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Elliott Brown Rivers, lakes & canals
28 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery
https://www.youtube.com/embed/eLcVgjS1d9o

Olton Reservoir: only viewable from the train between Solihull and Olton

There is a reservoir in Olton, Solihull. It is private, so there is no way for members of the public to walk around it. But you can spot Olton Reservoir from the train between Olton and Solihull, on the bridge that goes over the Warwick Road. It is used by Olton Mere Sailing Club. It was built in 1799 to supply water to the Warwick and Birmingham Canal, later part of the Grand Union Canal.

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Olton Reservoir: only viewable from the train between Solihull and Olton





There is a reservoir in Olton, Solihull. It is private, so there is no way for members of the public to walk around it. But you can spot Olton Reservoir from the train between Olton and Solihull, on the bridge that goes over the Warwick Road. It is used by Olton Mere Sailing Club. It was built in 1799 to supply water to the Warwick and Birmingham Canal, later part of the Grand Union Canal.


Olton Reservoir

Located near the Chiltern Mainline and the Warwick Road in Olton, Solihull is Olton Reservoir. From the road / pavement it is a bit hard to see. But if you catch a train with West Midlands Railway (or Chiltern Railways) between Olton and Solihull (or in the other direction), you might be able to see the reservoir through the railway bridge that crosses the Warwick Road.

 

History of Olton Reservoir

Olton Mere was constructed as a reservoir to act as a feeder for the Warwick and Birmingham Canal in 1799 (it became part of the Grand Union Canal from 1927 onwards, after being purchased by the Regents Canal Company). The Mere was formed from marshland fed by Folly Brook (now Hatchford Brook). The Mere was extended in 1834 to increase the capacity in order to supply up to 150 locks.

It is the largest of the few areas of open water in Solihull and supports a large number of waterfowl. The woodland surrounding the Mere has remained undisturbed for many years, providing an important habitat for plants and animals.

There is no public access to the Mere but there is a good view of the Mere from the trains travelling between Solihull and Olton. Sailing on the Mere started in 1899 when five residents of St Bernard’s Road leased the reservoir from the canal company. A club was formed for sailing, fishing and shooting, although shooting was suspended in 1926 owing to a shortage of wildfowl.

The reservoir is now privately owned by the Canal & River Trust, who in turn lease it to the Olton Mere Sailing Club.

 

Below is the satellite hybrid view of Olton Reservoir on Google Maps.

dndimg alt="Olton Reservoir" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Olton Res Google Maps.jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

On my YouTube video above (in the introduction), recorded in early February 2017 on a London Midland Class 172 train from Acocks Green to Solihull. We pass Olton Reservoir from 2:20 to about 2:43.

 

Three video screenshots from that video. First screenshot passing over the Warwick Road Railway Bridge.

dndimg alt="Olton Reservoir" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Olton Reservoir (Feb 2017) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Second screenshot, a view of Olton Reservoir from the train.

dndimg alt="Olton Reservoir" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Olton Reservoir (Feb 2017) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The view continues, although it was sunny, and the sun was on that side of the train.

dndimg alt="Olton Reservoir" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Olton Reservoir (Feb 2017) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

A more recent view of Olton Reservoir, taken from the train, back in April 2018 (over 3 years ago at the time of this post). Time time caught some yachts on the reservoir from the Olton Mere Sailing Club. This was taken from a Chiltern Railways Class 165 train (sitting in the Quiet Zone), on a train ride from Solihull to Birmingham Moor Street.

dndimg alt="Olton Reservoir" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Olton Reservoir (Apr 2018).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Warwick Road railway bridge, Olton

This is the railway bridge on the Warwick Road in Olton, Solihull where you can see Olton Reservoir. This view from June 2010, as a Chiltern Railways Class 168 Clubman train passed over it. You can see the reservoir from the train window. If it's clear and not too bright that is (or raining).

dndimg alt="Warwick Road railway bridge Olton" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Warwick Rd RB Olton (Jun 2010).JPG" style="width: 100%;" />

By October 2016, Network Rail had give the bridge a fresh lick of green paint, making it look as good as new.

dndimg alt="Warwick Road railway bridge Olton" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Warwick Rd RB Olton (Oct 2016).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Another look at the Warwick Road railway bridge in Olton during February 2021. Taken during a lockdown 3 walk to the Grand Union Canal and back home. If you are in a car, sorry you won't be able to spot the reservoir from down there. I didn't get a train again until April 2021 (after restrictions were eased). But not got a train between Solihull and Olton since sometime in 2020.

dndimg alt="Warwick Road railway bridge Olton" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Warwick Rd RB Olton (Feb 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

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

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80 passion points
Daniel Sturley Rivers, lakes & canals
27 Jun 2021 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

A Short Walk Along the Dudley Number Two Canal at Bumble Hole

A grey day yes, but still nice for a short photo-walk along the Dudley Number Two Canal at the beautiful area known as Bumble Hole! Starting at Bumble Hole Bridge going past the Visitor Centre and as far as the south entrance to the 2768m Netherton Tunnel. Back towards  the visitor centre via another path. Photos taken along the way by Daniel Sturley. 

