The Shire Country Park
The Park contains wetlands, grasslands, woodland and heath supporting a wealth of animal and plant life on the doorsteps of Yardley Wood, Billesley, Springfield, Sparkhill and Small Heath.
Trittiford Pool is a good site for bat watching during late spring and summer and the pool supports breeding wildfowl including Swans, Great Crested Grebes and Coots. Nearby Scribers Lane SINC is a diverse site with mixed broadleaf woodland containing wet flushes and ditches, a disused millrace and a wetland scrape. Over the past few years there have been reports of Otter, Water Vole and Water Rail in this area.
Many local people support the work of the Rangers by helping at events and work days and full training, with formal, nationally recognised qualifications, can be obtained with Bournville College, which has linked with the Shire Country Park to offer places on its environmental conservation course. The course will give students the opportunity to gain a wide range of practical and theoretical skills within the field of conservation. If you are interested why not find out more information about the NVQ Level II in Environmental Conservation.
The Millstream Way
The Millstream Way is part of The Shire Country Park. The Country Park includes the following sites:
Scribers Lane SINC
Trittiford Mill Pool
Chinn Brook Recreation Ground
Sarehole Mill Recreation Ground
Moseley Bog LNR
The John Morris Jones Walk Way
Wildlife and Biodiversity
Butterflies, foxes, water voles and bats may be seen. Bird lovers can spot Kingfishers, Sparrowhawks, all three British species of Woodpecker, a variety of Warblers in the Summer and Redwings and Fieldfares in the Winter months within a mile or so of the city centre.
The River Cole runs through the Shire Country Park and is rich in fish and invertebrate life, providing a good food supply for exploring otters, which have been seen on the Blythe nearby. Artificial holts have been constructed in the river banks.
Trees supporting the wildlife include willows, alders and mature oaks. A wide range of wild flowers are abundant and in spring, lesser celandine, wild garlic, wood anemone and bluebells flourish.
One ford is still in use along the walkway. Sites of disused fords are seen on John Morris Jones Walk Way and by Four Arches Bridge at The Dingles.
Nature Conservation &Ranger Service Activities
The Ranger Service works with local people and groups such as the River Cole and Chinn Brook Conservation Group, Moseley Bog Conservation Group and the Burbury Brickworks PLNR Conservation Group. Other local volunteers help to manage and preserve the environment along the river walkway.
Events such as walks, talks and rural crafts and children's activities are held throughout the year. Find out more about Ranger Service events.
The internationally celebrated author J.R.R Tolkien was born in South Africa in 1892. Tolkien and his brother spent their childhood in Birmingham with their widowed mother. They first lived in the hamlet of Sarehole, which Tolkien said were the happiest years of his youth. Sarehole is said to have been the model for The Shire, home to the hobbits.
Every year the Tolkien Weekend is held at Sarehole Recreation Ground and Moseley Bog Local Nature Reserve part of the Shire Country Park. 2005 commemorated the 50th anniversary of the release of The Lord of the Rings.
Ronald and his brother spent many hours playing around Sarehole Mill and being chased away by the miller's son. The Mill features in The Hobbit when Bilbo Baggins runs "as fast as his furry feet could carry him down the lane, past the great Mill, across The Water and then on for a mile or more."
In the 1960s Tolkien contributed to a public appeal to restore the mill which had become dilapidated. It is now a museum and is the only surviving water mill in the City's ownership.
Now a Local Nature Reserve, Moseley Bog was an ideal place for Tolkien's childhood adventures. It is an ancient place with Bronze Age burnt mounds and a mill pool, probably a storage pool for Sarehole Mill. The bog is recalled in Tolkien's description of the Old Forest, last of the primeval wild woods where Tom Bombadil lived.
There is no lighting along the Millstream Way so planning for daylight is important. Walkers are reminded to wear suitable clothing and footwear and to respect private property and wildlife. Sections of the route are not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs.
• Cocks Moor Leisure Centre, Alcester Road, Brandwood
• McDonalds at Warstock Lane – Warstock
• The Baldwin public house – Baldwin Lane, Hall Green
• Behan’s Bar – Highfield Road – Hall Green
• Sarehole Mill Museum – Cole Bank Road, Hall Green
• The Covered Wagon public house - Yardley Wood Road – Billesley
• The College Arms public house - Junction of Shaftmoor Lane and Stratford Road, Hall Green
• Knowle Road Allotments – Knowle Road, Springfield
• Tyseley Community Centre – Greet Recreation Ground, Springfield
• The Ackers Ski Centre – off Golden Hillock Road, Small Heath