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Protecting our green open spaces

Green Spaces and Us is all about promoting and supporting social value, providing a shared digital space where people can showcase what they do and can together make a difference by helping to protect their environment.

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Green open spaces
Displaying until 01 Sep 2021 - FreeTimePays
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Love our parks - get involved!

As Lockdown rules start to enable more people to enjoy their parks and green spaces, we all want to ensure that these wonderful places of natural beauty are protected for all to enjoy.  This community collective will share some of the brilliant initiatives running across the UK and show just how, together, we can make a difference for the benefit of all.  Connect with us.

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Love our parks - get involved!





As Lockdown rules start to enable more people to enjoy their parks and green spaces, we all want to ensure that these wonderful places of natural beauty are protected for all to enjoy.  This community collective will share some of the brilliant initiatives running across the UK and show just how, together, we can make a difference for the benefit of all.  Connect with us.


Over the next month and for the remainder of 2020, we will be growing our reach and pull together information and details on all the great work being carried out across communities as they collectively protect their parks.  

This will grow into a massive 'community-led' resource for people with a shared interest and passion for their local parks and green spaces.  

Here's just a few of the ideas and initiatives we will be telling you more about so we can share and get more people actively involved.

Litter picking groups - they do a fantastic job.  We'll connect you with your local group.

Art & Culture Trail.  We'll help you set up your trail and showcase your parks.

Walking clubs. We'll connect you and bring in more friends.

Park angels.  Volunteering with a difference.  We'll tell you more.

Creativity and green spaces collide.  Let's look at how art, music, photography and creativity in all its forms can help promote and protect our parks. 

Parks and mental health.  A walk, ride or jog in the park can do so much for your mental health.

There's something for everyone.

Connect with us and help us protect our parks. 

 

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60 passion points
Environment & green action
14 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Blackberry Way and the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve in the Shire Country Park

Two sections of the Shire Country Park here. During a May 2020 lockdown walk. After leaving the Greet Mill Meadow at the Stratford Road, we continued on into the Blackberry Way. Then crossed into the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve from Formans Road in Sparkhill. Both run alongside the River Cole towards the Cole Valley Business Park. A lot of history here. Also a litter issue.

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The Blackberry Way and the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve in the Shire Country Park





Two sections of the Shire Country Park here. During a May 2020 lockdown walk. After leaving the Greet Mill Meadow at the Stratford Road, we continued on into the Blackberry Way. Then crossed into the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve from Formans Road in Sparkhill. Both run alongside the River Cole towards the Cole Valley Business Park. A lot of history here. Also a litter issue.


Blackberry Way and the

Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve

The Blackberry Way and the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve are part of the Shire Country Park and are located in Sparkhill. My first walk in these areas was during a lockdown walk in May 2020, which started from the Sarehole Mill Car Park, and went via the Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground and the Greet Mill Meadow.

For related posts click the links below:

 

Blackberry Way

The Blackberry Way is located between the Stratford Road and Formans Road in Sparkhill (near the Springfield and Hall Green border). It starts from the Stratford Road Bridge (which opened in 1914) and runs alongside the River Cole. In the 14th century the area was known as Foulemoreslone or as Fole- or Fullford (foul ford). But today is called the Blackberry Way. It was named after a consultation with local residents and thought to be highly suitable as it is one of the best blackberry picking sections of the Shire Country Park. This area has a litter problem, either in the River Cole or alongside the path.

Starting from the Stratford Road entrance, just head into the gate on the right.

The sign for the Blackberry Way in the Shire Country Park from Birmingham City Council. It says "Please help us to care for your local green spaces. No Dumping of Rubbish".

Sadly the first thing I saw was rubbish down in the River Cole, and along the path.

Saw a dumped trolley hanging up-side-down on the poles of the sign near the Stratford Road. This is not the place to dump your rubbish, and the trolley should be at the supermarket it came from!

During May 2020, there was cow parsley growing alongside the path.

The trees were lush and green, having grown back fast during the second full month of lockdown.

