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Green open spaces
15 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Vale Village at the University of Birmingham off Edgbaston Park Road

Students who live in the University of Birmingham accommodation blocks in Edgbaston have their very own parkland to walk around at The Vale Village. Located near Edgbaston Park Road. The Vale is a Registered Park of Special Historic Interest. There is 8 residences here.

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The Vale Village at the University of Birmingham off Edgbaston Park Road





Students who live in the University of Birmingham accommodation blocks in Edgbaston have their very own parkland to walk around at The Vale Village. Located near Edgbaston Park Road. The Vale is a Registered Park of Special Historic Interest. There is 8 residences here.


The Vale Village

This area was originally called Strawberry Vale (according to Bill Dargue's A History of Birmingham & Place Names from A to & Y). It lay along the valley of the Chad Brook in Edgbaston, flowing from Harborne then north west to south east through the Chad Valley and the Vale, where it was dammed in a lake. These days the University of Birmingham student accommodation is at the modern Vale. It lies east of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. All of the land here is part of Calthorpe Estates. Edgbaston Hall was nearby (now Edgbaston Golf Club). Was only a few properties on the land in the 19th century.

The University of Birmingham negotiated with Calthorpe Estates after World War 2 as they were short of land for student accommodation (during 1947). The idea was for high rise towers. But the University appointed new architects in 1957. The plan was for a new open landscape similar to parks of the 18th century. The landscape was designed by Mary Mitchell. It involved the excavation of a new lake. 

The first hall opened in 1964. Three more open shortly after that. More halls were built in the late 20th century. New blocks were opened in 2008. More recently, some of the dated 1960s accommodation was demolished in 2014 and new blocks opened in 2016 at Chamberlain, close to Church Road.

I've been up and down Edgbaston Park Road many times in the past, but only went around it for a walk once in August 2019 (while the students were at home away from University and while it was quiet). I have got off the Worcester & Birmingham Canal a few times at The Vale, but usually walked up Mason Way to get the no 1 bus from Church Road to go home.

2012

In August 2012, the Sky Ride was on around Birmingham, and it passed The Vale Village on Edgbaston Park Road.

Families rode together, past all of the student accommodation. Some of which was being rebuilt at the time.

They were passing the student accommodation blocks called the Tennis Court. Although the parkland was to the left of here (I didn't enter it at the time as was following the Sky Ride).

2013

My earliest actual park photos of The Vale from Edgbaston Park Road was taken back in February 2013. But on my then mobile phone camera. Was probably during one of my many walks around the University of Birmingham's Edgbaston Campus, but I did not go into the parkland at the time.

To the left was Mason Halls.

Trees bare of leaves as it was still winter. Apart from the evergreen trees. The old Chamberlain Tower seen in the background (before it was demolished and rebuilt).

2019

My first proper visit around The Vale Village parkland was back in August 2019. Getting in from Edgbaston Park Road near Mason Halls.

One of the traditional black University of Birmingham signs with the Vale Village on it.

The path leading into The Vale parkland.

First look at the wonderful lake at The Vale. In the distance you can see the new Chamberlain Tower. The old one was demolished in 2014. And the new tower opened in 2016.

Saw this swan behind the Willowherbs.

The footbridge that links the Chad Brook into The Vale lake.

The Vale lake from the footbridge.

Saw this squirrel going around the parkland.

These paths leads to: Shackleton, Maple Bank, Elgar Court and Chamberlain.

The trees were looking lovely in the middle of August last year.

Another view of the lake.

A rare sight, a Barnacle goose.

The lake keeps getting better as I see a view towards Mason.

Mason Halls on the other side of the lake.

A view of the lake towards the footbridge I'd earlier crossed.

From this wall you have a good view of the lake towards Shackleton and Chamberlain.

Saw this map of the parkland and student accommodation. There is history and information about the wildlife on it. But in this photo it is a bit hard to read what it says (otherwise I would have extracted the historical information from it).

A lake view towards Shackleton. Seems like at the time the building was having work done to it.

Some outdoor gym equipment. Some kind of bars to lift yourself up.

Heading back to Edgbaston Park Road, one last proper look at this wonderful parkland. Aren't the students lucky!

Heading on the path to get out of the parkland. Was at least one bench around here.

Next time on The Vale I could cover the area around the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and the exit up Mason Way towards Church 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
14 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Old Yardley Park near the Old Grammar School

I've only popped into Old Yardley Park twice in the past so far. I've got in from the Church Road entrance in the past.  Just a short walk off the Outer Circle (11A / 11C bus routes) from Stoney Lane, then up Blakesley Road. You can either head up Church Road or get in on Queens Road. The park has a play area and a small garden near the Old Grammar School.