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A Short Walk Along the Dudley Number Two Canal at Bumble Hole





A grey day yes, but still nice for a short photo-walk along the Dudley Number Two Canal at the beautiful area known as Bumble Hole! Starting at Bumble Hole Bridge going past the Visitor Centre and as far as the south entrance to the 2768m Netherton Tunnel. Back towards  the visitor centre via another path. Photos taken along the way by Daniel Sturley. 


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June 27th 2021  Photography by Daniel Sturley

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43 passion points
Daniel Sturley Construction & regeneration
25 Jun 2021 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of The Mercian - June 2021 Update Two

A great shot of The Mercian from Egg Hill in Frankley shows how the building now dominates the city skyline. So close to fully clad now too! Great photos in this construction update from Elliott and Daniel.

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The Construction of The Mercian - June 2021 Update Two





A great shot of The Mercian from Egg Hill in Frankley shows how the building now dominates the city skyline. So close to fully clad now too! Great photos in this construction update from Elliott and Daniel.


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14th June. Photography by Daniel Sturley

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14th June. Photography by Daniel Sturley

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15th June. Photography by Daniel Sturley

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15th June. Photography by Daniel Sturley

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16th June. Photography by Daniel Sturley

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19th June. Photography by Daniel Sturley

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19th June. Photography by Daniel Sturley

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19th June. Photography by Daniel Sturley

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19th June. Photography by Daniel Sturley

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19th June. Photography by Daniel Sturley

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21st June. Photography by Elliott Brown

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21st June. Photography by Elliott Brown

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21st June. Photography by Elliott Brown

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24th June. Photography by Daniel Sturley

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24th June. Photography by Daniel Sturley

 

There are now over 1200 photos of the construction of this building and can be seen in reverse date order in the full gallery here: The Mercian Full Construction Gallery.

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30 passion points
Elliott Brown Green open spaces
23 Jun 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Walsall Arboretum - a historic Victorian public park!

A short walk away from Walsall Town Centre is Walsall Arboretum, which is Walsall's public park. First opened in 1874, originally as a paid for attraction, the local council bought it and reopened it as a free to enter public park in 1884. From 2010 to 2015 there was a refurbishment programme here, including opening a Visitor Centre. Hatherton Lake has a boat house and bandstand.

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Walsall Arboretum - a historic Victorian public park!





A short walk away from Walsall Town Centre is Walsall Arboretum, which is Walsall's public park. First opened in 1874, originally as a paid for attraction, the local council bought it and reopened it as a free to enter public park in 1884. From 2010 to 2015 there was a refurbishment programme here, including opening a Visitor Centre. Hatherton Lake has a boat house and bandstand.


Walsall Arboretum

 

I got the train back to Walsall from Birmingham New Street. Starting from platform 4c, the train went via the Soho Loop Line (meaning it bypasses Perry Barr and Aston, and doesn't stop at Hamstead or Bescot Stadium as it was the train to Rugeley Trent Valley). The only stop before Walsall was Tame Bridge Parkway. From the station, it was around a 15 minute walk, via the High Street and Council House in Walsall. Then you have to cross the traffic lights at the busy junction of Broadway North with Littleton Street East. Which was also near Queen Mary's High School. Your first sight of the arboretum is the Arboretum Lodge.

 

History of Walsall Arboretum

The Arboretum was built on the site of Reynolds Hall, which was the home of the Persehouse family from the 16th century. By the 18th century the estate had been inherited by the Littleton family, who developed lime quarries in Walsall. By the 1840s, one of the quarries had been flooded, and was used by local people for bathing and skiing. The then Mayor of Walsall during 1844 drowned in the lake, by then known as Hatherton Lake. By the 1850s, the quarries was being surrounded by villas and Queen Mary's Grammar School.

The Walsall Arboretum and Lake Company was formed in 1870, and plans started to turn the estate into a park. Plans included the building of two lodges, a boat house and bandstand by the county surveyor Robert Griffiths. The Arboretum was laid out from 1872 and opened to paying customers by 1874. In the following decade the Arboretum Company ran into financial difficulties, and it was sold to the Town Council, who opened it up as a free public park in 1884.

There was a major refurbishment programme in the park from 2010 until 2015, this included restoring the buildings, the lakes etc, and building a new Visitor Centre. 

