The home of Birmingham Moseley Rugby Club is at Billesley Common in the Shire Country Park. There is paths in the woods called the Haunch Brook Pathways. The area is classed as a SLINC (Site of Local Importance to Nature Conservation). There was also a new Wetland area developed in 2010. Billesley Common was first mentioned in 1774 as common land. With a big open field used for rugby.

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Billesley Common and the Haunch Brook Pathways in the Shire Country Park





The home of Birmingham Moseley Rugby Club is at Billesley Common in the Shire Country Park. There is paths in the woods called the Haunch Brook Pathways. The area is classed as a SLINC (Site of Local Importance to Nature Conservation). There was also a new Wetland area developed in 2010. Billesley Common was first mentioned in 1774 as common land. With a big open field used for rugby.


Billesley Common

 

Billesley Common is located on Yardley Wood Road and Haunch Lane in Billesley, and is a satellite park of the Shire Country Park. There is also an entrance off Hollybank Road if you walk down Chessetts Grove alongside the Haunch Brook. The Haunch Brook Pathways are located to the south of the common with entrances on Haunch Lane and on Yardley Wood Road. To the north of the common is the current home of Birmingham Moseley Rugby Club. (since 2005). Also nearby there is the Billesley Indoor Tennis Centre. Between them is the City of Birmingham Indoor Bowls Club. If you walk past these places, you end up on Wheelers Lane. Going past the new home of the Irish Centre (in what used to be the West Midlands Travel Birmingham Sports & Social Club). There is also a Friends of Billesley Common that cleans the parkland, gets the footpaths resurfaced and the footbridge repaired.

 

You can park your car on the layby on Yardley Wood Road near Billesley Common. Although whenever I've been down there, I've seen a lot of litter and flytipping (hopefully the Council or the Community Group can clean it up now that lockdown is eased even more).

History of Billesley Common

Billesley Common was first mentioned in the history books back in 1774 as common land. Billesley was a typical Anglo-Saxon name, possibly a corruption of Bills Leah and the Anglo-Saxon word for Bill's clearing. Leah means a woodland clearing and a woodland clearing is known to have existed in Billesley north of the Chinn Brook. It is thought that their used to be an Anglo-Saxon settlement on the higher ground near the present day Wold Walk.

A new Wetland area was developed in 2010, which was created so that flood water could be received from the Haunch Brook. A variety of wildlife is known to be around here.

Your main walk around Billesley Common would be around the Haunch Brook Pathways. Follow the Perimeter Walk around and over the Haunch Brook. There is also a path that leads up to Moseley Rugby Football Club, which has an entrance off Yardley Wood Road on Woodroofe Way.

South of Billesley Common is the Chinn Brook Nature Reserve (near Cocks Moors Wood Golf Club), and also the Chinn Brook Meadows (also called the Chinn Brook Recreation Ground). I will cover those areas in two future posts (so watch this space).

October 2016

My first walk around Billesley Common, on the Perimeter Walk and the Haunch Brook Pathways was in October 2016. I had kept seeing it over the years from the no 76 bus when it stops on Haunch Lane.

The entrance from Haunch Lane into Billesley Common. The noticeboard and information sign were on the right.

Heading up the Haunch Brook Pathways into Billesley Common.

A look at the Haunch Brook. Behind that fence is Yardley Wood Road.

The path continues amongst the trees

At this point you have the entrance to Yardley Wood Road to the right and the Perimeter Walk to the left.

Heading onto the Perimeter Walk.

First view of the field, or the common. Various rugby goalposts up the hill and floodlights.

A pair of rugby goalposts.

Was a blue sky with clouds that afternoon (it was just before 1pm on the 2nd October 2016).

Saw this sign about Bird Life on Billesley Common around the Haunch Brook Pathways.

Footbridge over the Haunch Brook.

You can leave the Perimeter Walk and the Haunch Brook Pathways for the Hollybank Spinney. Just head towards Hollybank Road up Chessetts Grove (I've yet to check out the Hollybank Spinney).

Later back on Yardley Wood Road. Park your car up there for your walks around Billesley Common. It is up here though that I keep spotting rubbish and flytipping which is not nice to see.

March 2020

A few days before the lockdown kicked in in March 2020, we headed for a walk around Billesley Common. Parking on Yardley Wood Road, we had a walk around the Perimeter Walk, before getting the car up to Swanshurst Park next.

Starting from the Yardley Wood Road entrance, the trees were looking a bit bare at the time.

Heading up the path, the trees had yet to grow their leaves back.

View of the Haunch Brook behind the trees

Heading up the path near the common. The rugby field beyond towards Moseley Rugby Club.

Again I decided to do the Perimeter Walk this time so turned left at this fingerpost.

This rugby goalpost was looking quite rusted.

Zoomed up to the play area / playground. When lockdown came in properly, all play areas and playgrounds had to be closed down.

Another pair of rugby goalposts, probably the same ones as I saw 4 years ago. Was crows on the common.

A look at the trees from the Perimeter Walk. Strong sunlight.

The footbridge again over the Haunch Brook.

One of the views of the Haunch Brook from the footbridge.

If you head this way you go to the Wetland area. The last time I saw that footbridge (July 2020), it looked broken, but was OK to cross when I went on the 20th March 2020.

Pair of wooden footbridges over the Haunch Brook. The one on the left doesn't have a handrail to hold onto, so be careful.

July 2020

More recently went for an evening walk around Billesley Common. Again starting at the Yardley Wood Road entrance. But this time walking past Moseley Rugby Club and heading to the Wheelers Lane exit. Before going back in via Hollybank Road and Chessetts Grove. The walk was after 7pm in the evening on the 11th July 2020.

Heading up the Perimeter Path from the Yardley Wood Road entrance, there was bright sunshine in the evening, and the resulting photos of the common here came out a bit dark.

Like other City parks, the grass here had been cut for social distancing walks, with some long grass kept.

A long cloud on the left hides the sun which was behind it in the evening. Imagine the history here.

This time walking up the path towards Birmingham Moseley Rugby, past the rugby goalposts and floodlights.

The view towards Birmingham Moseley Rugby Club.

Now on the path towards Wheelers Lane. The road into Moseley Rugby Club was called Woodroofe Way.

The only part of the common not built on was to the right of the Rugby Club, Indoor Bowls Club and Indoor Tennis Centre.

After the walk up Wheelers Lane and down Hollybank Road, I got to the Haunch Brook near Chessetts Grove, and saw this banner. Thank you NHS. Thank you key workers. In this together. Stay safe.

The view of the Haunch Brook from the bridge on Hollybank Road. I will leave going into the Hollybank Spinney for a future time.

Back onto the Haunch Brook Pathways around the Perimeter Walk and I saw this Little Egret landing on this tree branch!

There had been a lot of growth of the bushes and the trees in the 4 months since my last visit here. This was on the Wetland area side.

Beyond the Wetland towards the common.

Heading out of the Haunch Brook Pathways up the path towards Haunch Lane. Leaves on the trees fully grown back.

Getting back to the Haunch Lane exit / entrance. The bus stop there is for the 18 and 76 bus routes. Drivers of the 76 usually change here. Just had to walk around to Yardley Wood Road for the car ride home.

I went to Hollybank Spinney on the 23rd July 2020. Look out for a post on it in the future in the Shire Country Park project (it's part of the Haunch Brook Pathways and is very short).

But first I will need to do posts on the Chinn Brook Meadows and the Chinn Brook Nature Reserve.

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

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