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Green open spaces
09 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Discovery Terrace and the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham during September 2013

The Library of Birmingham opened to the public back in early September 2013. Elliott had his fist visit on the 21st September 2013 in the late afternoon, with just about time to visit the Discovery Terrace. With closing at 5pm, he returned a week later on the 28th September 2013 to head up to the Secret Garden for the first time. Since then he has been loads of times over the years.

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The Discovery Terrace and the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham during September 2013





The Library of Birmingham opened to the public back in early September 2013. Elliott had his fist visit on the 21st September 2013 in the late afternoon, with just about time to visit the Discovery Terrace. With closing at 5pm, he returned a week later on the 28th September 2013 to head up to the Secret Garden for the first time. Since then he has been loads of times over the years.


A digital tour of the Discovery Terrace and the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham. As they were during September 2013, within a few weeks of the Library opening to the public.

 

To see Elliott's previous Library of Birmingham posts from the September 2013 visits click the links below:

Discovery Terrace

Located on Level 3, the Discovery Terrace is accessed through the Revolving doors from the Discovery Floor (this was later replaced with automatic doors years later). Facing Centenary Square and the Arena Central site. Part of it goes around the side of the Library with a view of City Centre Gardens below.

On the 21st September 2013 you could see the old John Madin designed Birmingham Central Library and NatWest Tower (103 Colmore Row).

Was a bit of an animal art trail on the Discovery Terrace at the time.

Area at the back was not accessible at the time with all these barriers with something that was being finished off.

Looks like the only way to this section that day was via the side door from the library.

Some kind of bird house.

 

Secret Garden

Located on Level 7, you can get the travelator up from Level 3 to 4, then the lift or stairs up to Level 7. The Glass Lift initially worked in it's first year, but has not worked for many years or even been fixed. Press the disabled door button to open the door to the Secret Garden. It has views to the back of the Library, plus you can go around to the front for views of the City Centre.

On the 28th September 2013, there was a lot of people up on the Secret Garden. Views from up here are spectacular and change all the time. Although sometimes gets a bit boring on repeated visits over the years.

Some more colourful art installations for people to look out for at the time.

Wooden benches to sit down on and rest.

The view at the front over Centenary Square was quite busy that day.

Lots of colourful flowers up here. They regularly change them all the time.

Another bird house up here as well.

 

Over they years since, it does get a bit frustrating when the only thing to see is all of those construction sites, and I don't always want to take photos of them. Would be nice to somehow get access to the top of other tall buildings for photo views. Ran out of things to take up here. It's only those events that used to happen in Centenary Square down below that made a change from the usual views.

The Library has been closed since the first lockdown. Apart from people going for books, the terraces have yet to be reopened to the public, so I have no idea when I'll be going back up there. It wont be any time soon, that's for sure.

With a Second Lockdown (for at least a month), it means that there has been no access up to the terraces for 8 or 9 months and counting. The library had only reopened for people taking out or returning books only.

 

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

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70 passion points
Green open spaces
04 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Acocks Green Recreation Ground in the Fox Hollies area

Not far from Acocks Green Bus Garage is the Acocks Green Recreation Ground. Located on Westley Road, Fox Hollies Road and Broad Road. Sometimes used for fun fairs. In the last year or so, new railings have been installed. There is a playground close to Westley Road. Other than that there is a large open field and some paths. Nothing much else.

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Acocks Green Recreation Ground in the Fox Hollies area





Not far from Acocks Green Bus Garage is the Acocks Green Recreation Ground. Located on Westley Road, Fox Hollies Road and Broad Road. Sometimes used for fun fairs. In the last year or so, new railings have been installed. There is a playground close to Westley Road. Other than that there is a large open field and some paths. Nothing much else.


Acocks Green Recreation Ground

For some history of the Acocks Green Recreation Ground, there is some information over at the AGHS website.

