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22 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The John Morris Jones Walkway in the Shire Country Park

In the Shire Country Park, there is a walk from Cole Bank Road (opposite Sarehole Mill) towards Robin Hood Lane in Hall Green called the John Morris Jones Walkway. The path runs alongside the River Cole. There is also a large open field, that gets used during Tolkien weekends. John Morris Jones was the headmaster of George Dixon Junior School from 1960-80. He wrote about the area.

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The John Morris Jones Walkway in the Shire Country Park





In the Shire Country Park, there is a walk from Cole Bank Road (opposite Sarehole Mill) towards Robin Hood Lane in Hall Green called the John Morris Jones Walkway. The path runs alongside the River Cole. There is also a large open field, that gets used during Tolkien weekends. John Morris Jones was the headmaster of George Dixon Junior School from 1960-80. He wrote about the area.


JOHN MORRIS JONES WALKWAY

In our next walking post in the Shire Country Park we will be entering the John Morris Jones Walkway. There is entrances on Cole Bank Road in the Sarehole area (the modern Moseley / Hall Green border). This entrance is opposite of Sarehole Mill. There is traffic lights near the Sarehole Mill Car Park that you can cross at. The walk takes you along the Millstream Way, following the route of the River Cole towards Robin Hood Lane (near Brook Lane). So you won't be too far from Billesley. After the John Morris Jones Walkway is The Dingles.

The John Morris Jones Walkway was named after John Morris Jones, who was the headmaster of George Dixon Junior School from 1960 until 1980. He wrote many books about South Birmingham, including about the areas such as Sarehole, Hall Green and Yardley Wood.

The field close to Cole Bank Road was originally called the Cotterills Meadow. But has been known for the last century as the Colebank Playing Field. There had also been a ford at Robin Hood Lane, but there is now a road bridge at this site.

2011

I first walked up a bit of the John Morris Jones Walkway during January 2011. Starting at the Robin Hood Lane end, a look at the River Cole from the bridge. This would have been the site of a ford. While it is bridged now, you can see remaining fords at Slade Lane, Scribers Lane and Green Road. There was some snow on the ground at the time.

Entering the John Morris Jones Walkway from Robin Hood Lane. Brook Lane is to the left of here.

The Shire Country Park post, missing the directions to the other areas of the country park.

Now onto the path heading to Cole Bank Road.

The path was a bit of a dirt path at the time, so had not yet been resurfaced.

I got to a puddle and mud halfway, and decided to turn back.

Instead I left the John Morris Jones Walkway at Robin Hood Lane and walked up Wake Green Road instead. Would be another 5 years before I would do a full walk of this walkway.

2012

In March 2012, I was heading into The Dingles for the first time, when I saw the new wooden fence and gateway entrance to the John Morris Jones Walkway. I was walking from Billesley to Yardley Wood at the time, on a nice warm Spring afternoon.

2016

A May Day Bank Holiday walk in the Shire Country Park. Starting at the Sarehole Mill Car Park. Going through the John Morris Jones Walkway to get to The Dingles, Trittiford Mill Pool, Scribers Lane SINC and back. Saw some bluebells on the way.

Near the River Cole, not far from the Cole Bank Road end, was this back garden with a fence and gate to the river. I would see it again 4 years later on one of my lockdown walks up here.

A lock at the Colebank Playing Field. You don't just have to stick your walk to the main path, but you can walk through here, if the grass is dry. In the distance you can see the chimney of Sarehole Mill.

I also saw growing at the time, Dandelions.

2020

At least three walks through the John Morris Jones Walkway on lockdown, during March, April and May 2020. Changes every month.

The first lockdown walk was on the 26th March 2020, several days into it. I had come from the Trittiford Mill Pool and The Dingles, just had to go through the John Morris Jones Walkway. Getting in from Robin Hood Lane.

The path was now more suitable for walking on. The trees had yet to grow their leaves back.

All the plants along the path were quite low down at the time.

First lockdown look at the River Cole, just off the John Morris Jones Walkway.

A look in the Colebank Playing Field, as a dog runs after it's owner. View of the chimney of Sarehole Mill.

Back onto the path as I got closer to Cole Bank Road.

Houses on Sarehole Road have gardens that end a bit short of the river. But some have gates at the back. Maybe they have access to the other side of the river?

Getting near Cole Bank Road and the end of this Shire Country Park walk.

On month on in April 2020. Now the 25th April 2020. And what a change in a month on lockdown! Leaves had grown back on the trees, and the growth on both sides of the path was a bit higher up.