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Old Yardley Park near the Old Grammar School





I've only popped into Old Yardley Park twice in the past so far. I've got in from the Church Road entrance in the past.  Just a short walk off the Outer Circle (11A / 11C bus routes) from Stoney Lane, then up Blakesley Road. You can either head up Church Road or get in on Queens Road. The park has a play area and a small garden near the Old Grammar School.


My previous post on Old Yardley is here (relating to the village) - Old Yardley Village: a hidden gem not far from Blakesley Hall.

The last time I mentioned Old Yardley Park in a post was in this one: Parks around the no 11 Outer Circle Bus Route: from Kings Heath Park to Swanshurst Park and beyond.

Old Yardley Park

The park is part of the Old Yardley Conservation Area. The village surrounds St Edburgha's Church. Next to the Old Grammar School on Church Road is the entrance to the park, via what is now a formal garden (this was restored in 2012). Old Yardley Park was laid out in 1898. Almshouses were built nearby on School Lane in 1904. There is a medieval moat in the park called Rents Moat. The Yardley Great Trust gave lane in 1900 between Church Road and Queens Road for the public to use as Old Yardley Park. It is a short walk away from Blakesley Hall.

More information here: Yardley - History of Birmingham.

2010

In January 2010, during my walk around Old Yardley Village, while it was covered in snow, I saw the Old Grammar School. Old Yardley Park was to the right, but at the time, I did not go into the park (or wasn't aware of it). The school dates to 1260, but this building probably from the 15th century.

Seen on the approach to Old Yardley Village from Church Road.

I didn't know it at the time. but the entrance to Old Yardley Park was to the right of the Old Grammar School. But at the time I was there to have a look around the village. The school was originally built as a Guildhall.

There is a garden in Old Yardley Park next to the Grammar School, but I wouldn't really go through there until 2014. The school closed in 1908, and was being used as a Parish Room with a youth club upstairs (back in 2010).

2014

In April 2014 I headed to Old Yardley Park to try out the camera on my then new Sony smartphone camera. Including testing out some of the filters (so left my then Fuji bridge camera at home).

In the garden close to the Old Grammar School was this memorial to Josiah Derrington (1835-1920) and Caroline Derrington (1830-1916). I would get another look at the Derrington Memorial in 2017. It looks like it was a drinking fountain. The Derrington family were brick makers based nearby in Hay Mills in the 19th century. The memorial fountain was restored in 2012, during the restoration works, which included laying out a Rose Garden and Herbaceous Border.

A view of the playground / play area from a distance.

On my then Sony smartphone camera (and my current one), in the camera, if you press Mode, then select Creative effect. Choose Kaleidoscope. I used this effect to get the spire of St Edburgha's Church mirror imaged.

I next used on Creative effect, Sepia, to make it look like an old photo (looks like my current phone doesn't have this mode). Again you can see the spire of St Edburgha's Church.

As I left, saw this Old Yardley Park sign. What was new at the time was the sign at the bottom for the Diamond Jubilee Gardens 2012 for the Yardley Conservation Society. The gardens was opened by the then Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor John Lines (with his wife the Lady Mayoress, Mrs Kathleen Lines) in October 2012.

2017

It took me until January 2017 before I would return to Old Yardley Park with my main camera (by them my current Panasonic). It was a late morning / midday walk. I would suspect that I entered the park from Church Road at the time.

The view towards the spire of St Edburgha's Church.

A couple of views of the playground / play area.

All the usual play equipment there for kids such as a couple of slides. The view of the play area towards Queens Road.

Some kind of tyre swing, around in circles? It's not a see-saw though.

One of the slides in the play area,

This thing in the middle seems to have springs below it.

Saw this Old Yardley Park sign from Queens Road.

There was another Old Yardley Park sign further into the park near those trees.

A big open field in the park.

Heading over towards School Lane.

The path near School Lane.

The gate park into the park from School Lane.

Saw a blackbird enjoying a bath in a puddle of water on the grass.

Another blackbird on the grass. The grass was quite wet, so it must have rained around this time.

Saw this curved bench. Around this area is a Youth Shelter.

Back to the garden near the Old Grammar School and a proper look at the Derrington memorial. The side at the back.