The land was donated to the Yardley Rural District Council by the Yardley Charity Estates in 1898. The grounds opened in 1902 on the Coronation of King Edward VII. Birmingham took over Yardley in 1911. The grounds has since been used by travelling carnivals and fun fairs. The Recreation Ground used to have a Sons of Rest pavilion (but this has long since disappeared).

The ground to the back was a football and cricket ground. And there used to be tennis courts alongside Broad Road (these no longer exist).

All that remains today is a children's playground near the Westley Road entrance.

In 2019 new railings and an entrance gate was installed on Westley Road. There is even a Friends of Acocks Green Recreation Ground.

2014

Robert Wilkinson's Fun Fair was held at the Acocks Green Recreation Ground seen during May 2014. It took place from Thursday 15th May until Sunday 18th May 2014.

American Circus

Uncle Sam regularly popped over from the USA for American Circuses!

The Big Top

Large Prizes

Flying Chairs Carousel

Rock City

< < < Slide

Robert Wilkinson's Fun Fair was back in October 2014. These were taken from the no 11C bus stop on Fox Hollies Road after dark.

Taken at the time on my then Sony smartphone, so the zoom in wasn't too great with the bright lights.

2019

In September 2019, I was on the 11C bus on Westley Road when I spotted the new entrance gate and railings, near the play area.

The fun fair was also back again. It was Robert Wilkinson's Fun Fair again.

2020

First of two lockdown walks into the Acocks Green Recreation Ground during May 2020. The new railings and bollards on Fox Hollies Road.

The green open field, no path alongside Fox Hollies Road, unless you walk on the pavement, like I used to do.

The odd piece of litter on the field.

Getting close to the playground near Westley Road.

Looking back at the field. Clear signs of tyre marks of vehicles that have driven onto the recreation ground in the past (such as all those fun fairs).

About to exit the new gate onto Westley Road. Bus stop on the left for the 11A. Acocks Green Village is to the left.

Went through again in June 2020. This time walking back from Tyseley. Got in via the path on Broad Road. The bollards here are much older.

The path follows Broad Road towards Westley Road.

Grass a bit longer, trees full of green leaves in the height of summer.

Shadows from the trees on the field.

Not far until the end of the path.

There was a few more entrances from Broad Road and you could dip in and out.

Now back on Westley Road, the new railings near the play area.

Another look at the new main entrance to the recreation ground. Looks good.

Post and photos by Elliott Brown. On Twitter ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Environment & green action
03 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Herons, Egrets and Cormorants around Birmingham and the West Midlands

Various unique bird species to be found in Birmingham's many parks and lakes. Canals and rivers. From herons, to egrets to cormorants. Not just the usual ducks, geese, swans and gulls that I'm always seeing around. There is also coot and moorhens too. But will leave those to another post.

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Herons, Egrets and Cormorants around Birmingham and the West Midlands





Various unique bird species to be found in Birmingham's many parks and lakes. Canals and rivers. From herons, to egrets to cormorants. Not just the usual ducks, geese, swans and gulls that I'm always seeing around. There is also coot and moorhens too. But will leave those to another post.


Little Egret

Little Egret seen at the Trittiford Mill Pool, Shire Country Park, Yardley Wood. Taken during December 2016.

A Snowy Egret seen on the Plants Brook near Pype Hayes Park. Taken during December 2018.

This Little Egret was seen at the Trittiford Mill Pool as well but during March 2020.

A Little Egret in the pool at Langley Hall Park near Kineton Green and Olton in Solihull. March 2020.

This Little Egret hiding in the trees at Billesley Common, Shire Country Park, Billesley. Taken during July 2020.

Great Cormorant

A Great Cormorant perched on a tree branch at the Trittiford Mill Pool, Shire Country Park, Yardley Wood. Taken during May 2016.

This Great Cormorant perched on the metal bar with the gulls at Cannon Hill Park between Moseley and Edgbaston. Taken during February 2020.