A bronze bust of Jerome K. Jerome, an author born in Walsall was unveiled in 2016, while a bronze statue of a horse was relocated to the park in 2017.

 

West Midlands Cycle Hire

Before entering the park, I spotted a new West Midlands Cycle Hire docking point on Broadway North, so checked that out first. At least two bikes were not properly in the dock.

dndimg alt="West Midlands Cycle Hire" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/WMCH Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Later after leaving the park, saw a man with a white van, loading some bikes into the van, and making sure the other bikes were properly in the dock. I did not find any other West Midlands Cycle Hire docks in Walsall on this visit.

dndimg alt="West Midlands Cycle Hire" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/WMCH Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The Arboretum Lodge

This is the main entrance to the park at the corner of Lichfield Street and Broadway North. Built in 1872, it was originally the subscription paid for entrance to the park, but has been free to enter here since the local Council bought the park in 1884. It is now near the busy traffic junction on the Walsall ring road. It has a distinctive clock tower.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Lodge Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

As I entered, I saw the bronze bust of Jerome K. Jerome and a man riding one of the new West Midlands Cycle Hire bikes out of the park.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Lodge Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Bronze bust of Jerome K. Jerome

The Walsall born author of Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K. Jerome (1859 - 1927) was honoured with a bronze bust, close to The Arboretum Lodge. It was sculpted by local artist Phil Kelly, and was unveiled in June 2016. Jerome was a Freeman of the Borough of Walsall, and the Jerome K. Jerome Society lobbied for a sculpture to be made to recognise him, in the town of his birth.

dndimg alt="Jerome K. Jerome" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/JKJ Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Jerome K. Jerome was born on the 2nd May 1859 at Belsize House on Bradford Street in Walsall. The Grade II listed house used to be a museum from the 1980s until 2007-08. The Jerome K. Jerome Society is hoping to find a new home for the exhibits that used to be in the museum.

dndimg alt="Jerome K. Jerome" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/JKJ Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Hatherton Lake

Originally a quarry pit, it was later flooded, and by the middle of the 19th century it was a lake used for bathing and skiing. There is a boat house on one side (built 1874) and a Bandstand (built 1924) on the other side.

This view of Hatherton Lake towards the bandstand.

dndimg alt="Hatherton Lake" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Hatheron Lk Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

This view of Hatherton Lake towards the boat house.

dndimg alt="Hatherton Lake" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Hatheron Lk Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Later found an upper path that led back to the lake, and got this view with a distinctive Victorian style lamppost.

dndimg alt="Hatherton Lake" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Hatheron Lk Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Another view towards the boat house on the opposite side of the lake. Hard to believe it used to be a quarry pit until the mid 19th Century.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Walsall Arb (June 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

One more view from the benches viewing area on Broadway North of the lake. Noticed that there is no steps or ramp down to the park from up here, you have to enter via the lodge, or anther gate.

dndimg alt="Hatherton Lake" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Hatheron Lk Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Boat House

The Boat House is the only Grade II listed building in the park, dating to 1874. Probably designed by the county surveyor Robert Griffiths. It is a timber-framed building with hipped tiled roofs and a raised lantern. It has cast-iron columns and a concrete base supports above the water level. It is on Hatherton Lake.

First saw the boat house going in a clockwise direction around the lake.

dndimg alt="Boat House Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Boat House Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Later saw the boat house on the walk back to the lodge,  just after passing the poppy field, and from the opposite side of the lake. Hard to believe it was opened around 1874-75. Especially with all the modern alterations to it.

dndimg alt="Boat House Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Boat House Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Bandstand

The present bandstand was erected in 1924, replacing a previous structure on the same site that was built in 1873, which was of the conventional octagonal form. It is near Hatherton Lake.

The first view of the bandstand from the opposite side of the lake, shortly after I first arrived in the park.

dndimg alt="Bandstand Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Bandstand Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The second view going off the upper path, was an area where you could look down at the bandstand and the lake below.

dndimg alt="Bandstand Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Bandstand Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Visitor Centre

The Visitor Centre was opened in November 2015. The opening of the visitor centre was the culmination of the arboretum restoration programme, delivered 2010 - 2015. Within the new building is retained a former agricultural building that pre dates the park. The new centre was wrapped around this key historic feature.

On the left is the Industrial Garden featuring Fluffy the Oss.

dndimg alt="Visitor Centre Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/VC Walsall Arb (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Bronze horse statue of Fluffy the Oss

This statue of a bronze horse was originally commissioned by Walsall Council in the 1990s, and used to be outside of the Civic Centre. But due to vandalism, it was removed to storage. Years later it was restored to the condition it is in now, and installed in the Industrial Garden near the Visitor Centre at the Arboretum in 2017. It was originally sculpted by Marjan Wouda. The garden celebrates Walsall's industrial heritage and is situated by the site of the old limestone workings.

