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Green open spaces
16 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

New Hall Valley Country Park: From Sutton Coldfield Town Centre towards Pype Hayes Park (January 2019)

I initially became aware of New Hall Valley Country Park during the Christmas Day 2018 walk up from Pype Hayes Park along the Plants Brook. So a month later in January 2019, got a bus up to Sutton Coldfield Town Centre, and made my way to the park. And walked down the path. Passing the New Hall Water Mill and Walmley Golf Club. Eventually back on the same paths I was on the month before.

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New Hall Valley Country Park: From Sutton Coldfield Town Centre towards Pype Hayes Park (January 2019)





I initially became aware of New Hall Valley Country Park during the Christmas Day 2018 walk up from Pype Hayes Park along the Plants Brook. So a month later in January 2019, got a bus up to Sutton Coldfield Town Centre, and made my way to the park. And walked down the path. Passing the New Hall Water Mill and Walmley Golf Club. Eventually back on the same paths I was on the month before.


A walk through New Hall Valley Country Park during January 2019. Starting from Sutton Coldfield Town Centre and heading in the direction of Pype Hayes Park.

First up some information taken from the Wikipedia page (link above). It is a country park located in the New Hall Valley between Walmley and Wylde Green in the Sutton Coldfield. Birmingham City Council created the park in 2005. The land was formerly part of the New Hall Manor Estate. There is ancient woodland, historic wetland grazing meadows, former farmland, and part of Plants Brook within the country park. There is also a 17th Century listed watermill called New Hall Mill.

 

During a Christmas Day 2018 walk from Pype Hayes Park (link to the post is above), on a path along the Plants Brook, I got to this point where I saw a fingerpost for the New Hall Valley Country Park. Making a mental note about this park at the time. It was just beyond the railway line for the Sutton Park Line. We turned back in the direction of Pype Hayes Park from near here. I would be back a month later.

In January 2019, I ended up getting a National Express West Midlands Platinum bus all the way to Sutton Coldfield Town Centre. After a coffee stop, I started my walk to the park. These fingerposts were on the South Parade near Lower Queen Street.

Some more signs on the National Cycle Network route 534. Seen on Ebrook Road. I was only about a quarter of a mile away from the Newhall Valley Country Park (seems to be two spellings). Sutton Coldfield Town Centre was three quarters of a mile in the other direction.

I got into the park at Ebrook Road from this path near the Plants Brook.

Below the bridge on Ebrook Road was what looked like a small waterfall.

The path towards the Sutton Park Line Tunnel. The former railway line crosses over the Plants Brook at this point.

From the other side of the Sutton Park Line Tunnel. Graffiti on this side.

A look back down the path along the Plants Brook towards the tunnel.

Heading forward saw this footbridge cross the Plants Brook.

Saw an electricity pylon to the left of the path.

Checking out this wooden decking. Looked quite icy on the grass and on the decking so wasn't on here for long.

A no cycling sign. The path to the right is a bit too muddy, so cyclists should stick to the main path. But it's suitable for walking (if you want to get mud on your shoes etc).

Another footbridge over the Plants Brook.

The Plants Brook was looking quite calm from this side of the footbridge.

Back to the main path, as I followed the Plants Brook in the direction of the mill.

First glimpse of the New Hall Water Mill. Trees in the way.

Another view of the mill. Would try and get better views when I shortly after this walked up a path towards it.

The path and the Plants Brook close to Wylde Green Road.

Saw this stone house near Wylde Green Road. It is time to get a proper look at the nearby mill.

Close to the end of the path as the Wylde Green Road Bridge was straight ahead over the Plants Brook.

Bollards for New Hall Valley at Wylde Green Road. Before I continued, I turned left to check out the mill.

On the way to the road to the mill, I went past this gate for Wincelle House.

Wincelle House is a Grade II Listed Building dating from the early 15th century. It is a timber framed building, which was removed from Wishaw in 1910.

Continuing on, saw this sign for New Hall Hotel & Spa. B76 1PH. The sign was for the Emergency Access to New Hall Health Club & Spa.

Side view of Wincelle House from a nearby field as I headed to see New Hall Mill.

First proper look at New Hall Mill, without too many trees in the way.

New Hall Water Mill is a Grade II* Listed Building. It dates to the 18th century.

As it was during winter though, the mill was not open. I think it is open on open days, but it is quite a distance to travel back  there to properly explore this mill.

Fingerpost for visitors to use. You can go on the Tree Trail, go to the Cart Shed and more.

One more view of the mill. A bit hard to see behind the trees. But now it was time to resume the walk towards Pype Hayes Park.

Back to Wylde Green Road for the last leg of the walk in the New Hall Valley Country Park. Another pair of bollards.

