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Open spaces
3 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

Malvern and Brueton Parks: from Solihull Town Centre to the M42

Two parks in one that are in Solihull Town Centre. Well Malvern Park is closer to the shops in Solihull. While Brueton Park is closer to the M42 (not far from the A41 and Junction 5). Over the years I've been to Malvern Park multiple times. Brueton Park only twice (it is much further away from the centre). Lots of paths to walk, also a lake and the River Blythe in Brueton Park.

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Malvern and Brueton Parks: from Solihull Town Centre to the M42





Two parks in one that are in Solihull Town Centre. Well Malvern Park is closer to the shops in Solihull. While Brueton Park is closer to the M42 (not far from the A41 and Junction 5). Over the years I've been to Malvern Park multiple times. Brueton Park only twice (it is much further away from the centre). Lots of paths to walk, also a lake and the River Blythe in Brueton Park.


First up details from the Wikipedia page Malvern and Brueton Park.

This pair of parks is located in Solihull.The park is over 130 acres in size and opened in 1944. The parks are a Green Flag Award winner.

Malvern Park was laid out by the then Solihull Urban District Council in 1926, on land that was formerly part of the estate of Malvern Hall. The Statue of Horse and Horse Tamer was sculpted in 1874 by Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm. It was purchased at auction by Captain Oliver Bird, of Bird's Custard for his garden at Tudor Grange, but he donated it to Solihull Council in 1945. It was placed in the park during the coronation year of 1953. The statue was damaged in 2012, and restored later that year.

Brueton Park is a Local Nature Reserve. The parkland was given to Solihull by Horace Brueton in 1944. This land was also formerly part of the estate of Malvern Hall. The two parks were linked in 1963. A lake runs through the park near the River Blythe. There is many species of Oak trees in the park. It is hard to tell when you are leaving Malvern Park as you enter Brueton Park as they merge into one.

 

I'm not putting all the photos I've uploaded into this post, please see them in the gallery. Alternatively in my Flickr albums Malvern Park and Brueton Park.

Malvern Park

The Prancing Horse statue seen during January 2010. This was when the bronze was looking quite green and before metal thieves damaged it in 2012 (before it was later restored).

The gates into Malvern Park. Seen in the middle of January 2010. They are the main gates from New Road in Solihull Town Centre. And not  far from the Warwick Road. They date to 1954-55.

Saw this wooden frame not far from the playground in the park during December 2012. A few years later I saw that they had installed a rope that children could climb on and walk along, like something from an obstacle course.

Near the New Road gate entrance. Saw this plaque in December 2012. From the "Rotary Club of Solihull. Presented to the people of Solihull in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, 2012, Sixty Glorious years". It was donated by Earlswood Garden & Landscape Centre and was made of mid Wales stone.

A path in Malvern Park seen during February 2014. Sometimes the pedestrian and cylist paintwork on the path can become quite faint, so sometimes you maybe walking on the cyclists side.

This canopy seen in Malvern Park during October 2014. Some kind of gazebo. Possibly somewhere that a band could play music, not that I've ever seen that myself here.

This wooden walkway seen in March 2016, going off the path to the right.

Ice cream van in the car park seen during March 2017. Super Whippy. I usually take the entrance from Park Road as it is the closest entrance from the Solihull High Street.

There was a lot of snow in the park during December 2017. A Winter Wonderland. This view looking to the spire of St Alphege's Church. It was freezing!

Mr Blue Sky was in Malvern Park during January 2019. Looking this way to the tennis courts.

The main gates to the park if you are coming in from the Park Road entrance. But there is also a path to the right. The October 2019 visit which I took on the walk to Brueton Park again. These gates date to the opening of the park in 1926.

Brueton Park

I've only been into Brueton Park twice. The first time was during October 2018. That time I walked all the way to the Warwick Road and then back into Solihull Town Centre. The Second time in October 2019 to cross a footbridge over the M42 (on a rather long walk to Widney Manor Station).

