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Green open spaces
22 Apr 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park

Getting to the Lickey Hills Country Park is hard when you don't drive. You get the bus as far as you can and walk to Beacon Hill. Then there is a long walk to the part of the Lickey Hills that you are trying to get to. Technically, the Lickey Hills is within Bromsgrove District, Worcestershire. I went in May 2013 and last time back in January 2018. The walk from Cofton Hackett.

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Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park





Getting to the Lickey Hills Country Park is hard when you don't drive. You get the bus as far as you can and walk to Beacon Hill. Then there is a long walk to the part of the Lickey Hills that you are trying to get to. Technically, the Lickey Hills is within Bromsgrove District, Worcestershire. I went in May 2013 and last time back in January 2018. The walk from Cofton Hackett.


I think I will have to do several Lickey Hills Country Park posts.

This one will be about my visits to Beacon Hill in the past. In another post I will detail the walk from Barnt Green Station towards the Lickey Hills Visitor Centre (was very steep going up the hill).

Some history (from the Wikipedia page, link above). The Lickey Hills is 10 miles south west of Birmingham and 24 miles north east of Worcester. Close to the south of Rednal and near Barnt Green. It is half a mile from Cofton Hackett. It is one of the oldest parks managed by Birmingham City Council.

The park exists as it is now due to the Birmingham Society for the Preservation of Open Spaces in the early 20th century, which inlcuded members of the Cadbury family. The society gave the park to the people of Birmingham in 1888, and more land added in 1933. There used to be a tram service that terminated at Rednal. The park is a Green Flag recognised park.

May 2013

In May 2013, I made a second attempt to get to Beacon Hill (which was successful this time). In April 2013, I did go up Rose Hill, but the paths up to the Lickey Hills Visitor Centre were closed, and I probably turned back (and ended up in Cofton Park instead). I returned a few weeks later, getting off the bus at the bottom of Lickey Road on Leach Green Lane and walked towards Beacon Hill. The route up to the hill via the trees was quite steep, but once up there, the views were amazing.

Walking up I could see the sand pits in the Lickey Hills Golf Course.

Shadows from the trees, on this dirt path.

Trees down the hill.

Near the top of Beacon Hill where the grass is.

Welcome to Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park. Finally made it!

Panoramic of the trees near the path I had just came up (which would be on the right of this picture).

View of the Birmingham Skyline. Just before there is the likes of Longbridge.

And you can also see Bournville College which is at Longbridge Town Centre (built where the old MG Rover / Austin Factory was).

This view towards Rubery. Over to the left is the Waseley Hills Country Park, can see those three paths in a triangular shape from here.

This is the Beacon Hill Toposcope.

It was originally built in 1907 as a Gift to the City of Birmingham by Edward, George Jnr, and Henry Cadbury.

It was restored in 1987-88 by Manpower Services Commission and Birmingham City Council Department of Recreation and Community Services. It looks like a small castle. In the middle of the Topscope was this stone cylinder with a map all around this area. It shows places that can be seen from here. Places that can be seen are in capital letters i.e. DUDLEY. Those that can't be seen in lower case such as Rugby.

From this end, there are as good views of the skyline than as from the area of Beacon Hill with the benches.

A little bit down the hill and a final look at the Toposcope.

Time to leave Beacon Hill. Heading towards Beacon Hill Car Park. Saw this City Council map of the Lickey Hills Country Park.

Beacon Hill Car Park is on Monument Lane in Lickey.

A large sandy car park, I wonder if the old tram network ever had a tram stop up here in the olden days?

I left via Monument Lane, walking down to Lickey. This lead to Rose Hill. A route that I would remember when I would come back 5 years later.

Walking from Monument Lane, up Rose Hill, then up Lickey Road, stopping at the bus stop back into Birmingham. The 98 used to go around here, but that route no longer exists (but did in early 2018). Usually takes me about half an hour to walk back to the City Limits from Beacon Hill.

January 2018

I returned in January 2018 to see the changes of the Birmingham Skyline from Beacon Hill. This time doing the walk down Lickey Road in Cofton Hackett, then along Rose Hill and up Monument Lane, getting onto Beacon Hill from the car park after a long hard walk.