Fingerpost near the Wylde Green Road entrance. Sutton Park and Coleshill Road to the left. Walmley to the right.

Saw this Birmingham City Council map of New Hall Valley Country Park. Was looking a bit dirty.

Another bridge crossing the Plants Brook, this one with yellow railings.

A look down the Plants Brook. Appeared to be a bricked channel of water on the left near the path.

Better view of the Plants Brook not obscured by the trees.

At the end of the New Hall Valley Country Park near near the Plants Brook walk. Another part of the old Sutton Park railway line passes by near here.

Fingerpost near the Plants Brook walk just outside of the Country Park. Sutton Coldfield was not a mile and a half away on foot and on a bike.

Passing through these gates as I exited the New Hall Valley Country Park and followed the Plants Brook back to Pype Hayes Park. On a path I had walked on the month before.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,100 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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70 passion points
Construction & regeneration
13 Nov 2020 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of The Mercian, Birmingham - November 2020 photography update

The concrete core is now showing 'Floor 38' below the slip-form, 4 to go!

Take our feature for a selection of superb photography of this build from Elliott and Daniel, contributors at It's Your Build and Birmingham We Are and followers of the built environment in Birmingham.

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The Construction of The Mercian, Birmingham - November 2020 photography update





The concrete core is now showing 'Floor 38' below the slip-form, 4 to go!

Take our feature for a selection of superb photography of this build from Elliott and Daniel, contributors at It's Your Build and Birmingham We Are and followers of the built environment in Birmingham.


Here is a selection of photography of The Mercian taken by Elliott and Daniel during October and early in November 2020.

Elliott Brown:

25th October

2nd November

10th November

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Daniel Sturley:

4th October

11th October

25th October

26th October

27th October

2nd November

3rd November

4th November

5th November

6th November

 

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History & heritage
10 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

The Lickey Monument

If you are walking to or from Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park on Monument Lane, you might spot an obelisk in a field. This is The Monument. Erected in memory of Other Archer Windsor, 6th Earl of Plymouth by the Worcestershire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry in 1834. He was their Colonel Commandant. From a distance the monument is visible from far and wide.

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The Lickey Monument





If you are walking to or from Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park on Monument Lane, you might spot an obelisk in a field. This is The Monument. Erected in memory of Other Archer Windsor, 6th Earl of Plymouth by the Worcestershire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry in 1834. He was their Colonel Commandant. From a distance the monument is visible from far and wide.


The Lickey Monument

I first saw the obelisk behind some gates off Monument Lane in Lickey back in May 2013. I took some zoom ins over the fence at the bottom, but didn't enter the field at the time. I've seen it again close up at least one more time since, but didn't take more close up photos.

 

Some history.

The monument was erected by the Worcestershire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry in memory of their late Colonel Commandant, Other Archer Windsor, 6th Earl of Plymouth (1789-1833). He lived in a house in nearby Barnt Green for some time.

 

It is Grade II listed. It dates to about 1834. It was made of Anglesey marble.

Located in a field off Monument Lane, it is also close to Old Birmingham Road. Beacon Hill is to the north west, while Bilberry Hill is to the east.

 

In October 2020, I was walking down the Bristol Road South in Northfield, when I zoomed into this view of the Lickey Hills. The Monument was clearly visible from here. At the bottom of the picture is Longbridge.

I unexpectedly went down to Longbridge again at the end of October 2020, after getting a bus down Bristol Road South from Selly Oak Triangle. Got off the bus and got this view. The Lickey Hills seen in the distance, but not zoomed in far enough to see The Monument. Bournville College on the corner of Longbridge Lane and Bristol Road South is now part of South & City College Birmingham (either the Bournville or Longbridge Campus).

 

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

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80 passion points
Green open spaces
09 Nov 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The Discovery Terrace and the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham during September 2013

The Library of Birmingham opened to the public back in early September 2013. Elliott had his fist visit on the 21st September 2013 in the late afternoon, with just about time to visit the Discovery Terrace. With closing at 5pm, he returned a week later on the 28th September 2013 to head up to the Secret Garden for the first time. Since then he has been loads of times over the years.

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The Discovery Terrace and the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham during September 2013





The Library of Birmingham opened to the public back in early September 2013. Elliott had his fist visit on the 21st September 2013 in the late afternoon, with just about time to visit the Discovery Terrace. With closing at 5pm, he returned a week later on the 28th September 2013 to head up to the Secret Garden for the first time. Since then he has been loads of times over the years.


A digital tour of the Discovery Terrace and the Secret Garden at the Library of Birmingham. As they were during September 2013, within a few weeks of the Library opening to the public.