The path continues straight on past the trees and cow parsley.

Approaching the gate at Formans Road. Beyond here was the Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve.

Later coming back into the Blackberry Way. Headed down this grass path along the cow parsley.

A bit of a tree canopy here.

Getting back to the Stratford Road entrance, and soon about to go back into the Greet Mill Meadow.

Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve

The Burbury Brickworks is located between Formans Road in Sparkhill and the Cole Valley Business Park. Beyond this area you can walk around The Ackers (which is beyond Warwick Road, but I've not done The Ackers yet). It is a 13 acre site of a former brick making factory that existed here until the early 1960s. The River Cole runs alongside one part of the nature reserve. When the brickworks closed the area returned to it's natural state. It now has a marshland and young oak trees. This area also had a litter problem.

The Burbury Brickworks Nature Reserve sign at the Formans Road entrance. As with the Blackberry Way this Birmingham City Council sign says "Please help us to care for your local green spaces. No Dumping of Rubbish".

There was a pair of paths in the Burbury Brickworks. We too the right path.

The trees on this path were lush and green. Some cow parsley along the path as well.

First signs of rubbish alongside the path. Why can't people dispose of their rubbish properly and use the bin?

So much takeaway rubbish around the benches that it attracted hungry crows looking for some food. The bin was also slanted a bit.

Nearing the gate close to the Cole Valley Business Park. Turned back after this. But did briefly pop out of the gate, and back in.

Beyond here is the Cole Valley Business Park. I would think you would have to walk or cycle past towards the Warwick Road to find the entrance to The Ackers, but I've not been there yet.

On the walk back in the Burbury Brickworks found part of the River Cole.

A wooden footbridge over a stream (I don't think this crosses the River Cole).

On the Wetland Walkway saw this pond surrounded by trees. It's hard to believe that a brickworks was in this area until about 60 years ago.

One of the fingerposts of the Shire Country Park was in the water. I'm not sure if it's still in there 2 and a half months on, but Council officials or park rangers needs to fish it out, and repair it.

On the way out saw this NO DUMPING sign from Birmingham City Council. Your City Your Birmingham. Can locals and visitors please not dump their waste in the Shire Country Park. Dispose of your litter properly. Care for the environment.

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
30 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Dorothy Round and Priory Park in Dudley

In the second Priory Park, Dudley post, we will look at other areas of the park other than the Priory Ruins (see my previous post). Priory Hall is also in the park and is used for weddings. Built in 1825 for the Earls of Dudley. There is a blue plaque here for Duncan Edwards (Manchester United player died in Munich crash of 1958). Also Dorothy Round bronze statue. Dudley born tennis player

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Dorothy Round and Priory Park in Dudley





In the second Priory Park, Dudley post, we will look at other areas of the park other than the Priory Ruins (see my previous post). Priory Hall is also in the park and is used for weddings. Built in 1825 for the Earls of Dudley. There is a blue plaque here for Duncan Edwards (Manchester United player died in Munich crash of 1958). Also Dorothy Round bronze statue. Dudley born tennis player


PRIORY PARK DUDLEY

Priory Park is located in Dudley, West Midlands. A 19 acre site it opened in 1932. The park includes the historic grounds of Dudley Priory. The park has a wood, playing fields and a lily pond. There is also tennis courts, basketball courts, a bowling green, a cricket area and a football pitch. The park was restored in 2013.

My visits were during January 2011 and October 2016 (usually an hour long bus ride from Birmingham to Dudley). Hopefully in the future when the West Midlands Metro line opens here, journey times from Birmingham will be faster.

January 2011

For my last Priory Park post on the Ruins of Dudley Priory click this link: The ruins of Dudley Priory in Priory Park, Dudley.

Continuing on from my Priory Ruins post (above) with Priory Hall and it's gardens.

Priory Hall is a Grade II listed building, built in 1825 in the Tudor Style. It was formerly the seat of the Earls of Dudley. Built of Ashlar. The Earl never lived here but allowed it to be used as a residence and offices for his principle agent of his Dudley estates. This view from the snow covered lily pond.