The bronze plaque reads:

IN LOVEING MEMORY OF

JOSIAH

DERRINGTON

1835 - 1920

AND

CAROLINE

DERRINGTON

1830 - 1916

The memorial is now surrounded by these railings. This was a fountain, and it was restored in 2012 during the Diamond Jubilee Gardens project. Derrington & Sons was brick makers in Hay Mills in the late 19th century.

There used to be tennis courts around here, but they had become neglected. The 2012 restoration works replaces it with this garden. Facing the Old Grammar School. It is now the Rose Garden.

There is also a Herbaceous Border in the garden. I will need to one day go back in the summer to see what it is like now. As wasn't much to see in the winter of January 2017.

For photos of the restoration works, see Robert C Jones post here: Yardley Old Park - the Restoration 2012.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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60 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
11 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Wootton Wawen Aqueduct and the Edstone Aqueduct on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal

Recently I've had the chance to go to the Edstone Aqueduct in Warwickshire for a walk up the Stratford-on-Avon Canal. Didn't quite get to the Wootton Wawen Aqueduct this time around, but I popped over it several years ago. Wootton Wawen built in 1813 and Edstone in 1816. This canal links Kings Norton to Stratford-upon-Avon. The Edstone Aqueduct is the longest aqueduct in England.

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The Wootton Wawen Aqueduct and the Edstone Aqueduct on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal





Recently I've had the chance to go to the Edstone Aqueduct in Warwickshire for a walk up the Stratford-on-Avon Canal. Didn't quite get to the Wootton Wawen Aqueduct this time around, but I popped over it several years ago. Wootton Wawen built in 1813 and Edstone in 1816. This canal links Kings Norton to Stratford-upon-Avon. The Edstone Aqueduct is the longest aqueduct in England.


Wootton Wawen Aqueduct

The Wootton Wawen Aqueduct is a Grade II* listed aqueduct dating to 1813. It crosses the A3400 Stratford Road in Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire near The Navigation Inn. It was restored in 1960. It was built by William Whitmore for the Stratford Canal Company. Made of a Cast-iron trough with integral towpath with cast-iron railings. The Southern Stratford Canal was built from 1793-1816. The canal was leased by the National Trust in 1960 from the British Waterways Board. They also acquired the freehold of the canal in 1964. The Wootton Wawen Aqueduct is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Seen from the Stratford Road in July 2014, near The Navigation Inn. There is a plaque in the middle with an 1813 date.

Seen during late April 2017, some time before 8pm in the evening before sunset to finally cross the Wootton Wawen Aqueduct for the first time.

This aqueduct is quite short, so it doesn't take long to cross it.

The Navigation Inn see to the left. Beyond was a garage.

To the right of the Wooton Wawen Aqueduct is Anglo Welsh Waterway Holidays. Where you can hire a narrowboat.

The steps takes you slightly below the level of the water.

This aqueduct has been here well over 200 years, and has had some modifications since then.

I'm not sure what this archway was for though.

Edstone Aqueduct

The Edstone Aqueduct is a Grade II* listed aqueduct dating to 1816. It is the longest canal aqueduct in England at a length of 475 feet (145 m). It crosses Salters Lane, the Shakespeare Line (between Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon), a minor road and the trackbed of the former Alcester Railway. It was built from 1812-16. It was made of English bond grey brick piers, and regular coursed stone and brick abutments. With some late 19th century engineering brick. It carried what was formerly called the South Stratford Canal. It is between Wilmcote and Wootton Wawen, and is also near Bearley (sometimes also called the Bearley Aqueduct).

This visit was on the last day of May 2020, as lockdown restrictions were eased. It was warm but not too warm in the morning. Arriving near the car park on Salters Lane. Was a brilliant blue sky that morning in Warwickshire.

It is the longest canal aqueduct in England.

Got some brilliant shadows from the railings onto the towpath here.

It didn't even feel scary or nervous to walk over this aqueduct compared to some other ones I've been on. Then again it wasn't too high.

The Shakespeare Line crossed underneath. Also known as the North Warwickshire Railway. Or the Birmingham and North Warwickshire railway. I kept hearing trains, but didn't get to this spot on the aqueduct in time to see them.

The view of the Edstone Aqueduct from Bearley Lock No. 39. From here it looks quite small.

Later on the walk back down the Stratford-on-Avon Canal, saw the rare sight of a narrowboat (on the move during lockdown). Behind was an inflatable dinghy. Then again this was my first canal walk in more than 3 months.

Due to social distancing, we had to wait for other people to cross the aqueduct before us.

I found a hill with a wooden banister and popped down for this view. Wasn't really a path, so had to drag myself back up to the canal along the banister.

Time to cross the Edstone Aqueduct again.