Bright sunshine on the walk through the Colebank Playing Field.

At the far end of the Colebank Playing Field, before returning to the main path. Sarehole Mill is in the distance.

Another look at the River Cole.

Back on the path to Robin Hood Lane.

The canopy of trees do make the wooden gated entrance look nice at Robin Hood Lane.

Bluebells were growing on the left side.

A look at the River Cole from the bridge on Robin Hood Lane. Saw a heron, but it flew away before I could zoom into it.

The third and most recent lockdown walk in here was during May 2020. Was on the 22nd May 2020. By now the River Cole was looking quite shallow, due to a month long drought. The walk started at the Sarehole Mill Car Park, and headed to The Dingles and back.

The fence along the path. There was now cow parsley growing along the walkway.

There's that garden with the wooden fence and gate on the riverside. I hope they don't get flooded.

Back at the Robin Hood Lane end of the walkway before going into The Dingles again. The entrance to that part is up Coleside Avenue.

Later coming back from The Dingles, and re-entering the John Morris Jones Walkway from Robin Hood Lane.

This time walked back through the field. Part of the grass had been mown for social distancing.

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
22 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Dorridge Park in wet weather

I first got the train to Dorridge in Solihull back at the end of January 2017. At the time it was raining on my walk around the park. It was a wet and miserable afternoon. Dorridge Park is also home to Dorridge Wood. Which is a local nature reserve. The part was first set up in 1969 after a land donation. Woodland here was first documented in 1556. The park has a play area.

 

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Dorridge Park in wet weather





I first got the train to Dorridge in Solihull back at the end of January 2017. At the time it was raining on my walk around the park. It was a wet and miserable afternoon. Dorridge Park is also home to Dorridge Wood. Which is a local nature reserve. The part was first set up in 1969 after a land donation. Woodland here was first documented in 1556. The park has a play area.

 


Dorridge Park

Dorridge Park is located in Dorridge, Solihull.  Just a short walk away from Dorridge Station. Leave the station via Station Approach, then walk down Grange Road. Dorridge Park and Dorridge Wood is a local nature reserve. The park also has the Green Flag Park status. Land was donated in 1969 to form a park. It is now run by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council. In the history records, there was a mention of the woods way back in 1556. The park is home to a variety of trees. Various animals might be found in the park such as a fox.

My first visit to Dorridge was at the end of January 2017. And by the time I got to the park it was raining.

 

Entering the park from near Grange Road and Beconsfield Close, I saw this Solihull M.B.C. Dorridge Park sign.

The path off of Grange Road as it was raining.

The path splits into a Y shape here.

A large tree near Beconsfield Close.

Saw a small blackbird on the grass which was covered by leaves.

The path continues as the rain kept coming down.

About to cross this footbridge over a stream.

There was a bollard on this side of the footbridge.

The stream, but I don't know it's name (if it has a name). It might be a brook.

Near the Dorridge Park Play Area.

Slide in the playground.

Some kind of climbing frame made out of ropes.

The rain wasn't stopping as I had a look at the wide open field.

The path with benches near a Green Flag.

A noticeboard with information.

Dog walkers take their dogs for walk through the woods. This path was a bit muddy and the rain didn't help that afternoon.

Bollards near a public footpath fingerpost.

New trees barely visible in this weather.

Back on the path towards Grange Road. There is a car park near here close to Arden Road. It didn't have a pavement, so I walked back to Grange Road to get back to the station.

Wooden posts with wood on the top. Perhaps somewhere for birds to land.

Another Y split in the path. The grass covered with leaves as I made my way back to Grange Road, and eventually Dorridge Station.

I ended up catching the train back to Solihull, rather than wait for one back to Acocks Green.

A few years later I got the train back to Dorridge with the intension of walking to Knowle. While there during March 2019 I popped into Knowle Park. Slightly better weather at the time, but had a hail storm on the walk back to Dorridge Station!

Knowle Park will be my next Solihull park post. Also look out for Olton Jubilee Park, Langley Hall Park and Mill Lodge Park. Coming soon. (Click these links to view the projects and view the photo galleries).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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

Rainbow doors around the Warley Woods

We went back to the Warley Woods on the 2nd June 2020 for a daily walk. This time a full walk around. While there, I noticed these painted doors at the bottom of trees all around the woods. Of course I didn't take all of them as there was too many to see. So here is a gallery of the ones that I did see. Painted by local children. Like those NHS rainbows in the windows of peoples homes.