The path that leads from Malvern Park into Brueton Park.

Here the paths diverge, but you can really only go right past the evergreen trees. This is near the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (I've been past them but not gone in).

The lake in Brueton Park. It is quite large and runs along side the River Blythe.

A swan in the Brueton Park Lake.

Some gulls standing on branches of a tree, near the lake.

Heading into Brueton Park during October 2019 and the leaves on the trees are going yellowy orange. Quite autumnal.

This time I took the right path around the lake heading to a footbridge that crossed the River Blythe.

Here the Brueton Park Lake flows into the River Blythe. I was on my way to cross that footbridge.

Following the path alongside the River Blythe. The lake is on the other sides of the trees to the left.

Another footbridge crossing the River Blythe in Brueton Park. A quick look before I left the park for the footbridge over the M42.

Not only is it possible to walk from Solihull Town Centre over the M42, but you could probably also walk to Knowle and Dorridge if you wanted to. The Warwick Road is cut in half by the motorway. So the Solihull Bypass replaces that section of the A41. The footbridge can only be used by pedestrians, dog walkers and cyclists (while they are not riding there bikes). I took a route towards Widney Manor Station.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Transport
4 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Southdown and Bath Bus Company buses at the Great Birmingham Run 2019

Walking up the Edgbaston Road to check out a bit of the Great Birmingham Run. Had to give up the idea of going into Cannon Hill Park, and the Cricket Ground was quiet. Anyway saw this pair of buses at the Pershore Road junction as runners went past up the Pershore Road.

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Southdown and Bath Bus Company buses at the Great Birmingham Run 2019





Walking up the Edgbaston Road to check out a bit of the Great Birmingham Run. Had to give up the idea of going into Cannon Hill Park, and the Cricket Ground was quiet. Anyway saw this pair of buses at the Pershore Road junction as runners went past up the Pershore Road.


I was expecting runners to be coming out of Cannon Hill Park and around Edgbaston Cricket Ground, but Great Run had to cancel that. So Edgbaston Road was a bit quiet while it was completely closed from the Willows Road / Russell Road end.

Saw this pair of open top buses at the Edgbaston Road / Pershore Road junction.

Bath Bus Company with the Alzheimer's Society.

Southdown with the Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity.

People were cheering on the runners from the top deck of each bus. I headed right next up Pershore Road and went as far as Calthorpe Park before I left the runners behind.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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40 passion points
Environment & green action
16 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Sheldon Country Park: from the Coventry Road to Old Rectory Farm and the Airport viewing area

Only in Sheldon Country Park can you see a farm and then plane spot! There is several paths from the Coventry Road. One leads to Old Rectory Farm. The quicker route leads to the Airport viewing area near Marston Green Station. There are benches where you can sit and see planes taking off or landing. Get your train from or to Marston Green Station (or the bus).

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Sheldon Country Park: from the Coventry Road to Old Rectory Farm and the Airport viewing area





Only in Sheldon Country Park can you see a farm and then plane spot! There is several paths from the Coventry Road. One leads to Old Rectory Farm. The quicker route leads to the Airport viewing area near Marston Green Station. There are benches where you can sit and see planes taking off or landing. Get your train from or to Marston Green Station (or the bus).


Follow this link to my full Sheldon Country Park album on Flickr.

February 2015

This was my first walk in the Sheldon Country Park. Getting on at the Coventry Road in Sheldon, running alongside the Westley Brook. Not far from Barrows Lane and Horse Shoes Lane. This sign welcomes you to the park. An ALDI supermarket is almost directly opposite this entrance.

Trees in the park not far from the Coventry Road in Sheldon.

The path from the Coventry Road. Following the route of the Westley Brook it ends at Church Road in Sheldon.

A look at the Westley Brook from a footbridge.

The footbridge that crosses the Westley Brook.

