Sandwell Valley Country Park, West Midlands - A wonderful open space!

Sandwell Valley Country Park is situated in West Bromwich, Sandwell, West Midlands. Here you can find Sandwell Park Farm, the Swan Pool, and the ruins of Sandwell Priory and Sandwell Hall.


Where is Sandwell Valley Country Park?

Sandwell Valley Country Park starts from Salter's Lane, West Bromwich, Sandwell, West Midlands, B71 4BG. It stretches towards Park Lane, West Bromwich, B71 3SZ (near the Swan Pool).

Sandwell Valley Country ParkSandwell Valley Country Park towards the Visitor Centre and farm (July 2017). Photography by Elliott Brown


It is near Salter's Lane and Dartmouth Park. The park is split in half by the M5 motorway.

Sandwell Valley Country ParkRoad train at Sandwell Valley Country Park (July 2017). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

In brief

This green flag park contains two visitor centres, Forge Mill Farm and Sandwell Park Farm. Sot's Hole is one of three Local Nature Reserves in the Country Park. The highest point of Sandwell Valley is in Birmingham and is known as Hill Top, where the remains of a World War 2 gun emplacement can still be found there.

Sandwell Valley Country ParkWelcome to Sandwell Valley Country Park. Entrance from St John's Close off Europa Avenue, West Bromwich (August 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

History of Sandwell Valley Country Park

Sandwell Valley Country Park was historically the site of the Sandwell Priory, a 12th Century Benedictine monastery. It was closed on the orders of Cardinal Wolsey in 1525, and by 1705 it was redeveloped into Sandwell Hall, built for the Earl of Dartmouth. The hall was used from the late 19th Century as an asylum, and then in 1907 a home for boys "Sandwell Hall Industrial School for Mentally Defective Boys". Sandwell Hall was demolished in 1928 due to subsidence caused from mining in Sandwell Park Colliery. A cole tramway ran from the Jubilee pit to the canal at Smethwick. The park was developed in the 1960s with up to 660 acres set aside for amenities.

Sandwell Valley Country Park

Ruins of the Sandwell Priory or Sandwell Hall at Sandwell Valley Country Park (June 2019). Photography by Karl Newton

 

Sandwell Valley Country Park Visitor Centre

This is the location of the Sandwell Valley Country Park Visitor Centre. It is a Grade II listed building. Located off Lodge Hill Road in West Bromwich. The farm buildings probably dates to circa 1800.  Arranged around a square farmyard, with buildings on three sides. The farm buildings were built for the Earl of Dartmouth's Sandwell Hall estate as the home farm.

Sandwell Valley Country Park Visitor CentreVisitor Centre at Sandwell Valley Country Park (July 2017). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Sandwell Park Farm

This farm runs along Salters Lane in West Bromwich. You can walk along the rough path towards the first bridge that crosses over the M5 motorway. Along the way you can see fields with cows and sheep.

Sandwell Park Farm

Sandwell Park FarmSandwell Park Farm at Sandwell Valley Country Park (August 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Swan Pool

This is the largest lake at Sandwell Valley Country Park. It is called the Swan Pool (alternative names include Wasson or Warstone). Used for sailing. Home of ducks, geese and swans. Paths around the lake for walks, taking your dog for a walk. Also used by cyclists.

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley Country Park

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley Country Park

Swan Pool Sandwell Valley Country ParkSwan Pool at Sandwell Valley Country Park (August 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Sandwell Priory Ruins

The remains of Sandwell Priory, a medieval Benedictine monastery, which was excavated between 1982 and 1988. Some of the finds are on display at a small museum at Sandwell Park Farm. It was built in the mid 12th century by William son of Guy de Offeni, Lord of the Manor of West Bromwich. It was located next to the 'Sand Well' a natural spring a short distance to the south from which the Priory gets its name. In the first couple of centuries there was probably hundreds of monks here, but by the second half of the 14th century, there was only about one or two monks at the priory. After a recovery in the 15th century, the numbers declined again by the time Cardinal Wolsey closed it in 1525. By this date there was only the Prior and one monk, and many buildings were in a poor state.

Sandwell Priory Ruins

Sandwell Priory RuinsSandwell Priory Ruins at Sandwell Valley Country Park (August 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Sandwell Hall Ruins

Sandwell Hall was built in top of Sandwell Priory in 1705. The site was bought by Lord Dartmouth in 1701, and in 1705 he demolished most of the existing buildings to build a new house. It was built if brick and had towers on three corners. In the 19th century a portico supported by columns was added to the front of the hall, and the hall was extended to the west. The Dartmouth's moved to Patshull near Wolverhampton in 1853, and Sandwell Hall had a variety of uses before it was demolished in 1928.

Sandwell Hall Ruins

Sandwell Hall RuinsSandwell Hall Ruins at Sandwell Valley Country Park (August 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Events over the years

There has been a variety of events over the years at Sandwell Valley Country Park, this is just sample of the events from the past few years.

Sandwell Valley Children's Fun Fair

This was open at weekends and every day during the school summer holidays from July to August 2017. A sign pointed you in the direction from outside of Dartmouth Park. The Sandwell Valley Kids Funfair might actually be a permenant fun fair in the country park.

Sandwell Valley Children's Fun Fair

Children's Fun Fair at Sandwell Valley Country Park (July 2017). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

The Big Sleuth Birmingham 2017

There was several painted bears to find around West Bromwich Town Centre in the summer of 2017. One could be found outside of the Sandwell Valley Country Park Visitor Centre for 10 weeks starting in July 2017. You would find a bear called Uncle B by the artists Louise Blakeley and Warren McCabe-Smith, working with Cradley Heath Creative. Funded by Cradley Heath and Sandwell Council.

Uncle B Sandwell Valley Country Park

Uncle B (by Louise Blakeley and Warren McCabe-Smith) in Sandwell Valley Country Park (July 2017). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

There was also several little bears part of the Little Bears Detective Club inside of the Visitor Centre at the time.

 

Project dates

03 Jun 2019 - On-going

Passions

History & heritage, Photography, Environment & green action
People & community, Rivers, lakes & canals, Green open spaces

Contact

Your Place Your Space

Jonathan Bostock

0121 410 5520
jonathan.bostock@ yourplaceyourspace.com