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Green open spaces
03 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Another visit to Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills

Only really had time for one park walk during the second lockdown (before I had to go back to work in the middle of November 2020). We went to Beacon Hill a the Lickey Hills Country Park (by car). After getting the skyline view updates, we walked into the woods, down and around the muddy paths. Got as far as a stream before going back up. The woods were covered in leaves and was quite wet.

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Another visit to Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills





Only really had time for one park walk during the second lockdown (before I had to go back to work in the middle of November 2020). We went to Beacon Hill a the Lickey Hills Country Park (by car). After getting the skyline view updates, we walked into the woods, down and around the muddy paths. Got as far as a stream before going back up. The woods were covered in leaves and was quite wet.


Beacon Hill into the woods with mud

The weather in November 2020, hasn't been great. We were in lockdown again for 4 weeks. So couldn't go far unless going in the car. And I wouldn't go back to work in the City Centre until the middle of the month (by which time the weather had improved a bit).

Before then we went in the car to Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park on the 10th November 2020. Was a bit cloudy. First priority was to get updates of the skyline. Then we had a bit of a walk down the hill into the woods. Some paths were quite muddy and wet, so shoes and jeans got covered in the muck.

Some signposts pointed to the Rose & Crown and Monument Lane. Although we ended up not getting close to either of those (apart from the road with the stream).

 

Birmingham Skyline, November 2020

First up checking out the Birmingham Skyline. New to the skyline is 103 Colmore Row and The Mercian.

As well as The Bank Tower's 1 & 2.

You can see why they call Birmingham the City of trees!

If you zoom in a bit, you can see Old Joe at the University of Birmingham on the skyline with The Sentinels and the Beetham Tower.

Zooming in from Beacon Hill to see 103 Colmore Row to the left of The Cube.

103 Colmore Row was seen behind Chamberlain Tower at The Vale Village (University of Birmingham).

The zoom in to The Mercian finds it in front of The BT Tower. The Bank Towers's 1 & 2 seen to the left.

You also have the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and Park Regis Birmingham Hotel in this view.

Beacon Hill Toposcope

All my main Toposcope photos were taken back during my earlier May 2013 visit so wasn't going to take any new shots of it. But took this pair after the muddy walk down and around the woods as we headed back to the car park.

Was good to be back at the top of the hill, after getting a bit lost around the woods as you will see below. Nice to see the Toposcope again!

Around the woods in the mud

At first the path in the woods close to the top of the hill looked quite dry.

There was leaves all over the ground below the trees.

The further you got in, the more autumnal it looked, but off the paths.

Up to the fingerpost. Rose & Crown to the left, Monument Lane to the right.

Behind the fingerpost, the hill going down. Don't walk down this bit!

We first headed towards the Rose & Crown. But the path got muddy the further you went down, so we went back up.

Now heading in the direction of Monument Lane, some trees still have leaves on in yellows and greens.

Still a bit muddy as we went down the hill.

Getting further down and there was a lot of leaves on the path.

Some green fields nearby.

End of this path near the steps, was very muddy with a puddle, but found another way around.

This way seemed less muddy down to the stream.

The stream near the road. I think this was closer to Rose Hill, but we didn't head that way.

Other side of the stream, lined with rocks. We headed this way.

Heading up a bit, this path looked dry.

Saw a bridge over the stream and steps, so headed up this short cut to get back up to the Toposcope.

Leaves on the path as we went back up.

Back on the main path back up to the top of the hill.

Not far now as there was daylight behind the trees.

Back up at the top with the field at the top of Beacon Hill.

 

For my original post on Beacon Hill go to this post here: Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Green open spaces
03 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

12 must visit parks in Birmingham in 2021

There is literally hundreds of parks in Birmingham, but here is a quick look at 12 parks you could visit in 2021 at any time of the year for a walk, cycle, or taking your dog for a walk etc. From the well known parks such as Kings Heath Park and Cannon Hill Park, to the less well known such as Kings Norton Park and Manor Farm Park. So many to choose from.

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12 must visit parks in Birmingham in 2021





There is literally hundreds of parks in Birmingham, but here is a quick look at 12 parks you could visit in 2021 at any time of the year for a walk, cycle, or taking your dog for a walk etc. From the well known parks such as Kings Heath Park and Cannon Hill Park, to the less well known such as Kings Norton Park and Manor Farm Park. So many to choose from.


Click the links below to go to the projects and view the posts. All parks are reachable by cycle or bus. Some by train and tram. Many of these parks used to be country estates before being acquired by the Council from the late 19th or early 20th Century.

