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Green open spaces
29 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
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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.

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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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60 passion points
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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60 passion points
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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60 passion points
Environment & green action
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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