One last look before we returned to Birmingham. The car park is to the left. Good point to start walks, take your dog for a walk, or bike rides.

There is at least one or two other aqueducts on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal that I've yet to walk over. But waiting until the late Spring to go over the Edstone Aqueduct (even under lockdown) was worth it. And was best to wait till now, as in the winter, it might have been muddy on the canal. Some of the towpath was really dry, and the mud or soil was cracked (and hard to walk over).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

 

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70 passion points
Art, culture & creativity
10 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

NHS Angel by Luke Perry at Lightwoods Park

Recently had a chance to return to Lightwoods Park in Bearwood (in the car, not allowed to travel on the bus at the moment). And while on my walk I found Luke Perry's temporary NHS Angel sculpture. It is near Hagley Road West. It has a message "Thank You NHS & Care Workers". It is called Wings and Scrubs.

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NHS Angel by Luke Perry at Lightwoods Park





Recently had a chance to return to Lightwoods Park in Bearwood (in the car, not allowed to travel on the bus at the moment). And while on my walk I found Luke Perry's temporary NHS Angel sculpture. It is near Hagley Road West. It has a message "Thank You NHS & Care Workers". It is called Wings and Scrubs.


The Winged sculpture was unveiled early in May 2020. It was a tribute to the NHS and Care Workers 'angels' who have been treated people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Black Country sculptor Luke Perry created it using steel and other metals in his factory in Cradley Heath.

He worked with Sandwell Council and it was installed at Lightwoods Park near the Hagley Road West in Bearwood. It is a temporary installation called Wings and Scrubs. It has the inscription THANK YOU NHS & CARE WORKERS.

More details at the link above from Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council.

You can see it on your daily walk around Lightwoods Park and the Warley Woods.

Saw it myself on the 2nd June 2020.

I will do a proper Lightwoods Park post soon, from my various visits over the years from 2011 to 2020.

My post on Lightwoods House is here: The restoration of Lightwoods House in Lightwoods Park.

 

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
10 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Trittiford Mill Pool in the Shire Country Park

There is many satellite parks within the Shire Country Park. One of the most popular for walks or cycle rides is the Trittiford Mill Pool in Yardley Wood. Trittiford Park has been built up since the late 1920s. The pool is fed by a millrace cut from the River Cole approx 20 yards south of Slade Lane. The park covers 15.34 acres of which 8 acres is covered by the pool itself.

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The Trittiford Mill Pool in the Shire Country Park





There is many satellite parks within the Shire Country Park. One of the most popular for walks or cycle rides is the Trittiford Mill Pool in Yardley Wood. Trittiford Park has been built up since the late 1920s. The pool is fed by a millrace cut from the River Cole approx 20 yards south of Slade Lane. The park covers 15.34 acres of which 8 acres is covered by the pool itself.


Trittiford Mill Pool, Shire Country Park

The Shire Country Park covers a four mile section of the River Cole Valley, Chinn Brook Valley, Moseley Bog and other satellite parks. The unique landscape is managed by the Birmingham Park Ranger Service and other local volunteers.

The parkland around Trittiford Park has been developed since the late 1920s. The River Cole nearby feeds the pool via a millrace close to Slade Lane. It is part of a vital chain of habitats that runs along the Cole Valley and is a S.I.N.C. Site of importance to Nature Conservation.

The Trittiford Mill Pool was created to supply water to Titterford Mill, which is known to have existed since 1779. The mill used to be at Trittiford Road where there are now buildings at Mill Gardens. The mill was advertised in 1784 as a new water corn mill. By the mid 19th century a steam engine was added. The mill was demolished after a fire in 1926.

The pool is home to a variety of wetland wildlife, including the Moorhen, Mute Swan, Black-Headed Gull and Pochard. Grey Heron can be regularly seen here.

Beyond the Trittiford Mill Pool to the south is the Scribers Lane Site of importance to Nature Conservation (usually just called Scribers Lane). The Dingles is to the north, and Chinn Brook Meadows to the west. It is in Yardley Wood.

The parkland is surrounded by Highfield Road to the north, Priory Road to the west, and Scribers Lane to the south.

I have been visiting the Trittiford Mill Pool multiple times over the years starting on Christmas Day 2013.

2013

Early on the morning of the 25th December 2013, sometime after 10am in the morning, we went for our first walk around the Trittiford Mill Pool.

Approaching the mill pool from the entrance near Highfield Road and Priory Road in Yardley Wood.

It was quite early in the morning so was a lot of bright sunlight over the mill pool.

