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Green open spaces
Displaying until 01 Sep 2021 - FreeTimePays
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Love our parks - get involved!

As Lockdown rules start to enable more people to enjoy their parks and green spaces, we all want to ensure that these wonderful places of natural beauty are protected for all to enjoy.  This community collective will share some of the brilliant initiatives running across the UK and show just how, together, we can make a difference for the benefit of all.  Connect with us.

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Love our parks - get involved!





As Lockdown rules start to enable more people to enjoy their parks and green spaces, we all want to ensure that these wonderful places of natural beauty are protected for all to enjoy.  This community collective will share some of the brilliant initiatives running across the UK and show just how, together, we can make a difference for the benefit of all.  Connect with us.


Over the next month and for the remainder of 2020, we will be growing our reach and pull together information and details on all the great work being carried out across communities as they collectively protect their parks.  

This will grow into a massive 'community-led' resource for people with a shared interest and passion for their local parks and green spaces.  

Here's just a few of the ideas and initiatives we will be telling you more about so we can share and get more people actively involved.

Litter picking groups - they do a fantastic job.  We'll connect you with your local group.

Art & Culture Trail.  We'll help you set up your trail and showcase your parks.

Walking clubs. We'll connect you and bring in more friends.

Park angels.  Volunteering with a difference.  We'll tell you more.

Creativity and green spaces collide.  Let's look at how art, music, photography and creativity in all its forms can help promote and protect our parks. 

Parks and mental health.  A walk, ride or jog in the park can do so much for your mental health.

There's something for everyone.

Connect with us and help us protect our parks. 

 

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60 passion points
History & heritage
9 hours ago - Elliott Brown
Did you know?

A visit to Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses during September 2020

On the afternoon of the 6th September 2020, we booked to go to the National Trust property and grounds of Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses. Located in Staffordshire near the village of Kinver (and not too far from Stourbridge). The Holy Austin Rock Houses were still lived in until the 1960s. Due to the pandemic, you couldn't go into the houses, just peek into them.

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A visit to Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses during September 2020





On the afternoon of the 6th September 2020, we booked to go to the National Trust property and grounds of Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses. Located in Staffordshire near the village of Kinver (and not too far from Stourbridge). The Holy Austin Rock Houses were still lived in until the 1960s. Due to the pandemic, you couldn't go into the houses, just peek into them.


Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses

 

A visit to Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses during September 2020. This was on the afternoon of the 6th September 2020. As before, we booked the tickets via the National Trust website (which goes onto the EventBrite app). Outside of the forest was a car park, and we passed an ice cream van. We booked in for 2:30pm. You head up to the gate, and get your ticket scanned, then proceed to walk up to the Rock Houses.

 

This National Trust site is near the village of Kinver in Staffordshire, and isn't too far from Stourbridge (around 4 miles away). There is caves in the hills, some that had houses built into them. Kinver Edge includes a heath and woodland. The National Trust was first given the estate in 1917 (around 198 acres) by the children of Thomas Grosvenor Lee (who was a Birmingham solicitor born in Kinver). The Trust acquired a further 85 acres between 1964 and 1980. In 2014 Worcestershire County Council approved the transfer of Kingsford Forest Park to the National Trust. By 2018 the parks signs were now reading National Trust Kinver Edge.

Kinver Edge was home to the last troglodyte homes in England. One of the rock houses was called Holy Austin (which you can visit). It was a hermitage until the Reformation. The Holy Austin Rock Houses were lived in until the 1960s. In normal times you can visit them, but during the summer and autumn of 2020, you could only peek into the rock houses.

Further up was a tearoom and caves. You could put your mask on, and order a coffee and cake and sit at the tables outside (this was when restrictions were eased, and before they were strengthened again).

Also located here was Nanny's Rock, which was a large cave, but it was never converted into a house. There was also Vale's Rock, which had also been known as Crow's Rock. It had been converted into houses and was last occupied in the 1960s. But due to it's dangerous condition it is out of bounds to visitors. Although you can see it from the tables and chairs of the Tearoom area.

From 1901 to 1930, it used to be possible for visitors to get the Kinver Light Railway, which connected to Birmingham's original tram network (operated from 1904 to 1953 by Birmingham Corporation Tramways). But it closed due to the popularity of the motorbus and motorcars. These days, only cars and coaches can get to Kinver Edge on Compton Road. Although I only remember parking spaces available for cars.