 

Cannon Hill Park

Located between Moseley and Edgbaston on Edgbaston Road and Russell Road. There is also entrances from the Pershore Road. Cannon Hill Park opened to the public back in 1873, on land donated by Louisa Ryland. It is probably the most popular park in Birmingham with lakes, playgrounds and a fun fair. The Midlands Art Centre is also based here. Various memorials are located in this famous park.

Bus routes: 1, 1A, 35, 45 or 47.

 

Kings Heath Park

Probably the second most popular park in Birmingham is Kings Heath Park. Located on Vicarage Road and Avenue Road in Kings Heath. The park was home to the TV Garden, and there is a Tea Room located in a house built in 1832 for an MP, William Congreve Russell. The land and house later ended up in the Cartland family in 1880, and they sold it in 1900s. Eventually the local council took control, before Kings Heath became a part of Birmingham in 1911. Today there is several play areas in the park, plus a couple of ponds.

Bus routes: 11A, 11C, 27 or 76.

 

Highbury Park

Located between Kings Heath and Moseley, with one entrance near the Kings Heath High Street. It was the estate of Joseph Chamberlain who lived at Highbury Hall until his death in 1914. Highbury Park also has entrances on Moor Green Lane, and one near a gatehouse close to Yew Tree Lane. From Dad's Lane and Shutlock Lane, there is a back entrance to the park also leading to a car park. The park opened to the public in 1930. The park has a couple of ponds that you can see.

Bus routes: 27, 35, 50 or 76.

Trains: A new Kings Heath Station could open in the future by 2022 (the original station closed in 1941).

 

Kings Norton Park

This park is located down the Pershore Road South in Kings Norton. It was opened to the public in 1924. There is a car park located on Westhill Road. The River Rea flows through the park, although you can't see it. The park features a play area near the Westhill Road entrance, and a skate park. Not too far from the old Kings Norton Village. Part of the Rea Valley Route, and on the National Cycle Network route no 5.

Bus routes: 18, 19, 45, 47 and 49.

Trains: Kings Norton Station on the Cross City Line up the hill in Cotteridge.

 

Handsworth Park

This park is located between Hamstead Road and Hinstock Road in Handsworth. Also with entrances on Holly Road and Grove Road. Nearby is the Church of St Mary, where James Watt and Matthew Boulton are buried. Handsworth Park has at least two lakes. A railway line crosses half way through the park (it was the site of Handsworth Wood Station until 1942). Originally known as Victoria Park, it opened to the public in the 1880s. A sculpture was installed in the park called SS Journey by Luke Perry.

Bus routes: 16, 61 or 101.

Trams: In walking distance of Soho Benson Road or Winson Green Outer Circle tram stops.

 

Grove Park

This park is located on Harborne Park Road in Harborne. Grove Park has been a public park in Birmingham since 1963. The southern end of the park is on Mill Farm Road towards the Kenrick Centre. Historically the park was the grounds of The Grove, which was an 18th century Georgian house. One of Birmingham's first MP's Thomas Attwood lived at The Grove from 1823 to 1846. The house was later rebuilt for another Birmingham MP, William Kenrick in 1877-78. He died there in 1919. His son Alderman W. Byng Kenrick donated the estate to the City (he died in 1962). The house was demolished by Birmingham City Council in 1963. The park has a play area and a lake.

Bus routes: 10S, 11A, 11C or 76.

 

Bournville Park

This small park located in Bournville is on Linden Road, and is disected by The Bourn. Directly opposite the world famous Cadbury chocolate factory. The parks goes towards Selly Oak Road and Oak Tree Lane. There is a play area close to Linden Road. Close to Bournville Village Primary School. There is also a tennis court and a bowling green.

Bus routes: 11A or 11C, 27 or 48.

Trains: Bournville Station on the Cross City Line.

Rookery Park

Up to Erdington for this park. Rookery Park is located on Wood End Road and Kingsbury Road. The site of Rookery House, which was being restored the last time I saw it. The Grade II listed house was built in the 18th century, and was originally known as Birches Green House. Was the home of Abraham Spooner and his descendants from 1730. Various different owner occupiers during the 19th century. The local council took over the land in the late 19th century, then became part of Birmingham from 1911. There was several derelict toilets in the park in urgent need of restoration. As well as a play area towards the Western Road exit.

Bus routes: 11A or 11C or X14.

Trains: In walking distance of Erdington Station on the Cross City Line.