Another Great Cormorant was on this branch at the Edgbaston Reservoir near Ladywood. Taken during February 2020.

And this Great Cormorant was on this branch at the Trittiford Mill Pool, Shire Country Park, Yardley Wood. Taken during May 2020.

Heron

This Heron was spotted on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Stirchley on the Rea Valley Route. Taken during April 2016.

A blurry image of Heron seen on the River Cole at the Scribers Lane SINC, Shire Country Park, Yardley Wood. Taken during May 2016.

This Heron during the summer heatwave was at Edgbaston Reservoir near Ladywood. Taken during July 2018.

Heron perched on a branch in the pond at Highbury Park near Kings Heath and Moseley. Taken during August 2018.

Grey Heron at Witton Lakes Park, Witton. Taken during December 2019.

This Heron was on the towpath of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near a railway bridge on the Cross City Line in Selly Oak. Taken during October 2020.

 

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

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
20 Oct 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

12 must visit parks in Birmingham in 2021

There is literally hundreds of parks in Birmingham, but here is a quick look at 12 parks we recommend that you could visit in 2021 at any time of the year for a walk, cycle, or taking your dog for a walk etc. From the obvious parks such as Kings Heath Park and Cannon Hill Park, to the less obvious parks such as Kings Norton Park and Manor Farm Park. Too many to choose from.

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12 must visit parks in Birmingham in 2021





There is literally hundreds of parks in Birmingham, but here is a quick look at 12 parks we recommend that you could visit in 2021 at any time of the year for a walk, cycle, or taking your dog for a walk etc. From the obvious parks such as Kings Heath Park and Cannon Hill Park, to the less obvious parks such as Kings Norton Park and Manor Farm Park. Too many to choose from.


Click the links below to go to the projects and view the posts. All reachable by car or bus. Some by train and tram. Many of these parks used to be country estates before being acquired by the Council from the late 19th or into the 20th Century.

 

Cannon Hill Park

Located between Moseley and Edgbaston on Edgbaston Road and Russell Road. There is also entrances from the Pershore Road. Cannon Hill Park opened to the public back in 1873, on land donated by Louisa Ryland. It is probably the most popular park in Birmingham with lakes, playgrounds and a fun fair. The Midlands Art Centre is also based here. Various memorials are located in this famous park.

Bus routes: 1, 1A, 35, 45 or 47.

 

Kings Heath Park

Probably the second most popular park in Birmingham is Kings Heath Park. Located on Vicarage Road and Avenue Road in Kings Heath. The park was home to the TV Garden, and there is a Tea Room located in a house built in 1832 for an MP, William Congreve Russell. The land and house later ended up in the Cartland family in 1880, and they sold it in 1900s. Eventually the local council took control, before Kings Heath became a part of Birmingham in 1911. Today there is several play areas in the park, plus a couple of ponds.

Bus routes: 11A, 11C, 27 or 76.

 

Highbury Park

Located between Kings Heath and Moseley, with one entrance near the Kings Heath High Street. It was the estate of Joseph Chamberlain who lived at Highbury Hall until his death in 1914. Highbury Park also has entrances on Moor Green Lane, and one near a gatehouse close to Yew Tree Lane. From Dad's Lane and Shutlock Lane, there is a back entrance to the park also leading to a car park. The park opened to the public in 1930. The park has a couple of ponds that you can see.

Bus routes: 27, 35, 50 or 76.

Trains: A new Kings Heath Station could open in the future by 2022 (the original station closed in 1941).

 

Kings Norton Park

This park is located down the Pershore Road South in Kings Norton. It was opened to the public in 1924. There is a car park located on Westhill Road. The River Rea flows through the park, although you can't see it. The park features a play area near the Westhill Road entrance, and a skate park. Not too far from the old Kings Norton Village. Part of the Rea Valley Route, and on the National Cycle Network route no 5.

Bus routes: 18, 19, 45, 47 and 49.

Trains: Kings Norton Station on the Cross City Line up the hill in Cotteridge.