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Rainbow doors around the Warley Woods





We went back to the Warley Woods on the 2nd June 2020 for a daily walk. This time a full walk around. While there, I noticed these painted doors at the bottom of trees all around the woods. Of course I didn't take all of them as there was too many to see. So here is a gallery of the ones that I did see. Painted by local children. Like those NHS rainbows in the windows of peoples homes.


If you go to the woods today your sure of a big surprise! (from the Teddy Bears Picnic).

No you wont find teddy bears in the Warley Woods, but you might find these painted doors around the woods. My walk on the 2nd June 2020 around the Warley Woods, and while there noticed these doors painted on wood by school children (at home). To help and thank the NHS & Key Workers.

Go find them out yourselves (if they are still there). There was more than just these ones (below). So take your kids out rainbow door hunting!

I might next cover the full walk around the Warley Woods from the beginning of June 2020 next. So watch this space!

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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70 passion points
Green open spaces
17 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

West Park in Wolverhampton, a Victorian gem!

Back in March 2019, I noticed on Google Maps while in Wolverhampton, there was a park nearby called West Park. So I went to check it out before getting the train back to Birmingham. Opened as the People's Park in 1881. It is surrounded by Park Road West and Park Road East. There is a statue of Charles Pelham Villiers in the park. He was the local MP at the time (he served 63 years).

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West Park in Wolverhampton, a Victorian gem!





Back in March 2019, I noticed on Google Maps while in Wolverhampton, there was a park nearby called West Park. So I went to check it out before getting the train back to Birmingham. Opened as the People's Park in 1881. It is surrounded by Park Road West and Park Road East. There is a statue of Charles Pelham Villiers in the park. He was the local MP at the time (he served 63 years).


West Park, Wolverhampton

My visit to West Park, Wolverhampton was on the 24th March 2019. At the time I got the train from Birmingham to Wolverhampton. Initially to see the orange West Midlands Railway signs at Wolverhampton Station, then for another walk around the City. I ended up at the Costa Coffee on Dudley Street, when I was looking at Google Maps for somewhere to walk, and take photos, when I noticed West Park on the map. I went for a walk around West Park, then when I left, I passed the Molineux home of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, where I saw the statue of Sir Jack Hayward. I also passed the University of Wolverhampton campus on the walk back to the station (saw one of the Wolves in Wolverhampton sculptures from the 2017 trail).

Now for some history of the park taken from the Wikipedia page (link above). The park opened on the 6th June 1881 as the People's Park. The site that was chosen was formerly the Wolverhampton Race Course, or Broad Meadows, owned by the Duke of Cleveland. In March 1879, Alderman Samuel Dickonson invited landscape gardeners to complete the layout of the park. The winner was Richard Hartland Vertegans of Chad Valley Nurseries, Edgbaston, Birmingham. The park includes ornamental lakes, a Bandstand, which was presented by the towns long-standing MP, Rt. Hon. Charles Pelham Villiers in May 1882 (his statue was moved to the park in 1931). It is now Grade II listed. A conservatory opened was opened in July 1896 by the widow of former Mayor Alderman Samuel Dickinson. Commemorative flower beds were laid out in 1911 for the Coronation of King George V, and the same was done in 1937 for King George VI. The park was added to the Heritage National Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in 1986. A team room was refurbished in 2005 with help from a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

 

And now onto my visit from March 2019. Approaching the Gates between Park Road West and Park Road East. They are Grade II listed. They were installed in 1880. All the walls and gates that surround the park are part of this listing. The architects were Bayliss, Jones and Bayliss. Made of Ashlar on a brick base with cast-iron railings and gates. Park Road West is to the left and Park Road East to the right.

The entrance path from the Park Road East gates, heading into the park.

On the left was the gatehouse, which is now the Ranger Station.

A large open field of grass not far from the Park Road East entrance.

Not far from there was this brick sculpture of a Victorian Sewer. It was built for the Wolverhampton Fiesta of the 1970s. Made of brick.

The West Park Tea Rooms were to the right.

The Bandstand. It is Grade II listed dating from 1882. It was made by McDowell Stevens & Co of Glasgow. Originally made of a Cast-iron on brick base. It used to have a cast-iron roof, but this was replaced with fibreglass in 1976.

At the time the bandstand had fences around it (I think it has since been restored and reopened since I was there). The bandstand is in an Octagonal structure on brick base.