These days, Priory Halll is used as a training and conference centre and is also used for weddings held by Dudley Register Office.

One last look at Priory Hall before I left the park and walked back into Dudley Town Centre.

The road in the park from Priory Hall towards the roundabout at The Broadway and Priory Road.

This is the lily pond surrounded by an old stone wall. Frozen over by the snowfall at the time. The walls have been built a little bit like a castle.

To the back of the gardens was this shelter. It was built in the 1950s and re-built in the 1990s after suffering from vandalism. The roof suffered badly and this was not re-built. Although it does reduce it's usefulness from sheltering from the rain.

Wooden sculpture in the Priory Hall gardens. It was designed by Jonathan Mulvaney in 1992 and stands close to the lily pond. It is called People Group.

Another view of the wooden People Group sculpture from the back, looking towards the lily pond.

October 2016

More than 5 years after my last visit. This time mainly to see the statue of Dorothy Round and to find the blue plaque of Duncan Edwards.

Since my last visit, the park had been restored and these new sculpted gates installed. This was near the entrance at Priory Road and The Broadway. The decorative gateway was designed by Steve Field and installed in 2013.

Another angle of the same gates. By the looks of it, they illustrate Dudley's medieval history.

Looking back through the gates to the roundabout. Directions to Dudley Zoo and Castle. Also to the Black Country Living Museum.

One more view of the Priory Park gates.

It was autumn, so there was a lot of leaves on the ground. Was a view from here towards Dudley Castle.

This was the zoomed in view of Dudley Castle from Priory Park. In ruins now, it was built from 1070 and in use until at least 1750. Built of limestone. Dudley Zoo is now located in those grounds. It's a Grade I listed building. For my West Midlands Castle post click here: Castles within the West Midlands region.

Trees in the park with the leaves all over the lawn. Priory Park is the start of the Limestone Walk.

That day, there was a wedding on at Priory Hall. And saw a pair of wedding cars.

The wedding cars look old, but are probably modern builds to look like they are decades old. Didn't stay around here long as the wedding group was having their photos taken and didn't want to disturb them.

Heading past the tennis courts as I started to look for the Dorothy Round statue.

And now to the Dorothy Round statue. It was called The Return of Dorothy Round and by the sculptor John McKenna, unveiled in 2013. She was a World Number 1 British female tennis player. She was born in Dudley. It is near the tennis courts.

Close up view of the statue. Born in 1909 in Dudley, she died in 1982 in Kidderminster, aged 73. She won the Women's singles title at Wimbledon in 1934 and 1937. She also won the Australian Championships in 1935.

Wide view of the Dorothy Round statue with the tennis courts.

This is The Pavilion. It is where you would find the blue plaque in memory of Duncan Edwards.

A front view of The Pavilion. There are public toilets to the left and right. It was originally built in the 1930s but was renovated around 2013. It now includes the rangers offices, toilets and an educational space.

Here's the blue plaque for Duncan Edwards. A Footballer of genius. Born in Dudley in 1936, died in the Munich air disaster of 1958. He played for Manchester United and England. He grew up on the Priory Estate and attended Priory Primary School. The plaque was from Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.

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
27 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Billesley Common and the Haunch Brook Pathways in the Shire Country Park

The home of Birmingham Moseley Rugby Club is at Billesley Common in the Shire Country Park. There is paths in the woods called the Haunch Brook Pathways. The area is classed as a SLINC (Site of Local Importance to Nature Conservation). There was also a new Wetland area developed in 2010. Billesley Common was first mentioned in 1774 as common land. With a big open field used for rugby.

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Billesley Common and the Haunch Brook Pathways in the Shire Country Park





The home of Birmingham Moseley Rugby Club is at Billesley Common in the Shire Country Park. There is paths in the woods called the Haunch Brook Pathways. The area is classed as a SLINC (Site of Local Importance to Nature Conservation). There was also a new Wetland area developed in 2010. Billesley Common was first mentioned in 1774 as common land. With a big open field used for rugby.