 

Handsworth Park

This park is located between Hamstead Road and Hinstock Road in Handsworth. Also with entrances on Holly Road and Grove Road. Nearby is the Church of St Mary, where James Watt and Matthew Boulton are buried. Handsworth Park has at least two lakes. A railway line crosses half way through the park (it was the site of Handsworth Wood Station until 1942). Originally known as Victoria Park, it opened to the public in the 1880s. A sculpture was installed in the park called SS Journey by Luke Perry.

Bus routes: 16, 61 or 101.

Trams: In walking distance of Soho Benson Road or Winson Green Outer Circle tram stops.

 

Grove Park

This park is located on Harborne Park Road in Harborne. Grove Park has been a public park in Birmingham since 1963. The southern end of the park is on Mill Farm Road towards the Kenrick Centre. Historically the park was the grounds of The Grove, which was an 18th century Georgian house. One of Birmingham's first MP's Thomas Attwood lived at The Grove from 1823 to 1846. The house was later rebuilt for another Birmingham MP, William Kenrick in 1877-78. He died there in 1919. His son Alderman W. Byng Kenrick donated the estate to the City (he died in 1962). The house was demolished by Birmingham City Council in 1963. The park has a play area and a lake.

Bus routes: 10S, 11A, 11C or 76.

 

Bournville Park

This small park located in Bournville is on Linden Road, and is disected by The Bourn. Directly opposite the world famous Cadbury chocolate factory. The parks goes towards Selly Oak Road and Oak Tree Lane. There is a play area close to Linden Road. Close to Bournville Village Primary School. There is also a tennis court and a bowling green.

Bus routes: 11A or 11C, 27 or 48.

Trains: Bournville Station on the Cross City Line.

Rookery Park

Up to Erdington for this park. Rookery Park is located on Wood End Road and Kingsbury Road. The site of Rookery House, which was being restored the last time I saw it. The Grade II listed house was built in the 18th century, and was originally known as Birches Green House. Was the home of Abraham Spooner and his descendants from 1730. Various different owner occupiers during the 19th century. The local council took over the land in the late 19th century, then became part of Birmingham from 1911. There was several derelict toilets in the park in urgent need of restoration. As well as a play area towards the Western Road exit.

Bus routes: 11A or 11C or X14.

Trains: In walking distance of Erdington Station on the Cross City Line.

Selly Oak Park

This park is located in Selly Oak on Gibbins Road and Harborne Lane, close to the Selly Oak Bypass and the site of the Lapal Canal. The park has a play area and plenty of paths for walking. One route along the site of the lost canal goes towards Weoley Castle. Selly Oak Park opened in 1899 on land donated by the Gibbins family. More land was added to the park during the 20th century. The park is maintained by The Friends of Selly Oak Park. You can find carved wooden sculptures around the park, by Graham Jones.

Bus routes: 10S, 11A, 11C or 48.

Trains: In walking distance of Selly Oak Station on the Cross City Line.

Cotteridge Park

This park can be accessed from the Persore Road via a bridge (over the Cross City Line) from Breedon Road. The park also runs up Franklin Road towards Bournville. The park has a play area and tennis courts. Plus a skate park and basketball court. Cotteridge Park had a Sons of Rest building, but it was demolished in the 1990s. The Friends of Cotteridge Park was started up in 1997. A small community building was built between 2019 and 2020.

Bus routes: Not far from the 11A, 11C, 45, 47 or 48.

Trains: Bournville or Kings Norton Station on the Cross City Line.

Manor Farm Park

Over to Northfield for this park, located on the Bristol Road South. Although it is known as White Hill in the area close to Bournville. The park was the site of the Northfield Manor House, which was damaged by fire in 2014 (never seen it myself). It was the home of George and Elizabeth Cadbury, from 1890, until his death in 1922 and her death in 1953. The park was opened to the public in 1951. Also home to a small lake. A wooden picnic barn built in 1894, was sadly destroyed by arsonists in 2017 and has been demolished. The Friends of Manor Farm Park hope to restore the outbuildings in the park.