 

After you explore the rock houses and caves, you can head up into the Woodland and climb up to the Toposcope (if you want to).

 

After showing our tickets in the EventBrite app, we walked around to the Rock Houses. This was the first glimpse of one of them.

These are the Holy Austin Rock Houses at Kinver Edge.

Teas written on the wall of one of the Rock Houses. Probably Vale's Rock.

There is at least three levels to the Rock Houses here at Kinver Edge, along with some caves.

It wouldn't be long before I got to see this Rock House up and close, but first had to walk up some steps.

A Keep Out sign near the rocks. Not all areas are safe for the public to go.

I would get a better view of these Rock Houses once we went up the steps.

Close up to the first Rock House at the corner. The Holy Austin Rock Houses on the Lower Level.

You could peek into the Rock Houses, but a rope prevented you from entering.

A look at the objects on the table in this Rock House.

Pots and pans in this small cave.

Some Rock Houses had open windows, and you could peek into them. Looks like a bedroom.

The window of this Rock House was only slightly open.

A path goes around the Rock Houses to view some more of them. These are the Holy Austin Rock Houses. Ghost sign above barely readable.

Doors on the Rock Houses to the left were closed, so you couldn't see inside of these ones.

A look at Nanny's Rock (I think). Caves that were never converted into Rock Houses. For many years it was known as Meg-o-Fox-Hole. Someone may have died here in 1617 known as Margaret of the fox earth. Visible from the Middle Level, near tables and chairs from the Tearoom (over a fence).

When you get to the Upper Level, there is a cave you can enter. The ground is covered in sand, plus I think graffiti had been scratched into the rocks over the years. This is near the Tearoom. These are the Martindale Caves and have a 1930s appearance.

The Tearoom is on the Upper Level, to the left of the caves. Tables and chairs were outside to the right (in front of the caves). But if occupied, you had to stand up having your coffee or tea. Toilets were around to the left. This house has been restored to a Victorian appearance.

After going through the gate, exiting the Rock Houses, saw a view of the Victorian style Tearoom house. Toilets on the left. From here you can follow the paths and steps up the hill to the summit of Kinver Edge.

The Toposcope at the top of the hill on Kinver Edge. It has a map of the Midlands, which was restored by the Rotary Club of Kinver in 2014 (it was originally presented by them in 1990). Showing all the counties of the West Midlands region. Plus the major towns and cities (including Birmingham). Plus major hills such as the Lickey Hills and Clent Hills.

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

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70 passion points
Health & wellbeing
14 Jan 2021 - Elliott Brown
Inspiration

When the Air Ambulance flies patients to hospitals in Birmingham

At least three Air Ambulance services fly to the hospitals in Birmingham, over the last decade or so. The main one of course is the Midlands Air Ambulance (red helicopter). There is also the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (yellow helicopter). Plus sometimes the Wales Air Ambulance (red helicopter with green). They go to either Birmingham Children's Hospital or QEHB.

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When the Air Ambulance flies patients to hospitals in Birmingham





At least three Air Ambulance services fly to the hospitals in Birmingham, over the last decade or so. The main one of course is the Midlands Air Ambulance (red helicopter). There is also the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (yellow helicopter). Plus sometimes the Wales Air Ambulance (red helicopter with green). They go to either Birmingham Children's Hospital or QEHB.


Midlands Air Ambulance

It was during May 2011, when I got my first photo of the Midlands Air Ambulance. It was on the helipad near James Watt Queensway. On one of my many walks from work to get some lunch, saw it as I came off Aston Street (Aston University). Only had my then mobile on me. Police usually stop all traffic around the area. Including Corporation Street and at the Birmingham Children's Hospital on Steelhouse Lane.

 

The next time I saw it was around April 2013. Again mobile shots as I didn't want to take my then big camera to work with me at the time. This view of the Midlands Air Ambulance from Ryder Street.

Crossed over the lights on James Watt Queensway and got this view towards the Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Caught it taking off as I walked back to work via the Aston University grounds. Corporation Street to the left.

The Midlands Air Ambulance was on it's way as seen from James Watt Queensway. I think this was near a bus stop. The new Aston University student accommodation phase 2 was under construction at the time, and the old Stafford Tower would not get demolished until 2014.