This time heading up Monument Lane and going into Beacon Hill Car Park. Much easier than my 2013 route, but still a long walk there and back (I don't drive and I go on my own).

I saw this man being filmed on this camera. Not sure who they were, or what they were filming at the time.

A lot of bright sunlight to the back of Beacon Hill. The grass was a bit wet and soggy.

Tower blocks in Rubery. You can sit on the bench and watch, as the wind blows and relax.

View towards the Birmingham City Centre Skyline in the distance.

Rubery to the left and the City of Birmingham to the right.

With a better bridge camera, on this visit I was able to zoom right in to Birmingham City Centre. With the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on the left. Of course the BT Tower is still the tallest building in Birmingham. The Medical School was also visible next to the QEHB from here.

I got this view of the Beacon Hill Toposcope with the skyline of Birmingham City Centre. I don't think you can do this with real castles such as Dudley or Warwick (don't think you can see our skyline from those castles).

My other major Lickey Hills visit was from getting a train to Barnt Green and walking up the hill to the Visitor Centre in April 2017. I will cover that visit in a future post, so watch this space (that was long and hard walk up the hill that I ended up walking back to Barnt Green Station via Barnt Green Road). I initially saw that entrance in April 2015 when I first got a train to Barnt Green.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Now at 1,110 followers. Thank you.

Birmingham We Are People with Passion award winner 2020

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80 passion points
Green open spaces
17 Apr 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

The outer fringes of Sutton Park during 2017

I went to Sutton Coldfield a couple of times back in 2017. The first time in January 2017 to look around the Town Centre, then by August 2017 on The Big Sleuth bear hunt. So in January only skimmed the park from the road, and in August only popped in to find the bear they had there. On the way saw a couple of lakes. I've not yet been deep into Sutton Park, maybe one day in the future?

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The outer fringes of Sutton Park during 2017





I went to Sutton Coldfield a couple of times back in 2017. The first time in January 2017 to look around the Town Centre, then by August 2017 on The Big Sleuth bear hunt. So in January only skimmed the park from the road, and in August only popped in to find the bear they had there. On the way saw a couple of lakes. I've not yet been deep into Sutton Park, maybe one day in the future?


In 2017 I go the train to Sutton Coldfield on two different occasions. In January 2017 mainly to have a photo walk around Sutton Coldfield Town Centre. I returned in August 2017 for The Big Sleuth. I didn't go in 2015 for The Big Hoot as didn't want to do Sutton Coldfield for scratch with the owl sculptures as well. Although by 2017 there were some left to see in the Royal Town.

There was at least one bear in the summer of 2017 to see in Sutton Park. Once I got that, I walked towards Boldmere for the others (heading back into the town by Wylde Green and Maney finishing the trail at the Empire Cinema).

I also saw Sutton Park from the plane I was on, coming into land at Birmingham Airport around June 2017.

 

Some history of Sutton Park, taken from the Wikipedia page (link above). It is one of the largest urban parks in the UK. It is the largest country park in Birmingham (the Lickey Hills is second largest and Woodgate Valley is third largest) at 971.25 hectares (2,400 acres). Most of the park is a National Nature Reserve and parts of it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The Sutton Park railway line goes through the park. There is several pools of water located within Sutton Park, used for boating in some of them.

 

January 2017

I didn't go into Sutton Park on the 22nd January 2017. I walked past it on Clifton Road. From here is the entrance to the Clifton Road Youth Centre and the Clifton Road Outdoor Education Centre.

A close up look at the sign on Clifton Road. Wyndley Leisure Centre is also in the park. The customer car park was about 400 metres from here.

This sign mentions that Authorised parking for Clifton Road Youth Centre only.

Passing a bus stop on Clifton Road, there was leaves on the ground below the trees.

A pair of signs on Clifton Road. To the left is the Sutton Park Town Gate. While Sutton Town Centre was to the right of here. I was heading towards Sutton Coldfield Town Hall at the time, so did not go into the park. The Town Gate can be accessed from Park Road. The Town Hall was a short walk away up Upper Clifton Road (and the Town Hall was the priority at the time to find).

