WOW…..what an incredible day!!

By habit I am an early riser, even on the wkends that I don’t go into work. This morning was no exception…up by 6.00am, showered and dressed, had my caffiene infusion, cleaned out Sootykins and stood in my lounge thinking what to do next. I hadn’t planned anything for today, and I am normally a creature of routine.

This morning however, after a really good nights sleep, (the first in a very long time) I felt different… I can’t quite explain how I felt, but I felt a little ‘anxious’ to try and get out and do something a little different, away from the normal Sunday routine. It wasn’t a stressful feeling of anxiety that I am well used to, in fact I felt really calm. But I did feel as though I just needed to do something away from the norm. Having yesterday presented my cousin Jo with a family Scrapbooking album, which I have been working on indepth for many weeks, I also felt the need to have a little break from my art and craft work.

So gathering up my bag, coat, Bham A to Z book and my  camera…….without actually planning anything, I jumped on the first bus into town and headed straight towards another bus stop, without actually thinking where I was going. Not the best of ideas some may think……but hey sometimes you have to take the bull by the horn!

I had jumped on the number 63 bus route, which goes to Rubery and then on to an area called Frankley. These are areas on the outskirts of Birmingham and in actual fact Frankley just comes under the Worcestershire border. As a kid, with my Mom and Dad and brother we used to travel this route to the Lickey Hills (unfortunately as I found out today the route has somewhat changed a little, and no longer goes all the way there……in fact I would go as to say I got a little lost today)

However, determined not to be put off by this I carried on the route until a sign on a gate caught my eye.  The sign said Waseley Hills Country Park. I thought to myself, ah well what the heck, lets try this place. And so I got off the next bus stop and walked back towards the main gate. It didn’t look much from the outside and was pretty close to the main road. Further more, I can’t remember having even heard of this place before. But decided to go in and find out more about it.

Waseley Hills Country Park lies on the South Western edge of Birmingham just outside Rubery. The park covers 150 acres of pasture and woodland which rises to an open ridge making it ideal for invigorating walks, and it has some stunning  views across both the Worcestershire countryside and the urban landscape of Birmingham.

The land and the area itself has a lot of history, but I won’t go into all the details.  However, I can tell you this….. in 1904 the land was purchased by the Cadbury family…….yes that Cadbury family! The intention of the family was to buy up large areas of land to the South of Birmingham to prevent the spreading of the city out into the countryside. After World War Two the land was given to the Bournville Village Trust, and the tops of the hills were purchased by the National Trust. The remaining land, forming the present country park, was purchased in 1971 by Worcestershire County Council. The name Waseley comes from the Anglo-Saxon words ‘waer’ meaning sheep and ‘ley’ meaning field. Hence waer’s ley or sheep field. These days however the land is used more for grazing cattle than sheep.

The hills rise to a height of 998 feet, and so you can imagine the stunning views from the top of the hill down into the woodland and pastures. The land and the area in general have great geological interest because of the different rock formations. The ridged form of the park makes it a natural watershed. Rain falling on the Western side drains into the River Salwarpe and then to the Bristol Channel. Whilst that which fall to the East forms the River Rea which joins the River Trent and then ultimately the North Sea.

Immediately after entering the park, you could see the vast open grassland with hedgerows, scrub and woodlands. And then a little later as I walked round the trail, more closely you can see the ponds and various plants, insects birds and other wildlife ……including a herd of Waseley cows.

Camera at the ready, I felt as though I was standing at the top of the world. There was a very strong wind, and part of the trail was very muddy and slippy from all the recent rain we had endured, it was however very pleasantly bright warm and sunny, with occassional passing dark mysterious cloud formations. The clouds alone were magical to watch.  I was determined however to spend the next hour….. or five investigating this beautiful and magnificent scenery.

Dotted along the trail are numerous benches for you to take a break from walking, and to sit down and feel that fresh air and listen to all the numerous sounds of all the different birds. Although I followed the Rabbit and Skylark trails, alas I didn’t see any rabbits. However, I did get a glimpse of a Kestral or two and several Skylarks in the distance….hovering in the sky, before swooping down into the trees and hedgerows.

Part of the scenery in the distance I was able to see, was where Birmingham and the West Midlands were laid out to the right of  the path I was walking. I saw several interesting landmarks including the Lickey Hills, and what used to be the old Longbridge car factory. The Tower of Birmingam University could be seen. To the far left of my  view was the area of Dudley and the Black Country. As I walked down I came to  a section known as the source of the River Rea, which rises here at Waseley and flows through Birmingham City Centre to join the River Tame at the Spaghetti Junction. History says that this small river was responsible for the birth and industrial growth of Birmingham.

 

I have to say that I had an incredible day exploring this haven and I have taken plenty of pictures for you to see below. However, I must add that with regards the beautiful views and stunning scenery, even the clouds looked fabulous…….my camera just doesn’t do it justice. This is one of those places that you have to see and experience for yourself. And despite walking approx 10 miles or so today,  and feeling tired and worn out….it really is a an incredibly good feeling, and I hope to be making a return visit there in the near future.

Hope you enjoy the photos. (75)

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