At the time the paths were quite muddy. Walked from the Church Road entrance and went past Old Rectory Farm. Here was a couple of horses.

One of the horses eating grass.

Several sheep here as well.

A pair of sheep.

Beyond Old Rectory Farm was a football pitch. Boys were playing a game that day as I walked past on the muddy paths.

Airport viewing area first few visits

In March 2016 at Easter, I returned to the Sheldon Country Park, taken several buses towards Marston Green Station as I heard via social media that the Emirates Airbus A380 would be landing at Birmingham Airport with passengers for the first time. Obviously other people had heard this aswell (thanks Birmingham Updates!).

Just about caught the Emirates Airbus A380 landing as I got close to the Airport viewing area. What a sight! It was then given Birmingham Airport's traditional hose down! See the post here Emirates Airbus A380 : the super double decker plane from Dubai in Birmingham and the Midlands.

Loads of people here during March 2016 to see the Emirates Airbus A380 (and other planes) but mainly the Emirates.

Panoramic, was a nice day weather wise.

In November 2016 for a bit of plane spotting. While there saw this London Midland Class 350 Desiro train heading over the viaduct near Marston Green Station.

Was also a Virgin Trains Class 390 Pendolino going past. Best views usually from the platforms at Marston Green Station (but Virgin don't stop there, so go past at 100mph).

Another plane spotting session during March 2017. That day mainly waiting to see the Emirates Boeing 777 take off. Meanwhile saw this Virgin Trains Super Voyager Class 221 (I think).

Also heading over the brick viaduct was an Arriva Trains Wales Class 158 train. They usually go as far as Birmingham International, and then head back to North Wales (Holyhead). Since that franchise ended it is now run by Transport for Wales (I have yet to get photos of their trains since the new franchise started, but have seen some in this area but missed getting a photo of one).

Chinese State Circus

The Chinese State Circus was on in the Sheldon Country Park on a strip of land near the path that was close to the Westley Brook, during May 2017. See my circuses post here for more photos Circuses in Birmingham.

It was on from the 9th to 14th May 2017. There was signs lining the Coventry Road at the time letting people know about it, and elsewhere in Birmingham.

October 2019

Just when I thought I'd walked all the paths in the Sheldon Country Park, while I was checking out the Sheldon Retail Park, I knew that there was another entrance to the park nearby, so headed there after leaving Morrisons. Is also a new M & S Food in the Sheldon area. This path follows the Hatchford Brook. Getting on close to The Arden Oak (Harvester), which is near Arden Oak Road.

The path and the Hatchford Brook. Nearby to the right of the park is the Hatchford Brook Golf Club. But a bit hard to see the golf course over the fence and shrubbery.

A footbridge seen crossing the Hatchford Brook.

One side of the Hatchford Brook from the footbridge.

Also a small waterfall, or weir. Before you know it, you are walking past Birmingham Airport.

Newly laid paths in the Sheldon Country Park that runs up towards the Birmingham Airport perimeter.

The path now goes past the fence of the airport, and the Hatchford Brook enters the airport grounds.

Members of the public are not allowed to climb over the fence onto the airside area of the airport, or even use a drone here. It is forbidden!

An emergency exit gate from the airport onto the path in the park. It must be kept clear at all times.

I ended up at Marston Green Station again. Missed the first train to Birmingham New Street, and that was before buying a ticket (this was on a Sunday afternoon). After I bought my ticket had a half hour wait for the next London Northwestern Railway train that was heading towards Rugeley Trent Valley (now that the Chase line has been electrified). Got this view of the park when I finally left the station. Shows the airport viewing area. Benches and the path are to the left.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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60 passion points
Construction & regeneration
15 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

Birmingham New Street Station and the Pallasades to Grand Central

A look at the transformation of Birmingham New Street Station from 2010 to 2015 / 16. The Pallasades was eventually replaced by Grand Central which opened in September 2015. The concrete station and shopping centre built in the mid to late 1960s replaced by the current station and shopping mall.