Saw a Coot swimming in the mill pool.

The tarmac path was a bit old at this point. It would be replaced in the years to come.

This was still quite near the beginning of the walk around the pool in a clockwise direction.

Most trees without leaves apart from the evergreen ones.

The trees made nice reflections in the pool.

Sunlight was still a bit too bright.

Now saw a gull in the pool.

Swans and ducks.

Lots of gulls perched on this branch in the mill pool.

Quite a lot of Canada Geese here.

A lady in a Christmas hat as they fed the swans, geese and ducks. Was a lot of "Merry Christmas" greetings around the pool that morning.

All the swans, geese and ducks on the bank of the pool as they were eating bread. Please do not feed the birds bread. It is not good for them.

More Canada Geese and gulls around.

At the end of the fist walk, the way in or out near the bollards from Priory Road.

One of the signs that Welcomes you to the Shire Country Park and the Trittiford Mill Pool. It appears to be in the Selly Oak District at the time.

2016

The second walk into the Trittiford Mill Pool was during May 2016. It was the May Day Bank Holiday walk in the Shire Country Park, starting at the Sarehole Mill car park via John Morris Jones Walkway, The Dingles, Trittiford Mill Pool and Scribers Lane and back. At the time the Council was having new paths and wooden fences installed.

A new wooden fence near the new path. At a section where water from the River Cole goes into the Mill Pool.

There was containers with graffiti on them and bags of building materials.

The grass was looking like they had just relaid it or something.

Fresh new tarmac paths to walk over the new bridge.

Another Coot in the mill pool.

First time seeing a Great Cormorant, perched on a tree branch.

Near the end of the Mill Pool a new footbridge going over the link from the pool into the River Cole.

Beyond here, the River Cole splits into two as it goes into the Scribers Lane S.I.N.C. area.

Back in the Trittiford Mill Pool saw this Greylag Goose.

More Greylag Geese plus Canada Geese and some ducks.

Another walk in December 2016. The new footpaths were now complete. Nearby is a small field where horse riders can go around with their horses. This area is off Brookwood Avenue in Yardley Wood.

Wasn't much leaves on the trees, so could see a lady riding her horse around.

This time I spotted a Little Egret perched on a branch.

The usual Canada Geese swimming around the mill pool.

A gull in flight and other gulls around. One also perched at the bottom of a branch.

2017

The snow of December 2017. This was during the none stop snowfall of the 10th December 2017. Was was so cold and freezing that day!

Snow on the River Cole as I approached the Mill Pool from Highfield Road.

A winter wonderland in Yardley Wood.

Even the fingerpost was covered in snow. Directions to The Dingles and Scribers Lane.

Snow every where, only a quick look, as the snow was so thick.

Still there was some people around the mill pool.

Saw this dog near the mill pool which was frozen over.

There were birds in the pool but was a bit hard to see in these blizzard conditions at the time.

This was the only time I've seen this area covered in snow.

There's not been December snowfall since.

2020

My first lockdown through here was in March 2020 as social distancing measures had started. Got on from Scribers Lane near the River Cole.

Shadows on the footbridge as I only did half of the mill pool this time around.

Was a blue sky, trees hadn't quite yet regrown their leaves.

Saw another Little Egret as I headed towards the main part of the Mill Pool.

Lots of people ahead, hopefully socially distancing. It was on the 26th March 2020, so people were still getting used to the lockdown restrictions at the time.

Saw an island in the middle of the lake where the birds usually are.

Quite a lot of ducks and Canada Geese close to the path. People walking their dogs, people having a walk. Some sitting on benches.

I think some ducks were flying over the mill pool there.

This swan made a nice reflection in the mill pool.

A man in blue running ahead of me, he would next go into The Dingles, as would I. Although he went well ahead of me at the time.

Another walk around in May 2020. Starting from the Priory Road entrance. We walked half way around the Mill Pool, then into the Scribers Lane S.I.N.C. before completing the second half, and exiting at Priory Road.

Saw a few people going around on their bikes.

Seagulls perched on branches.

Saw a Coot with her baby Coots. Look how cut they were!

There was also a Coot nest nearby.

Later after coming back from Scribers Lane, back on the path towards Priory Road, as other people walked ahead. If we got close, we went onto the grass, trying to be 2 metres apart from them (if possible).

I also saw this black Great Cormorant perched on a branch.

Leaves on the trees fully grown back. May was a dry, hot month.

After leaving the Trittiford Mill Pool, one last look from Priory Road before going home.

More posts coming soon from the Shire Country Park, so watch this space!

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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