

 

Coming soon will be other Solihull park posts for Olton Jubilee Park, Langley Hall Park and Mill Lodge Park. (Click these links to view the projects and view the photo galleries).

Click here for my Dorridge Park post.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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