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Birmingham New Street Station and the Pallasades to Grand Central





A look at the transformation of Birmingham New Street Station from 2010 to 2015 / 16. The Pallasades was eventually replaced by Grand Central which opened in September 2015. The concrete station and shopping centre built in the mid to late 1960s replaced by the current station and shopping mall.


I started taking photos of Birmingham New Street Station in 2010. And started regularly travelling from it to take photos around the network from about 2012. If you want to check out all my photos to date (other than on here) then follow my link on Flickr (over 1800 photos to date) Birmingham New Street Station.

The following information taken from Wikipedia (link at the top).

The station was originally built by the London and North Western Railway between 1846 and 1854, replacing the earlier terminus at Curzon Street which opened in 1838. LNWR shared the station with the Midland Railway until 1885, when Midland built their own extension alongside the original station. The two companies separated by a road called Queens Drive.

On Stephenson Street was built the Queens Hotel, this survived until the 1960s redevelopment.

Various lines go into New Street Station including the Stour Valley line, the Birmingham West Suburban Railway (that later formed part of the Cross City from 1978), and other lines.

In 1923 the LNWR and Midland Railway with others was grouped into the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. In 1948 the railways were nationalised under British Railways. During World War II the roof suffered extensive bomb damage as a result of the air raids during the Birmingham Blitz.

After the war repairs were made but the original station was in use until the 1960s.

The station was completely rebuilt in the 1960s as part of the West Coast Main Line modernisation programme. Demolition of the old station and Queen's Hotel began in 1964 and was not complete until 1966. The rebuilt New Street Station was opened in 1967. While The Pallasades was built from 1968 and 1970 and was opened at that time.

The railway was privatised in 1997 and the train operators were franchised. Eventually the station was to be owned by Network Rail.

 

One of my earliest photos of New Street Station taken in during February 2010, not far from St Martin's Queensway.

The back of the station as seen from Navigation Street in February 2010. The rear footbridge was built in 1993 after the Kings Cross fire of 1987, as New Street is classed as an underground station, and the footbridge is also like an emergency exit. Train operators seen here included London Midland, Virgin Trains and Cross Country Trains. The Pallasades was still above and demolition work yet to begin.

It's now January 2011 and the redevelopment of New Street Station was well under way. It would take 5 years. Here was the void over platforms 12a, 11a, 10a, 9a and 8a. Come here now, and you would find a public square opposite the Bullring from St Martin's Queensway, but not 8 years ago! Just a big hole above the tracks.

Seen here in September 2012 when the Moor Street Link Bridge was under construction, below the Odeon cinema. Now a useful link from New Street to Moor Street Station. The Rotunda to the right. I now take many of the my photos from up there (mostly of Virgin Trains).

By April 2013, it was almost time for the old concourse at New Street Station to close for the last time. Saw it here on the 13th April 2013. Half of the new concourse was to open by 28th April 2013. It was called "Half Time Switchover".

By August 2013 I had my first look at the new concourse. No ticket barriers yet but this is on the B side bridge over platforms 1 to 12.

Up the ramp to what was The Pallasades in March 2014. During the transformation into Grand Central. Heading past HSBC.

The former Woolworths store was just about visible before they gutted it to transform it into new retail units for Grand Central. I think that they had already started to change the floor tiles by this point. I never really fancied taking photos of The Pallasades when it was still there, wasn't much to look at by the end. Dark and depressing. There used to be central escalators that took you down to the old New Street Station concourse, but that closed in 2013.

Skipping ahead to September 2015, and the new New Street Station was almost ready to fully reopen. Seen here below John Lewis is the Southside media eye. At the corner of Hill Street and Station Street. They were testing out the new media eyes. Also preparing for the opening of Grand Central Birmingham. The Southside Steps are below (at one point nicknamed the Spanish Steps like the ones in Rome). This end is close to the Alexandra Theatre.