Billesley Common

 

Billesley Common is located on Yardley Wood Road and Haunch Lane in Billesley, and is a satellite park of the Shire Country Park. There is also an entrance off Hollybank Road if you walk down Chessetts Grove alongside the Haunch Brook. The Haunch Brook Pathways are located to the south of the common with entrances on Haunch Lane and on Yardley Wood Road. To the north of the common is the current home of Birmingham Moseley Rugby Club. (since 2005). Also nearby there is the Billesley Indoor Tennis Centre. Between them is the City of Birmingham Indoor Bowls Club. If you walk past these places, you end up on Wheelers Lane. Going past the new home of the Irish Centre (in what used to be the West Midlands Travel Birmingham Sports & Social Club). There is also a Friends of Billesley Common that cleans the parkland, gets the footpaths resurfaced and the footbridge repaired.

 

You can park your car on the layby on Yardley Wood Road near Billesley Common. Although whenever I've been down there, I've seen a lot of litter and flytipping (hopefully the Council or the Community Group can clean it up now that lockdown is eased even more).

History of Billesley Common

Billesley Common was first mentioned in the history books back in 1774 as common land. Billesley was a typical Anglo-Saxon name, possibly a corruption of Bills Leah and the Anglo-Saxon word for Bill's clearing. Leah means a woodland clearing and a woodland clearing is known to have existed in Billesley north of the Chinn Brook. It is thought that their used to be an Anglo-Saxon settlement on the higher ground near the present day Wold Walk.

A new Wetland area was developed in 2010, which was created so that flood water could be received from the Haunch Brook. A variety of wildlife is known to be around here.

Your main walk around Billesley Common would be around the Haunch Brook Pathways. Follow the Perimeter Walk around and over the Haunch Brook. There is also a path that leads up to Moseley Rugby Football Club, which has an entrance off Yardley Wood Road on Woodroofe Way.

South of Billesley Common is the Chinn Brook Nature Reserve (near Cocks Moors Wood Golf Club), and also the Chinn Brook Meadows (also called the Chinn Brook Recreation Ground). I will cover those areas in two future posts (so watch this space).

October 2016

My first walk around Billesley Common, on the Perimeter Walk and the Haunch Brook Pathways was in October 2016. I had kept seeing it over the years from the no 76 bus when it stops on Haunch Lane.

The entrance from Haunch Lane into Billesley Common. The noticeboard and information sign were on the right.

Heading up the Haunch Brook Pathways into Billesley Common.

A look at the Haunch Brook. Behind that fence is Yardley Wood Road.

The path continues amongst the trees

At this point you have the entrance to Yardley Wood Road to the right and the Perimeter Walk to the left.

Heading onto the Perimeter Walk.

First view of the field, or the common. Various rugby goalposts up the hill and floodlights.

A pair of rugby goalposts.

Was a blue sky with clouds that afternoon (it was just before 1pm on the 2nd October 2016).

Saw this sign about Bird Life on Billesley Common around the Haunch Brook Pathways.

Footbridge over the Haunch Brook.

You can leave the Perimeter Walk and the Haunch Brook Pathways for the Hollybank Spinney. Just head towards Hollybank Road up Chessetts Grove (I've yet to check out the Hollybank Spinney).

Later back on Yardley Wood Road. Park your car up there for your walks around Billesley Common. It is up here though that I keep spotting rubbish and flytipping which is not nice to see.

March 2020

A few days before the lockdown kicked in in March 2020, we headed for a walk around Billesley Common. Parking on Yardley Wood Road, we had a walk around the Perimeter Walk, before getting the car up to Swanshurst Park next.

Starting from the Yardley Wood Road entrance, the trees were looking a bit bare at the time.

Heading up the path, the trees had yet to grow their leaves back.

View of the Haunch Brook behind the trees

Heading up the path near the common. The rugby field beyond towards Moseley Rugby Club.