Bus routes: 44, 48, 61, 63, 76 or 144.

Sheldon Country Park

This large Country Park is located between the Coventry Road in Sheldon towards Marston Green and Birmingham Airport. The Westley Brook flows through the park. There is an Airport viewing area that is good for plane spotting, as well as The Old Rectory Farm. Sheldon Country Park is split into sections, from Coventry Road to Church Road. Then from Church Road towards the Airport Viewing Area. The Hatchford Brook also flows into the park joining the Westley Brook not far from the runway of the airport.

Bus routes: 60, X1, X2, 72 or 73.

Trains: Marston Green Station on the West Coast Mainline (Birmingham New Street to Coventry line).

Similar post here on the 11 bus Outer Circle.

 

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

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60 passion points
Green open spaces
22 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

An Indian Summer in Kings Heath Park during September 2020

A Sunday afternoon visit to Kings Heath Park during September 2020, on award winning person with passion Elliott's 38th birthday. It was sunny afternoon, plenty of people about. Cartlands Tea Room was open again where you could buy ice cream. Hopefully people were sticking to the "Rule of Six". Households can't mix at home so instead they have public parks.

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An Indian Summer in Kings Heath Park during September 2020





A Sunday afternoon visit to Kings Heath Park during September 2020, on award winning person with passion Elliott's 38th birthday. It was sunny afternoon, plenty of people about. Cartlands Tea Room was open again where you could buy ice cream. Hopefully people were sticking to the "Rule of Six". Households can't mix at home so instead they have public parks.


September 2020, means that during the month, Elliott (that's me) would have another birthday. On the Sunday afternoon, we headed to Kings Heath Park, for a bit of a walk around. The walk was a bit slow at times (I'm usually a fast walker, but wasn't on my own). On a Sunday in September with sunshine and fine weather, was a lot of people out in the park. Both car parks were full (personally I prefer to get the 11C bus there if I was on my own).

Since my last visit, Cartlands Tea Room has reopened. And you can buy a 99 ice cream with a Flake. The garden centre is open again, but only Monday's to Friday's. The TV Garden was still closed to the public. Kids playing on the basketball court, others having a kick about with a football, or at the two play areas. Or having a picnic on the lawn.

 

Sign / banner seen on Vicarage Road in Kings Heath, Saying that Cartlands Tea Room is now reopened.

The large open field from the path near the drive. The odd couple sitting on the grass.

A stunning blue sky and more people sitting on the grass.

Floral display near the School of Horticultural Training. How home to the Cartlands Tea Room.

Some people took their own foldable chairs to sit amongst the floral displays for a chat.

Kings Heath Garden Centre. Not open at weekends. But if you go Monday to Friday, wear your mask, and stay 2m apart.

Another field near the bottom of the park. At least one person sitting on the lawn. Perfect blue sky.

Steps into the field to the bottom of the park.

Tall thin trees near the bottom end of the park.

More people sitting on the lawn near or having a kick about.

View towards the play area near Avenue Road.

Back near the School of Horticultural Training, home of Cartlands Tea Room (now reopened).

One of the signs on the noticedboard of interest: Don't litter, if the bins are full please take it home!

Entrance to Cartlands Tea Room. Was later a socially distanced queue of people queuing for ice cream or coffee or tea.

They also had these sky blue chairs outside.

Moorhen in the pond.

Robin on the bench around a tree.

Also spotted a squirrel climbing up a tree.

A few more bits and pieces before leaving. One of the short woodland paths off the main path to the bottom of the park.

Another peek at the TV Garden through the locked gate. I've not been able to go into here in over 6 years now.

Never Give Up. Yarn bombing. This was on the fence even during the earlier part of the last lockdown.

The pond, none of the fountain water jets were on. Hose pipe exposed above the water.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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