Opening day late September 2015 from the newly opened public square. The media eye facing the Bullring showing a Grand Central Birmingham advert. Around this area they would later install a war memorial, which the Queen would visit when she reopened the station with the Duke of Edinburgh. The new taxi rank on what was Queens Drive is to the left (although it took some time before I saw taxis down there).

This was in October 2015. The Midland Metro extension to New Street Station wasn't quite finished (it was a bit behind). The Stephenson Street media eye at the corner of Stephenson Street and Navigation Street welcoming you to Grand Central. Above is Ladywood House (still to be redeveloped to this day). Grand Central Tram Stop would later open down here in 2016.

First look around Grand Central in October 2015 (after it opened to the public in late September 2015). Looking this way to John Lewis. Below the new airy concourse of Birmingham New Street Station. With a Pret a Manger to the left. Joe & The Juice is just in front of John Lewis (and is part of that group).

Some of the restaurants in Grand Central including Tapas Revolution.

Tortilla - was a long queue in the early days and weeks. Since then many retail or restaurant units in Grand Central have closed down, some have been replaced. Some units have remained vacant. Might be the rent is too high?

This is the view from a car park on Swallow Street (near Hill Street) of Birmingham New Street Station on the opening day in late September 2015. With Grand Central and John Lewis.

This is the view from October 2015 of the new Birmingham New Street Station looking more or less complete from the Bullring link bridge (just beyond what was later name Link Street). This is the route between Grand Central and the Bullring. On the media eye at the time was "Full London Ahead" from Virgin Trains (who are due to lose the West Coast franchise in December 2019). The demolition of the old 103 Colmore Row was well underway at the time.

Not everything was complete in 2015. In 2016 they were building a new exit to Hill Street, from the footbridge that stretches to the old Navigation Street exit. Both are now exit only. It's called the Southern Ticket Hall. Although all you can do in there is put your ticket in the ticket barrier to exit the station. This view from Lower Severn Street during October 2016.

It was open by December 2016. This exit is close to platforms 1 and 2. This photo below taken in July 2017. When I took this I wasn't exiting the station but using the footbridge to go between different platforms when I was on the look out for Big Sleuth bears. Travelling from Birmingham International to University.

Heading over the Hill Street Footbridge during October 2017. Not all trains are on time, in fact from time to time there are delays. I was travelling to Longbridge and waiting at platform 12B, but the train I ended up getting was from platform 9B so used this footbridge to change platforms. I also call this the Navigation Street Footbridge. Not many people seem to use it when I'm there (not experienced it during the rush hour / commuting period, only off peak or weekends).

I don't often get new photos of Grand Central looking down to the New Street Station concourse. This view was taken in May 2017. The paid ticketed area is to the right, while the free area is to the left of the eateries. The escalators had Bulling & Grand Central on them (as the centres now have the same owner and were merged into one).

Some new places in Grand Central, some are still here some already gone! Mowgli seen in August 2018. Cocoa seen in August 2018 (they have moved to The Mailbox). Tuckers Newsagents & Games seen in January 2019 when Black Mirror: Bandersnatch was on Netflix (it was temporary and only there for a short period of time). Kitty Cafe seen in May 2019 (it is still there).

This mural was seen in Grand Central not far from the ramp during February 2019. It shows the likes of Selfridges, Birmingham New Street Station and Birmingham's canal network. I don't think the mural is there now.

The first Midland Metro extension to New Street Station was opened completely to Grand Central Tram Stop in 2016. By 2019, the trams are now run under the name of West Midlands Metro. And the trams are going blue. Seen here on Stephenson Place is a pair of battery-less trams. Tram 32 heading to Wolverhampton, and tram 27 heading to the (current) Grand Central terminus. The ramp was refubished during the Grand Central redevelopment of 2015, and looks much better now. The pair of trams seen in October 2019.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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90 passion points
Environment & green action
14 Oct 2019 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Pype Hayes Park: the park near Erdington and not far from Sutton Coldfield

I've visited Pype Hayes Park twice in the winter of 2018/19. First time around late December 2018 for a walk up the Plants Brook towards Wylde Green. Second time a month later in January 2019 after a walk from New Hall Valley Country Park towards Tyburn. In both cases saw the derelict Pype Hayes Hall which is in urgent need of restoration by the council.