Selly Oak Park

This park is located in Selly Oak on Gibbins Road and Harborne Lane, close to the Selly Oak Bypass and the site of the Lapal Canal. The park has a play area and plenty of paths for walking. One route along the site of the lost canal goes towards Weoley Castle. Selly Oak Park opened in 1899 on land donated by the Gibbins family. More land was added to the park during the 20th century. The park is maintained by The Friends of Selly Oak Park. You can find carved wooden sculptures around the park, by Graham Jones.

Bus routes: 10S, 11A, 11C or 48.

Trains: In walking distance of Selly Oak Station on the Cross City Line.

Cotteridge Park

This park can be accessed from the Persore Road via a bridge (over the Cross City Line) from Breedon Road. The park also runs up Franklin Road towards Bournville. The park has a play area and tennis courts. Plus a skate park and basketball court. Cotteridge Park had a Sons of Rest building, but it was demolished in the 1990s. The Friends of Cotteridge Park was started up in 1997. A small community building was built between 2019 and 2020.

Bus routes: Not far from the 11A, 11C, 45, 47 or 48.

Trains: Bournville or Kings Norton Station on the Cross City Line.

Manor Farm Park

Over to Northfield for this park, located on the Bristol Road South. Although it is known as White Hill in the area close to Bournville. The park was the site of the Northfield Manor House, which was damaged by fire in 2014 (never seen it myself). It was the home of George and Elizabeth Cadbury, from 1890, until his death in 1922 and her death in 1953. The park was opened to the public in 1951. Also home to a small lake. A wooden picnic barn built in 1894, was sadly destroyed by arsonists in 2017 and has been demolished. The Friends of Manor Farm Park hope to restore the outbuildings in the park.

Bus routes: 44, 48, 61, 63, 76 or 144.

Sheldon Country Park

This large Country Park is located between the Coventry Road in Sheldon towards Marston Green and Birmingham Airport. The Westley Brook flows through the park. There is an Airport viewing area that is good for plane spotting, as well as The Old Rectory Farm. Sheldon Country Park is split into sections, from Coventry Road to Church Road. Then from Church Road towards the Airport Viewing Area. The Hatchford Brook also flows into the park joining the Westley Brook not far from the runway of the airport.

Bus routes: 60, X1, X2, 72 or 73.

Trains: Marston Green Station on the West Coast Mainline (Birmingham New Street to Coventry line).

Similar post here on the 11 bus Outer Circle.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown. Can be found on Twitter: ellrbrown.

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70 passion points
Photography
01 Dec 2020 - Karl Newton
Gallery

A visit to Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham

A selection of photography from a visit to Cannon Hill Park taken during summer

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A visit to Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham





A selection of photography from a visit to Cannon Hill Park taken during summer


 

 

 

 

 

Photography Karl Newton

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70 passion points
Rivers, lakes & canals
01 Dec 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Broad Street Tunnel under the Black Sabbath Bridge

Near the end of the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline is the Broad Street Tunnel, between Brindleyplace and Gas Street Basin. In 2019, the bridge above it was renamed as the Black Sabbath Bridge in honour of the famous metal group who had been rocking for 50 years.

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Broad Street Tunnel under the Black Sabbath Bridge





Near the end of the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline is the Broad Street Tunnel, between Brindleyplace and Gas Street Basin. In 2019, the bridge above it was renamed as the Black Sabbath Bridge in honour of the famous metal group who had been rocking for 50 years.


Broad Street Tunnel

The Broad Street Tunnel is located on the Birmingham Canal Navigations Mainline between Brindleyplace and Gas Street Basin. Above it (from 2019) is the renamed Black Sabbath Bridge. Bars over the Gas Street Basin end include the Australian Bar Walkabout and the Indian O Bar. The BCN Main Line was built during the early 1770s with the canal engineer James Brindley. The canal reached Old Wharf through the tunnel by 1773. This was originally the Paradise Street Branch which left what is now Old Turn Junction towards Paradise Street. Today the canal ends at Gas Street Basin, and beyond what was Old Wharf is all filled in (the Arena Central development site).

At the side of the tunnel near Brindleyplace and The ICC, used to be a church, called the Church of the Messiah, this existed from the 1860s (when it was built above the tunnel), but was demolished in 1978.