Again I decided to do the Perimeter Walk this time so turned left at this fingerpost.

This rugby goalpost was looking quite rusted.

Zoomed up to the play area / playground. When lockdown came in properly, all play areas and playgrounds had to be closed down.

Another pair of rugby goalposts, probably the same ones as I saw 4 years ago. Was crows on the common.

A look at the trees from the Perimeter Walk. Strong sunlight.

The footbridge again over the Haunch Brook.

One of the views of the Haunch Brook from the footbridge.

If you head this way you go to the Wetland area. The last time I saw that footbridge (July 2020), it looked broken, but was OK to cross when I went on the 20th March 2020.

Pair of wooden footbridges over the Haunch Brook. The one on the left doesn't have a handrail to hold onto, so be careful.

July 2020

More recently went for an evening walk around Billesley Common. Again starting at the Yardley Wood Road entrance. But this time walking past Moseley Rugby Club and heading to the Wheelers Lane exit. Before going back in via Hollybank Road and Chessetts Grove. The walk was after 7pm in the evening on the 11th July 2020.

Heading up the Perimeter Path from the Yardley Wood Road entrance, there was bright sunshine in the evening, and the resulting photos of the common here came out a bit dark.

Like other City parks, the grass here had been cut for social distancing walks, with some long grass kept.

A long cloud on the left hides the sun which was behind it in the evening. Imagine the history here.

This time walking up the path towards Birmingham Moseley Rugby, past the rugby goalposts and floodlights.

The view towards Birmingham Moseley Rugby Club.

Now on the path towards Wheelers Lane. The road into Moseley Rugby Club was called Woodroofe Way.

The only part of the common not built on was to the right of the Rugby Club, Indoor Bowls Club and Indoor Tennis Centre.

After the walk up Wheelers Lane and down Hollybank Road, I got to the Haunch Brook near Chessetts Grove, and saw this banner. Thank you NHS. Thank you key workers. In this together. Stay safe.

The view of the Haunch Brook from the bridge on Hollybank Road. I will leave going into the Hollybank Spinney for a future time.

Back onto the Haunch Brook Pathways around the Perimeter Walk and I saw this Little Egret landing on this tree branch!

There had been a lot of growth of the bushes and the trees in the 4 months since my last visit here. This was on the Wetland area side.

Beyond the Wetland towards the common.

Heading out of the Haunch Brook Pathways up the path towards Haunch Lane. Leaves on the trees fully grown back.

Getting back to the Haunch Lane exit / entrance. The bus stop there is for the 18 and 76 bus routes. Drivers of the 76 usually change here. Just had to walk around to Yardley Wood Road for the car ride home.

I went to Hollybank Spinney on the 23rd July 2020. Look out for a post on it in the future in the Shire Country Park project (it's part of the Haunch Brook Pathways and is very short).

But first I will need to do posts on the Chinn Brook Meadows and the Chinn Brook Nature Reserve.

 

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
20 Jul 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

From Moor Green Lane into Holders Lane Woods

Did you know that you can get into some woods from Moor Green Lane in Selly Park and walk all the way into Cannon Hill Park? This is the Holders Lane Woods. Also here is the Holders Lane & Pebble Mill Fields, which runs alongside the River Rea. You can go for a pleasant walk around Holders Lane Woods. There is also an entrance on Holders Lane in Moseley itself.

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From Moor Green Lane into Holders Lane Woods





Did you know that you can get into some woods from Moor Green Lane in Selly Park and walk all the way into Cannon Hill Park? This is the Holders Lane Woods. Also here is the Holders Lane & Pebble Mill Fields, which runs alongside the River Rea. You can go for a pleasant walk around Holders Lane Woods. There is also an entrance on Holders Lane in Moseley itself.


