24. A short walk in the Woodgate Valley Park, December 2008.



26th December 2008. After a most enjoyable Christmas day with the family, what better, than to catch some fresh air on a bright & sunny day? Actually, it was rather cold, so instead of going somewhere a few miles away, we went to the nearest large open space, suspecting that our endurance of the bracing atmosphere would probably be limited to an hour or so. We are very lucky to have exactly such a large open space within half a mile or so of where we live: The Woodgate Valley Country Park. Ah: the noble tree standing against the genial sky! It is not possible to take a representative photo. of the Woodgate Valley Country Park, because it is so large and varied – however, you can get some idea of if from the image below…



and I do trust that the Google Authorities will not take umbrage at my borrow…, er, appropriating the above shot from Google Earth? Full credit is of course extended to that wonderful organisation, Google. Heaven knows where we would be without them! Using Google Earth, I once followed the Trans-Siberian Railway from Perm to Vladivostock. It took six hours spread over two days to do so. I got lost several times in the low-definition areas, but made it in the end. Alas, dear reader, I digress…The yellow arrow indicates where I live, and the Country Park is self-evident. At the left are fields, and there is indeed a farm preserved at that eastern end, which school-children and others visit and learn about farm life. A stream – the Bourne Brook – is clearly visible meandering through the park from west to east. It eventually flows into the River Rea a mile or two further east, in a district of Birmingham known as – Bournbrook!



Speaking of the Bourne Brook, here it is! Its source is somewhere just beyond the south-eastern corner of the Park. A small tributary originates on the far side of the main road at the north-western corner – I don’t think it has name as it’s very short – and runs into the Bourne Brook a hundred yards or so upstream of this photo. I have long had the ambition of making a series of extremely boring videos entitled: ‘The Watercourses of Birmingham’! All of them are quite small as Birmingham is just to the north of the SevernTrent watershed, so rivers have not had time to get very big, even by modest British standards. Still, there are a lot of them, so the Project is a major one. I really must get started on it one day…



It was cold, but the sun was very bright. Just look at the brilliance of this holly. Oh dear – I’ve just noticed the shadow of the photographer at the bottom left….



And the tangle of the holly and the green of the tree trunk, all waiting for the genial breath of Dame Nature to awaken them in the Spring



There must be several miles of rides like this in Woodgate Valley. Also, many differing wild-life habitats have been maintained, and even new ones created in this most valuable open space on the edge of our huge conurbation. Of course, it has a well-equipped and very informative Visitor Centre. In short, it is a fitting tribute to those who conceived, promoted and funded this constructive use of what might otherwise have turned into a wilderness. Instead, it provides a vital and living resource for the local population, besides many visitors from further afield; not to mention the flora and fauna of the region.


Why not visit: www.birmingham.gov.uk/woodgatecountrypark ?





Page written 2nd January 2009.