In 2019 (for about 3 months), the tunnel was closed to allow the Midland Metro Alliance to strengthen the road above to enable the laying of tram tracks between Centenary Square and Hagley Road (just beyond Five Ways). After these works were complete, the bridge above the tunnel was renamed the Black Sabbath Bridge. Where the Black Sabbath Bench was placed (it has now gone into storage due to the Metro extension works). Instead there is temporary hoardings with images of the four members of Black Sabbath, so that fans can take selfies with them (Geezer, Ozzy, Tony and Bill).

2009

The Broad Street Tunnel seen from Gas Street Basin during June 2009. From the footbridge at the Worcester Bar. Today there is bars on all three sides including, the Tap & Spile, O Bar and Walkabout.

Narrowboats taking people through the tunnel below The O Bar.

On top of the Broad Street Tunnel during December 2009, with The O Bar and Walkabout on Broad Street. The O Bar is at the corner with Gas Street and is a Grade II listed building at 266 and 266X Broad Street. Build in 1875 of red brick and some stone by Martin & Chamberlain. Also at 2 Gas Street.

Next door to the left is Walkabout, The Australian Bar, which is in a Grade II listed building at 266A and 267 Broad Street. Built in 1860 of red brick with coloured tiles in Venetian Gothic Style.

2010

Heading through the Broad Street Tunnel during June 2010. Beware of the low headroom and the width of the tunnel varies. Towpaths on both sides.

Near the end of the tunnel, getting close to Brindleyplace (to the left) and The ICC and Symphony Hall (to the right).

From the other side of the Broad Street Tunnel. There is steps on the left up to Broad Street. That demolished church used to be located up above around this spot until the late '70s.

Through those bars on Broad Street used to be a good view of The NIA. There was also Ozzy Osbourne's Broad Street Walk of Fame star up there.

2017

In August 2017 heading over the Broad Street Bridge on the bus. Early stages of roadworks for the Midland Metro extension on Broad Street. The Crown / Reflex 80s Bar on the left, Walkabout on the right.

By December 2017, cars were having to turn right onto Gas Street, as construction of the first Westside Metro extension to Centenary Square was underway. Ony buses and taxies were allowed beyond this point.

2018

By November 2018 I was aware that the tunnel was due to be closed from January 2019 for 3 months, so got some photos before the closure.

As usual, had to duck as I walked through the tunnel.

If you stay on the towpath on this side, you walk around past Regency Wharf towards what was Old Wharf at Bridge Street. A couple of months later the tunnel would be closed for the Midland Metro Alliance works.

2019

On the Broad Street Bridge, above the tunnel in January 2019. By this point the tunnel below was closed. And was a lot of restrictions in place at road level as well. All of this for the Midland Metro Alliance works.

From January 2019 the Broad Street Tunnel was closed for a period of about 3 months. This view from Brindleyplace towards Walkabout and O Bar.

From the footbridge at Gas Street Basin, you could see that the towpath on both sides were closed.

Scaffolding had been placed over the towpaths and the canal.

The barriers, scaffolding and the signs made for some nice reflections at the time.

There was also a line of yellow buoys in the canal. No boats could come this way for three months. Would be a long winter diversion.

Later in January 2019 for another look from Gas Street Basin. Now was some white sheets over the scaffolding.

Another look in early March 2019. The Broad Street Tunnel was still closed. View from the Brewmasters Bridge over the Brindleyplace Bridge.

Near the end of March 2019, the tunnel was open again for the first time in 3 months.

Saw a narrowboat go through for the first time since the end of 2018.

First this narrowboat was going through the tunnel, followed by the Waterbus.

From the Gas Street Basin end, caught the red Waterbus from Sherborne Wharf heading through the tunnel.

Hard to believe that the tunnel had been closed for three months. Was nice to see boats going through it again.

The Black Sabbath Bench seen during July 2019 on top of the Black Sabbath Bridge. Which is above the Broad Street Tunnel. It was later removed in October 2019 for the Metro extension works to take place up here.

Back in August 2019, I saw this red narrowboat coming out of the Broad Street Tunnel. Was raining at the time.

It was steaming away as I crossed over the Brindleyplace Footbridge.

From this September 2019 view (below), you could see that the bridge above the Broad Street Tunnel was now called the Black Sabbath Bridge. This was renamed over the summer of 2019. Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler came to Birmingham in June 2019 to unveil the Black Sabbath Bench and rename the bridge above the canal tunnel.

The Black Sabbath Bench was in place on the Black Sabbath Bench, above the Broad Street Tunnel.

Around October 2019 on the Black Sabbath Bridge, the Black Sabbath Bench had been removed to storage, as the Midland Metro Alliance prepared to build the next extension towards Five Ways.