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Pype Hayes Park: the park near Erdington and not far from Sutton Coldfield





I've visited Pype Hayes Park twice in the winter of 2018/19. First time around late December 2018 for a walk up the Plants Brook towards Wylde Green. Second time a month later in January 2019 after a walk from New Hall Valley Country Park towards Tyburn. In both cases saw the derelict Pype Hayes Hall which is in urgent need of restoration by the council.


Pype Hayes Park is located near Erdington and Pype Hayes in North Birmingham, also close to Tyburn. It's main entrance is on the Chester Road. The corner of Chester Road and Eachelhurst Road marks the furthest end of the park. In the park is the Grade II listed building Pype Hayes Hall (now derelict and boarded up). There is also a pond.

December 2018

For a Christmas Day 2018 walk we went to Pype Hayes Park. Heading past some trees.

More trees seen as we headed down the path towards the Plants Brook.

I think this was the path that took us down to the Plants Brook and out of the park towards Wylde Green (and Walmley Golf Club). When we got to the Sutton Park Line railway bridge we turned back. Beyond was New Hall Valley Country Park (I would be back that way a month later).

After coming back along the Plants Brook, went up to look at the remains of Pype Hayes Hall. It dates from the late 18th / early 19th century. The listing says that it was a stucco refacing of house of an earlier 17th century timber framed house.

It was part of the Manor of Pype. It ended up in the Bagot family from about 1630. The Bagot's sold some of the land in the 1880s for the creation of the Minworth Sewage Works. The rest sold to Birmingham City Council in 1920. And the hall was used for various public social uses.

A look at a path and trees beyond the derelict hall. From this side it was fenced off, so wasn't much to see.

A playground not too far from the hall.

In the car leaving on Chester Road. A line of evergreen trees.

Leaving the main entrance from the car park.

One of the signs for Pype Hayes Park.

January 2019

I knew that I missed seeing the pond the first time around as got off the Plants Brook footpath early. This time walked all the way to the end and made it to the pond this time. I had got a bus to Sutton Coldfield, then walked down through the New Hall Valley Country Park (going past the New Hall Water Mill) and back down the Plants Brook to the familiar path I was on the month before.

A close up look at the pond, the usual swans and gulls to be found swimming in it.

A pair of swans and various gulls.

Found a garden to the back of Pype Hayes Hall. But being January was nothing much planted there, and I didn't return in the spring or summer to see what it should look like in warmer months.

Coming back here meant I got to se the other side of Pype Hayes Hall. This side from the garden.

The hall was looking quite white on this side, but hedges in the way.

Pype Hayes Hall was run as a residential children's home from about 1949 to the 1970s. Fences around the hedges.

In 1974 the body of a woman child-care worker was found in the grounds of Pype Hayes. A man called Thornton who also worked at the hall was a suspect, but it was later found that there was no evidence of him linked to the murder. Fences around the hedges continued, no access to the public from the park.

Another woman murdered 157 years earlier shared similarities with this 1974 death, and one of the accused men was also called Thornton. Some more derelict buildings, probably a barn or stables.

There might be "Plans to restore them for use as a 60-bed hotel, spa and swimming pool", but I'm not sure if that would happen or what the council is planning to do here. That was back in 2015.They can't leave it in this state!

After this headed to a bus stop and got a 67 back to the city centre, passing a boarded up pub called The Bagot Arms on the way. There was a sign on the pub saying that it would be a "Bar & Grill" coming soon. Has it opened now?

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown.

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