Fluffy the Oss is a feature of the Industrial Garden at Walsall Arboretum.

dndimg alt="Fluffy the Oss" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Fluffy Oss Walsall Arb (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The Leckie Building

This building was built from 1902, and opened in 1904 as the Pavillion Refreshment Room. It was designed by H. E. Lavender, and was the focal point of the park. It closed down in 1931, but reopened in 1936 as the  Joseph Leckie Sons of Rest Social Club for older adults which it remains to this day.

First view from the path to the centre of the park, but was a pair of trees in the way of the view.

dndimg alt="The Leckie Building" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Leckie Bldg Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Later walking back to the lake and lodge, got a pair of rear views.

dndimg alt="The Leckie Building" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Leckie Bldg Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

There was a stone dated 1902 at the back of The Leckie Building.

dndimg alt="The Leckie Building" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Leckie Bldg Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Ladies Bowl Pavillion

This was originally a refreshment pavillion built in 1934. It was called the Richard B Sutton shelter. It was built of Cotswold Stone under a tiled hipped roof, with a locally supported by circular section rustic stone columns. In 2003 it became the club house for the Ladies Bowls Club.

This was near the halfway point of the park, saw a Welcome to Walsall Arboretum sign / map, and then followed another path back towards the lodge and lake.

dndimg alt="Ladies Bowl Pavillion" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Ladies Bowl Walsall Arb (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden was quite close to The Leckie Building. This was an upper path view of it.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Rose Gdn Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

There was these steps with railings down the middle and a semi circlular arch above.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Rose Gdn Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

Summer Poppy Field

The poppy field is quite a sight to see at Walsall Arboretum each summer. It is close to Broadway North and Arboretum Road, and not far from the bandstand.

dndimg alt="Poppy field" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Poppies Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

I wasn't the only one to stop and take photos of this poppy field, even dog walkers stopped to take a look!

dndimg alt="Poppy field" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Poppies Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

A macro zoom in to one of the poppies.

dndimg alt="Poppy field" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Poppies Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

After I left the park, a look at the poppy field over the wall from Broadway North.

dndimg alt="Poppy field" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Poppies Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

The best of the rest of the park

Having just passed the Arboretum Lodge, and bust of Jerome K. Jerome, I saw these flower beds to the right of the path.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

The paths around the Arboretum. This one (below) was between Hatherton Lake (right) and the Deep Pond (left).

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Paths Walsall Arb (June 2021) (1).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

While I was checking out the Hatherton Lake, I also saw the small pool to the left of the path. This is also called the Deep Pond. Behind is the villas on Victoria Terrace, which indirectly led to the quarry here closing, and the land being landscaped as a arboretum / park.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Walsall Arb (Jun 2021) (2).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

After the Visitor Centre, the long path that runs past The Leckie Building. A lot of tree coverage here.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Path Leckie Walsall Arb (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

A view of the Hoar Brook that flows through the Arboretum. Didn't see much of it, other than this view.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Hoar Brook Walsall Arb (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Near an area called The Lion's Den. Briefly went off the main path to the left. Then back over the area with picnic benches near the Ladies Bowls Pavillion (on the right).

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Lions Den Walsall Arb (Jun 2021).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

This path was after the halfway point of the park, and the start of the walk back to the lake and lodge. Lots of trees, after all this is an arboretum!

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Some hills as the path goes around a curve, and more trees. Perhaps this landscape was carved out as the quarry, then later grassed over from the 1870s.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Paths Walsall Arb (June 2021) (3).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Now on the path that follows the wall (on the left) near Arboretum Road. Down below (to the right) is Hatherton Lake and the Hoar Brook.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Paths Walsall Arb (June 2021) (4).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

Eventually the path goes back down towards the lake, as you can see here.

dndimg alt="Walsall Arboretum" dndsrc="../uploadedfiles/Paths Walsall Arb (June 2021) (5).jpg" style="width: 100%;" />

 

After I left the park I saw WM bus 6600. It was on the National Express West Midlands, Black Country Bus Rally from Walsall to Wolverhampton. This was the only bus I saw. It was on Broadway North crossing the lights onto Littleton Street East (the Walsall ring road). Click the link above for the photos.

 

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

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Daniel Sturley Construction & regeneration
22 Jun 2021 - Daniel Sturley
Gallery

The Construction of One Centenary Way - June 2021 Update Two

Work is progressing fast on floors 6 and 7, getting close to halfway up now. 15 photos in this construction update all taken on 19th June.

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The Construction of One Centenary Way - June 2021 Update Two





Work is progressing fast on floors 6 and 7, getting close to halfway up now. 15 photos in this construction update all taken on 19th June.


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Photography by Daniel Sturley

See more in the full gallery here: One Centenary Way Construction Photography

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