 

In July 2014, I saw the Midlands Air Ambulance from the Aston Webb Boulevard in Selly Oak (the Selly Oak Bypass). It was heading towards the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

 

During April 2017, on a walk down the Merritt's Brook Greenway in Northfield. Saw the Midlands Air Ambulance fly overhead. I was near Meadow Brook at the time. This was not too far from Ley Hill Park.

 

In December 2017, I saw this Midlands Air Ambulance heading to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

Would assume the Midlands Air Ambulance was heading to the helipad, although I've never seen it myself.

This one is G-OMAA. It is a Airbus Helicopters H135. It is operated by Babcock MCS Onshore.

 

Saw the Midlands Air Ambulance again, this time during July 2018. The view from near the Bourn Brook Walkway in Harborne and I was on Arosa Drive at the time. Was walking to Quinton Road. It was G-OMAA again.

 

In May 2019, near The Bull Ring Indoor Market, was a Midlands Air Ambulance car (7064), next to a West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust ambulance (4323). They were seen from Edgbaston Street and Gloucester Street, also near the Bull Ring Outdoor Market (the Rag Market is to the left off camera).

 

A few months later, during August 2019, and I was in the Library of Birmingham, getting views from the Secret Garden. When I zoomed down to Bridge Street between Arena Central and the Hyatt Regency Birmingham, and saw the Midlands Air Ambulance car (7064) again. That was the year when the Westside Metro Extension to Centenary Square was getting completed. Library Tram Stop opened here by December 2019.

 

Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance

I first saw the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance in February 2012. I was on Moor Street Queensway, and had my then bridge camera on me, so got some decent views. It was near Hotel La Tour and the McLaren Building, heading to the helipad at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Seen here passing the McLaren Building. Years before Exchange Square was built they could fly around here, but this route is no longer possible for Air Ambulances.

 

In August 2013 I saw the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance on the helipad from James Watt Queensway. Again a mobile shot, on one of my lunchtime walks from work to get lunch. As per usual, the Police sealed off all the surrounding roads, as the paramedics took the patient to the Birmingham Children's Hospital.

 

Wales Air Ambulance

I first saw the Wales Air Ambulance landed on the helipad at Birmingham Children's Hospital from James Watt Queensway during November 2014. This one is a bit rare coming to Birmingham. The Teenage Cancer Trust building is behind.

 

The last time I saw the Wales Air Ambulance was from Bournville during September 2019. I was on Oak Tree Lane, walking from Selly Manor to the Serbian Orthodox Church during Birmingham Heritage Week. I haven't seen this helicopter again since then.

 

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

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60 passion points
Art; Culture & creativity
13 Jan 2021 - FreeTimePays
Introducing

'Forward in Unity' mural - Brilliant initiative in so many ways

The 'Forward In Unity’ mural was started on Friday 22nd May 2020. It was completed by artist Gent48 on Monday 1st June 2020. Not only has the project in Digbeth received some fantastic media coverage, it has helped raise awareness of the virus and its devasting impact on the community as well as raising a vast amount for local charities.

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'Forward in Unity' mural - Brilliant initiative in so many ways





The 'Forward In Unity’ mural was started on Friday 22nd May 2020. It was completed by artist Gent48 on Monday 1st June 2020. Not only has the project in Digbeth received some fantastic media coverage, it has helped raise awareness of the virus and its devasting impact on the community as well as raising a vast amount for local charities.


'Forward in Unity' is a great example of how to bring people together in a massive shared effort against a common enemy, as the Covid-19 virus must continue to be regarded.

The project has helped raise awareness.

The 'Forward in Unity' initiative has raised awareness of the virus and brought people together in recognition of the front-line heroes fighting the virus for the protection of our community.

'Forward in Unity'.  Photography by Paul Cadman.

The project has helped bring people together.

The initiative and the significant coverage it has received has attracted the attention of people, not just in Birmingham but across the UK. 

This and other initiatives all have a vital role in tackling the views of those who, despite clear evidence of the devastation caused by the virus, still act and behave in a way that is not in the interests of their community. 

The project has enthused and inspired others to be creative.

During a time when people have been asked to make huge sacrifices and stay at home, the project and the media coverage received has inspired many to check out their own creativity.

Whether through photography, art, craft-making or the written word, such creativity has become hugely important for people's mental health.   