Also in October 2019, I caught this tourist narrowboat emerging from the Broad Street Tunnel to Gas Street Basin. Was another Sherborne Wharf narrowboat called Bosworth Lady.

 During December 2019, a view of Black Sabbath Selfie with images of the four rockers, Geezer, Ozzy, Tony and Bill.

2020

The Black Sabbath Bridge seen during February 2020. My last shot of the Broad Street Tunnel before the lockdown.

It wouldn't be until July 2020 (due to months of the lockdown), before I would see the Black Sabbath Selfie hoardings again on Broad Street. This was the first time in about 4 months that I'd seen it again.

A lot of progress had taken place during lockdown to lay tracks along Broad Street, and that included above the Black Sabbath Bridge. At certain points is crossings with gates, but this changes from time to time. Expect trams to cross over here by the end of 2021.

At the beginning of August 2020, I followed the Victoria 2012 narrowboat from the Salvage Turn Bridge near The Cube and The Mailbox, towards the Brindleyplace Footbridge. Families once again getting trips on the canal like this.

Close to the end of August 2020, I got some more shots of the Broad Street Tunnel. Starting from Gas Street Basin. Much quieter due to the pandemic, even with lockdown restrictions eased.

Hardly anyone in the tunnel, at least until I had to wait for some people to walk past me, due to social distancing.

As usual, had to duck my head as I walked through both sections of the tunnel.

Before heading to Brindleyplace, one last look at the Broad Street Tunnel. With the Black Sabbath Bridge above. Still the Black Sabbath Selfie hoardings on Broad Street for the time being. A lot of the tracks have been laid above.

One more view days before the end of August 2020. Before heading up the steps to Broad Street. The Brasshouse and Celebrity Restaurant are to the right. The ICC Mall is still closed, so this is one of the routes to Centenary Square you can go.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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50 passion points
Green open spaces
26 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Cotteridge Park: the park near the Cross City Line

Getting off the 11C bus on the Pershore Road in Cotteridge. I usually head up Breedon Road past Cotteridge Junior & Infant School. Crossing into the park over the Cross City Line. There is many paths to take. Last couple of times I ended up at Bournville Station. The bridge over the railway still has the mural painted in 2012.

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Cotteridge Park: the park near the Cross City Line





Getting off the 11C bus on the Pershore Road in Cotteridge. I usually head up Breedon Road past Cotteridge Junior & Infant School. Crossing into the park over the Cross City Line. There is many paths to take. Last couple of times I ended up at Bournville Station. The bridge over the railway still has the mural painted in 2012.


Cotteridge Park dates to the Victorian period. The park is near Franklin Road and not far from Bournville. One way into the park is over the railway bridge that you can cross from Breedon Road. The No 11 Outer Circle bus route (11A and 11C) passes nearby on the Pershore Road and Linden Road. The Friends of Cotteridge Park  was established in 1997 and they celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2017.

 

December 2013

Approaching the bridge from Breedon Road. Vehicles can't go over it so there are bollards there.

Painted in 2012 on behalf of the Friends of Cotteridge Park, Birmingham City Council an Network Rail.

Welcome to Cotteridge Park.

Path into the park. Not sure what used to be on that stone plinth in the middle.

A look at the skate park.

The path leading to Franklin Road.

Playground view probably seen from Franklin Road.

August 2018

The view from the bridge crossing the Cross City line. A pair of West Midlands Railway Class 323 trains passing each other. By this point the electrification to Bromsgrove was complete and you can get electric trains all the way there on the Cross City Line.

Another view of the playground. Trees lush and green.

Logs on the lawn. Trees and a path. On the way to Bournville Station.

This tree has been sculpted to read Cotteridge Park.

September 2019

Heading over the bridge from Breedon Road again. There is this view of the skyline towards Five Ways / Broad Street. From Park Regis Birmingham to The Bank Tower Two. Didn't see a train until I entered the park again.

Took a different path this time. Saw a West Midlands Railway Class 323 train passing by. It wouldn't be long before I found myself at Bournville Station yet again.

A container covered in graffiti.

Curved benches, looks like some kind of school camping area?

Noticeboard from the Friends of Cotteridge Park.

Squirrel on a tree.

Playground again and the skating ramps.

A wider look at the camping area.

Feels like a forest in Cotteridge.

Or a wood.

Path up to Franklin Road.

More photos on my Flickr here Cotteridge Park.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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