Seen on the other side of the West Park Boating Lake was the Conservatory. It is a Grade II listed building. It dates to 1896 and was designed by Dan Gibson. It was made of Brick with terracotta dressings. It also had a timber superstructure on iron stanchions.

Another view of the Conservatory over the boating lake, as families walked past it. I did not go on that side of the lake, and wasn't sure if it was open or not.

This view from the West Park Boating Lake towards the Conservatory.

Several views of the West Park Boating Lake. All the usual Canada geese and ducks in here.

There was an island in the middle of the lake, where I assume that all the birds would go.

This side of the lake towards the Pavilion.

A close up look at the Pavilion from the other side of the lake.

There was some Greylag geese in the lake at the time.

Now for a look at the Statue of Charles Pelham Villiers. It was looking quite weathered at the time of my visit.

Years of rain, wind and snow have done this to the statue.

The statue is Grade II listed as the Villiers Statue. It was made in 1878 and was of the town's long standing Member of Parliament, Rt.Hon. Charles Pelham Villiers. It was sculpted by W.Theed the younger.

The statue was made of Ashlar. It was placed on a high plinth which supports a figure in 19th century dress and was holding scroll, against draped stand.

The statue was moved from it's original position in Snow Hill, Wolverhampton in 1931, to this site in West Park. Villiers was born in 1802 and died in 1898 at the age of 96 years. He was MP for Wolverhampton for a record 63 years! He had the seat of Wolverhampton from 1835 until 1885, then Wolverhampton South from 1885 until his death in 1898.

Heading out of the park, saw this Bridge over the lake. It is Grade II listed and dates from 1880. It was made with Cast-iron with ashlar abutments and piers. I did not cross it, as I wanted to get more views of the Villiers statue (see above).

Saw this fingerpost on the way out of the park. It had directions to the Devon Road exit to the left and the Connaught Road exit to the right. Also to the playground and bandstand. Tennis court and boating lake.

The path near the Lansdowne Road exit / entrance, which I would take to leave the park.

The noticeboard at the Lansdowne Road entrance. Also with the parks opening hours.

The gates at Lansdowne Road. This was the exit that I took to Park Road East. I then headed down to Park Crescent, and back to the Wolverhampton Ring Road.

 

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
17 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge, in what was the Studley Court estate

Back in July 2019 I wanted to ride the Stourbridge Shuttle again, and while in Stourbridge, I noticed on a map that htere was a park in walking distance from the Town Centre. This was Mary Stevens Park. The park opened to the public in 1931. It was named after the late Mary Stevens, wife of local businessman Ernest Stevens who donated the land for the creation of a park around 1929-30.

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Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge, in what was the Studley Court estate





Back in July 2019 I wanted to ride the Stourbridge Shuttle again, and while in Stourbridge, I noticed on a map that htere was a park in walking distance from the Town Centre. This was Mary Stevens Park. The park opened to the public in 1931. It was named after the late Mary Stevens, wife of local businessman Ernest Stevens who donated the land for the creation of a park around 1929-30.


Mary Stevens Park, Stourbridge

I found another park on Google Maps, while in Stourbridge, in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley (back in July 2019). This was Mary Stevens Park. I went to the Costa Coffee in the Ryemarket Shopping Centre, for the second time in 6 years. And was looking at somewhere to walk to before going back to Stourbridge Town Station. I noticed a park that wasn't that far away to walk to. Leaving the Ryemarket Shopping Centre, I headed along Worcester Street, until I got to the main gates on Heath Lane.

In 1929 after the death of his wife Mary, local industrialist and philanthropist Ernest Stevens gave land to the town of Stourbridge to develop a park. He purchased the Studley Court estate and house from the nuns of the St. Andrews Convent, with the intentions of creating a park. It would be named Mary Stevens Park and opened to the public in 1931. The park has a lake called the Heath Pool, there is also a Bandstand, tennis courts, bowling green, outdoor gym, a cafe and a children's play area.

Mr Stevens donated the gates at the entrance to the park.

One plaque dating 1929 reads:

This park was given by
Ernest Stevens
in Memory of his wife
Mary Stevens
a noble woman
who went about doing good,
to be for all time a place
of rest for the weary.
of happiness for children,
and of beauty for everyone.

The second plaque reads:

The entrances were
constructed and given by
the donor of the park
Ernest Stevens, Esq., J.P.
of Prescot House
Stourbridge.

The gates seen from the main entrance on Heath Lane. Just beyond a roundabout and at the end of Worcester Street. The Gates, Piers and Railings are Grade II listed. They date to 1930. They are made of fine ashlar piers with wrought-iron gates and railings in Neo-Georgian style.