As an example, the Birmingham Gems Charity Calendar for 2021 dedicated a page on the mural in recognition of the city's amazing artists and creative talent. 

The project has raised much needed funds for local charities.

Prints of all sizes can be purchased in order to support local charities, 

In addition to the prints, a book in celebration of those behind the initiative and across community has also been produced.

Connect HERE and get hold of your very own print (signed, limited edition or unlimited) or your 'Forward in Unity' book.  Help support local Birmingham charities. 

'Forward in Unity' A0 Limited Edition Print

'Forward in Unity' Print (A1 or A2)

'Forward in Unity' Video/Book Folder

'Forward in Unity' Book (2nd edition)

Connect HERE to make a donation to Art4Charity and support local charities.

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70 passion points
Health & wellbeing
12 Jan 2021 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

Introducing the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

The Birmingham Super Hospital was built on a site in Edgbaston close to the old Queen Elizabeth Hospital from 2006 to 2010 by Balfour Beatty. It was opened in the summer of 2010. Built to replace the old QE and Selly Oak Hospital, it was given the name of Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. It is linked to the University of Birmingham. The hospital is part of the UHB NHS Foundation Trust.

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Introducing the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham





The Birmingham Super Hospital was built on a site in Edgbaston close to the old Queen Elizabeth Hospital from 2006 to 2010 by Balfour Beatty. It was opened in the summer of 2010. Built to replace the old QE and Selly Oak Hospital, it was given the name of Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. It is linked to the University of Birmingham. The hospital is part of the UHB NHS Foundation Trust.


Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham is located in Edgbaston, Birmingham on Mindelsohn Way. The Selly Oak Bypass, known as the Aston Webb Boulevard, along with New Fosse Way and Hospital Way was completed between 2010 to 2011. There is a roundabout nearby called Queen Elizabeth Island.

The nearby Cross City Line includes University Station, which can be used to get to the hospital and the University of Birmingham. As well as the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, the nearby Ariel Aqueduct and railway viaduct are also close by.

Construction of the Birmingham Super Hospital took place by Balfour Beatty between 2006 and 2010. It was named Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, as the Royal title had to be before, and not after, so it could not be called Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The move to the QEHB started in June 2010, and this was completed by November 2011. At the same time, they were moving out of Selly Oak Hospital and the old Queen Elizabeth Hospital (parts of which are now the Medical School of the University of Birmingham).

The hospital is part of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

 

The Birmingham Super Hospital seen during May 2009 while it was still under construction. It had been about 6 months since my brother passed away from cancer, and we were at the old QE, to see an art exhibition. While there, I took these photos of the new hospital from the outside.

 

In December 2009 I saw these views of the Birmingham Super Hospital from Selly Oak Triangle. Near the Sainsbury's car park and the Battery Retail Park. Used to be a B & Q at the retail park at the time.

 

Next up, views taken during June 2010, the month the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was first opened. These views from Selly Oak, over the allotments.  Probably taken from the Harborne Lane Island.

 

Some April 2012 views of the QEHB. First up, a couple of views from the Aston Webb Boulevard (Selly Oak Bypass). Plus a couple of views from around Mindelsohn Way.

 

A couple of February 2013 views of the QEHB near the bus stops. The main entrance to the hospital is to the far right.

 

Some views in later years. This one of the QEHB taken from Mindelsohn Way during December 2017 (on Boxing Day). Many bus routes head around this road, with the bus stops on the right. Today you can get the 76 to Solihull, or the 1A towards Acocks Green. Other bus routes serve the bus stops behind.

 

In December 2017, I saw this view of the QEHB from the footbridge at Selly Oak Station. This was two days after the previous time I saw the hospital. There was some snow in Selly Oak that day.

 

This view taken from the bus stop during March 2018 of the QEHB. Taxi rank on the left, bus stops on the right. Was waiting for a no 76 bus back towards Yardley Wood and Hall Green.

 

Now for some views of the QEHB seen over the years from Beacon Hill at the Lickey Hills Country Park.

The view from May 2013, of the QEHB and the BT Tower.

 

By January 2018, you could see the construction to the right of the QEHB of The Bank Tower 2.

 

A November 2020 Lickey Hills 2nd lockdown walk down Beacon Hill started with the skyline view first. The QEHB, was joined by the completed Bank towers, while The Mercian was shooting up Broad Street.

 

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

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