June 2017

Flying back from a holiday in Lyon, France, back to Birmingham Airport, I could see Sutton Park from the plane window as we came into land. This is probably the best way to see the park from above.

This was the first view from the plane of Sutton Park. You can see a couple of the pools from up here and the Sutton Park railway line that goes through the park. Blackroot Pool on the left and the Bracebridge Pool seen to the right.

The view of Sutton Park at the bottom, with Sutton Coldfield to the top. It's possible that the parkland in this photo below is of the New Hall Valley Country Park near Walmley, towards Minworth. The plane would have been circling.

A decent view of Sutton Park from the Flybe plane we were in as we were coming into land. You can just about see the jet near the wing on the left side of the plane. You can see how big it is from up here. The plane would have been circling on the way down to the runway.

August 2017

Starting at Clifton Road, I headed towards Wyndley Lane past the Wyndley Swimming Baths.

Behind the fences was the Royal Sutton Coldfield Athletics Club.

I'm not sure what was happening at the Royal Sutton Coldfield Athletics Club site at the time, but it was obviously unsafe, or having construction work done.

First view of the Wyndley Pool. There was some geese and swans in the water.

Panoramic of the Wyndley Pool. It's the oldest pool in the park, possibly dating back to the 12th century.

About three swans in the Wyndley Pool near some ducks.

Heading on, now on Monmouth Drive on the long walk to the Boldmere Gate.

Some long grass between the trees from Monmouth Drive,

Re-entering the park at the Boldmere Gate. It is on Stonehouse Road.

View of the Sutton Coldfield Sea Cadets from Stonehouse Road, which is near the Boldmere Gate. A cadet training ship (on dry land).

The Miller & Carter Sutton Park restaurant / steakhouse is near Powell's Pool from this car park. Also called The Lakeside Restaurant. It is close to Powell's Pool.

The Boldmere Lodge. Also known as the Boldmere Gate Cottage. Dating to 1901.

Boldmere Lodge was completed in 1901, just inside the Park gate. Powells Pool and the fields behind the lodge were still privately owned, and were not incorporated into the Park until 1937. Stonehouse Mill had been demolished and the area landscaped in 1936, giving the area its present appearance. The Park gate was later moved to a more convenient position a few yards further in to the Park.

Mural by Fauna Graphic. The building has barbed wire on the roof.

From Stonehouse Road (just up from the Boldmere Gate), you can see Powell's Pool. Which is near a Miller & Carter. The pool dates to the 18th century.

Stepped weir on Powell's Pool with Canada geese at the far end.

Yachts at the far side of Powell's Pool. Is the Sutton Sailing Club.

Views of some yachts on Powell's Pool. Xenon 5.

This one with a pink sail and a boy with a yellow helmet on.

After my long walk to get into Sutton Park via the Boldmere Gate, I eventually found The Big Sleuth bear called Mother Bear. By the artist Jenny Tang, the sponsor was Seesaws.

View of Mother Bear from the back. Images of polar bears.

Next to Mother Bear was this selfie frame that you could big up and share you photos with Seesaws Nursery.

 

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
Green open spaces
26 Mar 2020 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Ley Hill Park up the hill in Northfield

For this green spaces / park post, we go back to early April 2017, when I went up to Ley Hill Park in Northfield. Starting at the Starbucks Drive Thru in Northfield, I went up Vineyard Road past Bellfield Junior School. The park was at the top of the hill. It's part of the Merritt's Brook Greenway, with a path heading to Manor Farm Park.

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Ley Hill Park up the hill in Northfield





For this green spaces / park post, we go back to early April 2017, when I went up to Ley Hill Park in Northfield. Starting at the Starbucks Drive Thru in Northfield, I went up Vineyard Road past Bellfield Junior School. The park was at the top of the hill. It's part of the Merritt's Brook Greenway, with a path heading to Manor Farm Park.


During the lock down and the one form of exercise a day, I can only walk to the closest parks in walking distance. I don't know how many weeks or months this will last for. With many places closed down. But parks are open (playgrounds are not). So please continue to enjoy my virtual park visits from my actual past visits (if you can). And maybe once things goes back to normal after the virus crisis ends, we will all be able to enjoy parks and visit the places we used to be able to.