There is bollards around the entrance. Cars can drive to the car park, but cant go onto the main path into the park. the roundabout ahead has a big tree in the middle.

Heading into the park, trees line the main path beyond the bollards. Was also flower beds on the right. The main path is called the Queen's Drive. It was opened on the 23rd April 1957 by HM the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Who toured around in an open top Land Rover at the time.

The Mary Stevens Park noticeboard and map from the main path, The car park is behind. Also has a bit of history on it to the left. The sign mentions that Ernest Stevens legacy was not just to leave a park for local people, but to preserve open green space for all to enjoy. Queen Elizabeth II also made a visit to the park in 1957.

The wonderful flower beds to the right of the main path.

The Stourbridge War Memorial was to the left of the main path. It was erected in memory of the lives lost during the First World War. It was originally set up outside of the public library in Stourbridge in 1923. It was designed by Ernest Pickford and unveiled by the Earl of Coventry on the 16th February 1923. It is Grade II* listed.

It was later moved to it's current location in Mary Stevens Park in 1960. There is a bronze statue on top of a woman. The listing says it dates to 1920 and was moved here in 1966. Made of fine ashlar with metal, probably bronze, plaques and a figure, in severe classical style. It was moved as a result of a road scheme.

This would the people of Stourbridge would gather each November to lay poppy wreaths. It also commemorates those lost during World War 2.

Here you can get coffee and ice cream at the Coffee Lounge in Mary Stevens Park. To the right was some public toilets. Behind the cafe is the Stourbridge Council House (more details further down the post).

Red flowers on the flower bed near the gates that surrounds the Coffee Lounge.

You could also get some ice cream from this ice cream van.

This was the Mary Stevens Park Children's Play Area. Was a a few hoses firing water in the middle, and kids running into the water jets.

A look at the Bandstand. It was made of cast iron and was made by Hill & Smith Ltd. It was funded by Ernest Stevens. Meaning it dates to the late 1920s or early 1930s. It has been an important central feature to the park ever since it opened to the public. Summer band concerts have always been popular.

Outside the Stourbridge Council House in the gardens, is a bronze statue of Major Frank Foley (sitting on a bench). It was formerly known as Heath House and later Studley Court. During WW1 it was used as Studley Court Hospital. Studley Court was originally called Heath House. It was associated with Glassworks. The first reference on the site dates from 1691. Was a number of different owners of Heath House in the 19th century. It was run as a V.A.D. Military Hospital during the World War 1. And was a Convent School during the 1920s. It became the offices for what was then the Stourbridge District Council in the 1930s. It was used until Stourbridge merged with Dudley Borough in 1974. Since 1974, Studley Court has been home to parts of Dudley MBC.

The bronze statue of Major Frank Foley was unveiled on the 18th September 2018 by HRH The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William).

The sculptor was Andy De Comyn. Major Foley was a Black Country war hero. He saved thousands of Jews from Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War. 60 years after his death, his deeds have not been forgotten. More information here from the Express and Star.

There is a plaque on the bench which reads:

Major Frank Edward Foley CMG (1884 - 1958)
who lived in quiet retirement near this park
but in the 1930s helped over 10,000 Jewish people 
escape from the Holocaust, whilst working as 
British Passport Control Officer in Berlin.
He who saves one, saves the world.

Another look at the Stourbridge Council House from the second half of the garden. The Dudley Children Services Adoption Team uses part of the building now. Hard to believe that until 1929 this was a nunnery! It served as the Council House until Stourbridge became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley in 1974.

Now for a look around the lake, called the Heath Pool. It is to the south west corner of the park.

All the usual gulls and geese here. Plus there was a fountain in the middle of the lake.

Black-headed gulls perched on the top of these wooden poles.

The Heath Pool covers about less than one quarter of the park.

There was Canada geese all over. Some Coot as well.

Something I've not seen before this visit was this Muscovy duck. There was quite a few of them here.

This sign had a lot of information about the Heath Pool. Was close to the exit / entrance from Stanley Road and Norton Road.

This gate is the entrance and exit to Stanley Road.

After I left the park, heading back into town, I also saw this gate on Love Lane, from Heath Lane.

While I could have walked to Stourbridge Junction, I wanted one more ride of the Stourbridge Shuttle so walked back to the Stourbridge Interchange. See my post on my last ride here: West Midlands Railway Stourbridge Shuttle (July 2019).

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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