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Located a mere 10 miles from the centre of the UKs second city to the east and 20 miles from Worcester in the south – the Lickey Hills Country Park is set in 524 acres of rolling wood and heathland. Much of the land has been gifted by the Cadbury family over the years.

Holding the Green Flag Award since 2000, the Country Park is relatively young but has an intriguing history spanning almost 500 million years. One of six hubs within Birmingham, it is visited by over 250,000 people each year.

With provision for all levels of park interests, there is great deal to attract the young and old alike. From 13 walks featured in the ‘Exploring the Lickeys‘ book catering for those with mobility issues, the young, the day and seasoned walker, there’s also an eclectic range of activities throughout all the seasons and wellbeing matters are regularly encouraged.

Bill Oddie

Remembering Bittell Pools

I was indeed a regular visitor to Bittell reservoirs during the 1950’s. One routine was to start the day at Bartley Reservoir, which was often pretty much birdless. I would then cycle over or past Frankley Beeches, often dismounting going up and tazzing down the other side. This took me to Lower Bittell which was a very verdant site, with big fences and muddy edges.

Nevertheless, it was not as productive as Upper Bittell which was about half a mile away down a narrow track. On the face of it was less scenically attractive than Lower Bittell, and it was also the home of a Yacht Club [Barnt Green Sailing Club]  which could scare the birds, as well as chase away young birders.

There were some stretches of rather dilapidated wire fencing which we climped through or over.  Frankly, we were technically tresspassing, but we used to convince ourselves that it was only partly private, or that we hadn’t realised. We were were occasionally shouted at by a yacht club official, but it was often worth it because Upper Bittell was surprisingly productive considering how unattractive it was compared with scenic Lower Bittell. I suspect however that the almost seaside looking shoreline, fluctuating water level and open rough ground round the edges made birds feel that they were somewhere authentically wild. There were lots of duck in winter, including flocks of wigeon that loved to graze on the grassy edges.

It was also a good place for ‘flyovers’, few trees meant a bigger sky. One morning, in early December we saw a Snow Bunting land on the shingle, followed by a Red Kite flapping and gliding over our heads, from the direction of Wales. In those days, Red Kites had not been introduced all over Britain. If you wanted to see one, you had to mount an expedition to South Wales, where a very few pairs bred. Or – of course – you could try Upper Bittell.

I admit this wasn’t what you’d call a walk. It was largely a cycle ride with several stops-and-walks along the way. The finale was to chain and lock our bikes at Bittell to the sturdiest fence we could find. Then came the walking bits.

Ah, a nice bit of nostalgia,
Bill Oddie

News/Events

Matters relating to the ‘Exploring The Lickeys‘ book plus information to assist your visit to the Lickey Hills & the Country Park.

VC = Visitor Centre, Warren Lane B45 8ER
BE = Booking Essential: 0121 445 6036

2018

Saturday 13 January – Wassail 66% of UK orchards lost since 1950s. Event for all ages. Warm clothing + make a noise & maybe a drink. VC 4.30pm


2017

Tuesday 19 December – Worcestershire in Pictures by Geoff Hawkesworth with Christmas Social – Lickey Hills Local History Soc. Trinity Centre 7.30pm

Sunday 17 December – Search for Santa follow the trail through the woods to find his grotto & presents. Early BE + VC

Saturday 2 December – National Tree Dressing Day seasonal walk to help decorate the trees. 11am-1pm VC

Fri 1 – Sun 10 December (various dates) – Jack and the Beanstalk panto time by Jigsaw Players Theatre Co. Trinity Centre poster Here

Saturday 25 November – Country Park Litter Pick, a great opportunity to help in the country park. Meet at the Visitor Centre, Warren Lane at 10am. VC

Wednesday 25 October – Autumn Antics family event. Go wild in the woods and wear suitable clothing. 11am-1pm VC + BE

Saturday 14 October – Lickey Rocks The Lickey Geo-Champions host this geological event. VC

Tuesday 10 October –Talk on the Bromsgrove Society’s work, held by The Lickey Hills Society at Trinity Centre, Lickey 7.30pm