 

Here we will go back about 3 years to a visit to Ley Hill Park in Northfield when it was OK at the time to get the bus or train.

The then new Starbucks Drive Thru in Northfield first opened around April 2017 and during my visit there, was thinking of somewhere to go. I could see a park up the hill nearby (also by checking Google Maps). Plus this walk would lead me towards Manor Farm Park and near the no 61 and 63 bus routes when I left.

 

The entrance to Ley Hill Park. Heading through a green space near Vineyard Road. I crossed over Merritt's Brook Lane and into the park. Welcome to Ley Hill Park.

The path into the park towards a footbridge that crosses the Merritt's Brook.

A look at one side of the Merritt's Brook. Looks like the routes of the tree on the right grows quite close to the brook.

A pair of paths. A third one makes a triangle.

I must have taken the right path by the looks of it.

Following one of the paths past the trees. The Merritt's Brook is to the right, and this was near the bottom of the park.

The path continues as the trees make shadows on the path and lawns. The fields to the left don't really have gravel paths to walk up to.

A pair of trees in the middle of the hilly field in the park.

The path leading to Merritt's Hill and the exit gates.

Another exit to Merritt's Hill. Hadn't really finished looking around Ley Hill Park at this point.

To head up the hill, I followed the mown grass paths up the hill.

Saw this robin but only got it from the back at the time.

Near the top of the hill and there was nice views of the Northfield and surrounding areas from up here.

Top of the hill. An zoom in's could see the local school and towards the tallest building on the Northfield High Street (Bristol Road South).

Heading to the next area. Here the bushes forms a triangular shape (which makes more sense if you look at the Satellite view on Google Maps).

Now for a pair of dirt paths near the trees.

There was more grass paths near the top end of the park.

This tree stump was lying on the ground up here.

Another exit gate to Merritt's Hill, this one was also near Clun Road.

One more look at the park from the top. Views not so visible from up here though.

Just outside of Ley Hill Park was a green space near Merritt's Hill. Starting at Clun Road going down to Meadow Brook Road.

I headed down Merritt's Hill via this green area. Which at this point led down to Meadow Brook Road.

Even from here the shopping centre on the Northfield High Street (Bristol Road South) was visible.

This path was near the houses south of Clun Road. And it takes you down to Meadow Brook Road.

The west view of the green area. Beyond the trees was Ley Hill Park.

Looking up the path I had just walked down from Clun Road.

Getting closer back to the Merritt's Brook Greenway, one last look at the path I went down. Getting back to Merritt's Hill.

There's that side entrance from Ley Hill Park that I saw earlier. Seen from Merritt's Hill.

Going down Merritt's Hill. Brookside was to the left which was near the Merritt's Brook Greenway entrance I was heading to.

And there's that Ley Hill Park entrance I saw earlier. That was on the Merritt's Brook Greenway. Next I took the path in the other direction towards Manor Farm Park.

To see my photos from Manor Farm Park, see my first post on that park here: Manor Farm Park: a park down the Bristol Road South I've always considered to be in Northfield.

 

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
Civic pride
21 Mar 2020 - Daniel Sturley
Inspiration

A Trifecta of Skyline Photos from Clent, Romsley and Frankley (March 2020)

Here are three photos of our great city skyline from the west, above from Romsley Hill, one from Clent and one from Frankley in the full post.

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A Trifecta of Skyline Photos from Clent, Romsley and Frankley (March 2020)





Here are three photos of our great city skyline from the west, above from Romsley Hill, one from Clent and one from Frankley in the full post.


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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70 passion points
Civic pride
26 Dec 2019 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

Birmingham, the City Skyline from Lickey Hills - 25th December 2019

Daniel went out to the Lickey Hills Country Park in the winter low sunshine to get some photos of the city skyline from some seven miles away, more in the full post.

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Birmingham, the City Skyline from Lickey Hills - 25th December 2019





Daniel went out to the Lickey Hills Country Park in the winter low sunshine to get some photos of the city skyline from some seven miles away, more in the full post.


Photos by Daniel Sturley

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