Holders Lane Woods

I used to wonder how you would get into the back entrance of Cannon Hill Park. Before I figured it out, I used to walk down to the Russell Road entrance. But I later found a way in from Moor Green Lane in Selly Park. There is also an entrance into Holders Lane Woods from Holders Lane in Moseley. Either entrance are a good start for a walk into Cannon Hill Park, joining onto the Rea Valley Route. If you wanted to, you could walk all the way from Kings Heath Park, then into Highbury Park, then into Cannon Hill Park, but only if you went down Moor Green Lane.

Not far from the woods is the Holders Lane Playing Fields (Pebble Mill Playing Fields is on the other side of the River Rea and isn't very visible from the woods). There is a car park in the woods called Cannon Hill Park, Holders Lane South Carpark. But if the gate was closed (as it was during lockdown) you can park outside the woods on Holders Lane itself. The Moor Green Allotments is also quite close to the Holders Lane entrance.

You can find a Conservation Group on Twitter about the Holders Woods.

2018

My first walk into Holders Lane Woods was during April 2018. Getting in from Moor Green Lane in Selly Park. Days earlier I had walked the Rea Valley Route getting on from Second Avenue in Selly Park and crossing a footbridge over the River Rea. Later exiting at Holders Lane. A couple of days later I returned, but this time got in from Moor Green Lane and exited at Holders Lane.

From Moor Green Lane I went up Brockley Grove to the entrance of the woods just beyond that gate. A man running ahead of me. It is close to the Moor Green Lane Medical Centre.

This sign welcomes you to the Holders Lane & Pebble Mill Fields. Dog owners are being told to keep their dog beheaved, pick up their mess etc.

The path going straight ahead. The trees were a bit bare at this point.

The path curving around the trees.

Then you get to a sign saying Welcome to Cannon Hill Park & Holders Lane Woods.

View of one of the Holders Lane Playing Fields. There is views of Old Joe from around here.

Into the woods itself. Trees seem to have had surgery at the time. But would be in leaf within a month.

Was a bit of a dirt path going through the woods here.

The paths splitting in two directions.

In the car park saw this Evergreen container.

2019

Second walk through the woods in August 2019. This time walked all the way from Moor Green Lane and into Cannon Hill Park for the first time via a slightly different route to the year before.

In high summer the trees were lush and green.

Heading past the same sign as before, go this way into Cannon Hill Park via Holders Lane Woods.

Looks so different in here with all the leaves fully on the trees. Hard to believe that this is within Birmingham!

The same woods that I passed before but the leaves were fully grown back.

Heading up a leafy avenue of trees up this path.

One of the small footbridges to cross over.

You can tell that lower down branches have been cut off by tree surgeons in the past.

There was a second footbridge to cross over. Looks suitable to ride your bike over it.

Nearing the end of the woods.

Last view of the woods before going onto the Rea Valley Route and into Cannon Hill Park.

2020

The most recent walk around Holders Lane Woods was as the lockdown was eased during May 2020. Parking on Holders Lane and a walk around Cannon Hill Park. Later walking back via the Rea Valley Route, we had a walk around the woods, down a side path.

First up, a look at the empty Holders Lane Playing Fields as we walk towards Cannon Hill Park.

The Council had cut the grass into strips for social distancing (for the 2 metre rule) in the Holders Lane Playing Fields.

Could see a man in the distance trying it out.

Later heading back into the woods after going up the Rea Valley Route.

A lot of tree coverage above these paths.

Saw some cow parsley growing along this dirt path.

Another view of the Holders Lane Playing Fields with the field mown into stripes.

Now heading into the woods proper.

Somewhere to sit in the woods. But remember to keep your social distance!

Was some bluebells growing in the long grass.

It looks so peaceful in the woods here. As the sunlight comes through and the shadows all around.

After going as far as Moor Green Lane / Brockley Grove we turned back. Another view of the Holders Lane Playing Fields. The Muirhead Tower at the University of Birmingham was visible from here.

More trees looking lush and green as we headed back through the woods.

You can take the main path, but there is side paths. And dog walkers are welcome. Although I've seen them off the leash in here!

Before we left, I noticed this boggy water area. After this headed back to Holders Lane to end the walk and go home.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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

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