 

To see Elliott's previous Library of Birmingham posts from the September 2013 visits click the links below:

Discovery Terrace

Located on Level 3, the Discovery Terrace is accessed through the Revolving doors from the Discovery Floor (this was later replaced with automatic doors years later). Facing Centenary Square and the Arena Central site. Part of it goes around the side of the Library with a view of City Centre Gardens below.

On the 21st September 2013 you could see the old John Madin designed Birmingham Central Library and NatWest Tower (103 Colmore Row).

Was a bit of an animal art trail on the Discovery Terrace at the time.

Area at the back was not accessible at the time with all these barriers with something that was being finished off.

Looks like the only way to this section that day was via the side door from the library.

Some kind of bird house.

 

Secret Garden

Located on Level 7, you can get the travelator up from Level 3 to 4, then the lift or stairs up to Level 7. The Glass Lift initially worked in it's first year, but has not worked for many years or even been fixed. Press the disabled door button to open the door to the Secret Garden. It has views to the back of the Library, plus you can go around to the front for views of the City Centre.

On the 28th September 2013, there was a lot of people up on the Secret Garden. Views from up here are spectacular and change all the time. Although sometimes gets a bit boring on repeated visits over the years.

Some more colourful art installations for people to look out for at the time.

Wooden benches to sit down on and rest.

The view at the front over Centenary Square was quite busy that day.

Lots of colourful flowers up here. They regularly change them all the time.

Another bird house up here as well.

 

Over they years since, it does get a bit frustrating when the only thing to see is all of those construction sites, and I don't always want to take photos of them. Would be nice to somehow get access to the top of other tall buildings for photo views. Ran out of things to take up here. It's only those events that used to happen in Centenary Square down below that made a change from the usual views.

The Library has been closed since the first lockdown. Apart from people going for books, the terraces have yet to be reopened to the public, so I have no idea when I'll be going back up there. It wont be any time soon, that's for sure.

With a Second Lockdown (for at least a month), it means that there has been no access up to the terraces for 8 or 9 months and counting. The library had only reopened for people taking out or returning books only.

 

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

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80 passion points
Green open spaces
07 Sep 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

West Heath Park on the August Bank Holiday Monday

Had another park visit to a park I've not been to before now. West Heath Park. It was the August Bank Holiday Monday. The park has these various portals to enter that look like Stargates. There is also a playground / play area with a basketball court. Good for walks, runs and cycles. Not far from Kings Norton.

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West Heath Park on the August Bank Holiday Monday





Had another park visit to a park I've not been to before now. West Heath Park. It was the August Bank Holiday Monday. The park has these various portals to enter that look like Stargates. There is also a playground / play area with a basketball court. Good for walks, runs and cycles. Not far from Kings Norton.


West Heath Park

West Heath Park is located between Longbridge and Kings Norton in the West Heath area of South Birmingham. Between Staple Lodge Road, Oddingley Road (at the north end of the park) down to Rednal Road (to the south). Paths criss-cross the park and there is at least two playgrounds / play areas. The first is close to the Oddingley Road and the second near the Rednal Road entrance. There is also a basketball court next to the first play area. Mostly just wide open fields with trees all around.

On this visit we walked down and around the paths from Oddingley Road towards the Rednal Road exit. Then headed up Rednal Road and Vardon Way, before re-entering the park from a cul-de-sac called Thomson Avenue (which has two paths leading in and out of the park). It was the August Bank Holiday Monday. 31st August 2020.

 

Parking on Oddingley Road, I first headed to the West Heath Park roundel / portal / gateway. There is similar portals, a bit like Stargates all around the park.

First view of the play area / playground close to the Oddingley Road entrance.

There didn't appear to be any children playing at this play area.

There was also outdoor gym equipment.

A view of distant modern houses down on Oddingley Road.

Passing a wide open field with grass cut at different levels.

It doesn't take long to walk around this park towards Rednal Road.

Another view of those new houses on Oddingley Road.

Spliting paths.

Another path to take.

The path to Rednal Road.

Up ahead was the portal exit to Rednal Road.

View of the Rednal Road portal from outside of the park. Next was the walk towards Vardon Way.

After the walk along Rednal Road, and up Vardon Way, we got back into the park from these gates at the end of Thomson Avenue.

View of the playground / play area near Rednal Road. There was at least one dad and his son here.

The path back into the park from the Thomson Avenue entrance.

Saw a squirrel.

On the path back down towards Oddingley Road.

The basketball court and some residential tower blocks under scaffolding.

Over the bushes saw this wall with graffiti all over it.

There was also this teenager hangout shelter near the basketball court and play area near Oddingley Road.

After this we drove to Kings Norton Park for the next walk. Which will be detailed in a separate post.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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