Sunday 8 October – Geo-Champs Clearance Day  great fun for all helping out. VC 10am-2

Friday 6 October – Skywatch with the  Birmingham Astronomical Soc. Explore the night sky with powerful telescope. 7-10pm VC

Sat/Sunday 16/17 September – World War I Open Weekend run by The Lickey Hills Local History Soc. VC

Tuesday 12 September – Oral History Workshop, part of the WWI Project to book your place, please contact Jill Harvey – 0121 453 5838

Friday 8 September – Bat & Moth Night learn about these nocturnal mammals. BE + VC 7.45pm

Wednesdays & Fridays August – August Antics families go wild in the woods. BE + VC 11am-1pm

Wednesday 2 August – National Play Day join the Rangers for family fun & games in the park. VC 11am-3pm

Sat 22 Jul-Sun 3 Sept – Self-Guided Activity Trail event runs daily & you could win a prize! VC between 10am–5.40pm

Sunday 16 July – Country Park Bilberry Wake Picnic hobby horse racing & prizes, best dressed picnic. VC 3-5.30pm – Gallery

Saturday 15 July – Himalayan Balsam Bash second chance to held rid the Hills of this invasive plant. Volunteer clearance, details: Sat 24 June

Saturday 8 July – Bittel Reservoir Circular Walk 5 miles with some hilly & uneven terrain with steps. VC 11am

July – The Big Sleuth bears start to appear all over Birmingham for 10 weeks – see them at the Visitor Centre. VC

Sunday 11 June – Lickey Festival  ‘The Farmyard’ scarecrow competition, animals, entertainment, group stands, Lickey Hills School 12-4pm – Leaflet and Festival Programme

Sunday 7 May – Dawn Chorus early morning walk to hear & see 60+ species, binoculars useful. BE + VC 4am – Gallery

Tuesday 25 April – ‘The No.11 Outer Circle Bus’ talk by Lickey Hills Local History Soc. Trinty Centre 7.30pm

Monday 17 April – Guided Walk A Lickey Geo-Champions geology walk on Easter Monday from the Visitor Centre 11am – 12.30pm

Saturday 15 April – Pride of Longbridge enthusiasts across the UK enjoy local car making heritage in Cofton Park 10am-4pm

Sunday 11 April – Easter Fun Run 5k Charity run, jog or walk event in Cofton Park, places limited 11am – leaflet

Monday 20 March – World War I Project launch by The Lickey Hills Local History Soc. & partners Country Park research VC 2pm – Gallery

Saturday 18 March – Annual Litter Pick organised by The Lickey Hills Soc. bags and gloves provided Visitor Centre 10am

Wednesday 15 March – ‘Exploring The Lickeys’ book goes on sale. Available from the Visitor Centre & The Lickey Hills SocietyDetails

Tuesday 14 March – ‘Exploring The Lickeys’ book launch TLHS members & guests with talk, film & refreshments. VC 7.30pm – Gallery

Friday 10 March – Skywatch explore the night sky, telescopes, slide shows, star dome Birmingham Astronomical Soc. VC 7.30pm

Thursday 9 March – Country Park Volunteer Replanting Deutsche Bank event in Narborough’s Field. VC 10.30am

Tuesday 28 February – ‘A Slow Walk Around Barnt Green Village’ Edwin Gumley presents 100 postcards, Trinity Centre – Leaflet

Wednesday 15 February – Tea & Talks over 60s Lickey & Blackwell PC parishioners free event 2-4pm booking essential – Leaflet

Saturday 11 February – Our Country Park Under Threat  with the very real risk of losing local amenities –  Sky News from Lickey

Saturday 11 February – Waseley Wander a winter’s 6 mile walk there & back on the North Worcestershire Path. VC 11am

Saturday 4 February – Rubery Clearance & Conservation tools provided, bring gloves, hard hats available. VC 10.30am

Saturday 14 January – Wassail event for all ages. Warm clothing + make a noise & maybe a drink. VC 4.30pm – Gallery


2016

Monday 10 October – The Castle up the Beacon Spoz reciting his poem on the Lickeys – film

Contact

Should you have any queries relating to the ‘Exploring The Lickeys‘ book or this website as a whole
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