More families are exploring the great outdoors on their own doorsteps than ever before, with many finding hidden walks and beauty spots minutes from their homes.
We asked the parents on our Brummie Mummies Facebook page for the little known havens they’ve found throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Did you know there are stepping stones in Great Barr, a 10 mile waterside walk in Knowle and a park with a playground, pool, canal and river running through it in Kidderminster?
Stepping Stones at Great Barr Hall, Great Barr
This is a fun ‘adventure’ for the kids that was recommended by Kelly Johnson who runs a family blog called Small House Big Trips. Did you know there were stepping stones in Great Barr?
The best way to get to them is to start your walk in Merrions Wood, a 12 hectare oak and beech woodland in Walsall that dates back to the 18th century when it was planted by Humphry Repton as an entrance to the Great Barr Estate. On your 90 minute walk to the hall, lake and back, look out for birds, bats and fungi along the nature trail.
Start on Skip Lane and walk through the wood, past St Margaret’s Car Park, across an iron and stone bridge, then follow the path to the right where you’ll spot the remains of Great Barr Hall through the railings. Turn right onto small footpath that goes to the right of the hall. Carry on walking until you reach a log where you turn right to get to the lake and the stepping stones to follow your walk back round to the start.
Fish Pond Way, Birmingham B43 7DW or Merrions Wood, Walsall
Knowle Locks, Knowle, Solihull
There’s something very peaceful about watching the narrowboats chug along the canal. This 10 mile waterside walk starts in the village of Knowle near Solihull and features five working locks.
On this stretch of the Grand Union Canal, you’ll also see the Grade I listed Grimshaw Hall in Knowle and the moated Baddesley Clinton manor house as part of the Heart of England Way trail. Park on the car park on Hampton Road and access the towpath of the canal then follow it south to the canal bridge on Kenilworth Road and onto Kingswood. Martha Sanjaya recommended it as a great stretch to walk or cycle that isn’t far from Birmingham and Solihull.
Springfield Park, Kidderminster
Ever go shopping in Kidderminster? Did you know there’s a park right in the heart of the town centre with a playground, pool, canal and river running through it?
Springfield Park is a 16.95 hectare park in the Broadwaters area. Head to the free car park off Springfield Lane then take a wander round the ornamental pool or watch the narrowboats on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. There are also football pitches, a creek for paddling and a picnic area overlooking the water and the old preserved factory chimney.
Springfield Lane, Kidderminster
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The best way to find out what’s going on for families in and around Birmingham is to join our Brummie Mummies tribe!
Simply like our Brummie Mummies Facebook page to be kept up to date with all the wonderful events happening for kids and parents across the city – and join our Brummie Mummies and Daddies Facebook group to post questions and ask for recommendations.
We also arrange Brummie Mummies Socials, where you get to visit top attractions like LEGOLAND, Sea Life Centre, Thinktank and Drayton Manor for a fraction of the price – and to meet like-minded mums and dads!
Tickets to our socials always sell out fast so the best way to hear about them first is by signing up to our free Brummie Mummies email newsletter
We’ve worked out that coming to all our Brummie Mummies Socials throughout 2019 saved parents more than £120 on great days out
Our network is also the best place to learn about new attractions opening around the Midlands too. We also share your kitchen table success stories and celebrate Brummie Mummies Heroes too. Come join the fun here …
Did you know there are woodpeckers in Warley Woods? Maybe it’s a place you’ve driven by and not visited for a while so perhaps it’s worth another look. Madara Ilena has enjoyed exploring the woods with her kids. If you look on the website, you’ll see a 30+ list of animals and birds to look out for in these woods. Why not take the kids and check off each creature as you spot it?
The Rockhouses at Kinver Edge
Did you know there are rockhouses just 30 minutes from Birmingham? Carved into the sandstone, the rockhouses at Kinver Edge were inhabited until the 1960s and were England’s last example of occupied troglodyte (meaning someone who lives in a cave) dwellings.
Now owned and maintained by the National Trust, there’s a fee to wander around these unique houses but you can see the outside of them for free on a lovely walk around the area. Everita Ismail suggested Kinver Edge, which rises to 164 metres above sea level but is an easy walk up to the top, providing amazing views of the Midlands.
Holy Austin Rock Houses, Compton Road, Kinver, near Stourbridge
Heronfield Animal Rescue Centre, Knowle
Priti Draper suggested this volunteer-run animal centre, which reopened to the public in August (except Wednesdays). You pay a small admission fee of £3 for adults and £1 for children then you can visit the geese, goats, horses, sheep and owls.
There’s also a little shop selling books, games, household items, paintings, pictures, frames, cds, dvds and vinyls. All funds go towards the animals and birds’ care. Find out more here
Warwick Road, Knowle
Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve
You can go fossil-hunting at this disused Victorian quarry which has become world famous for its unusual discoveries – in fact more than 700 types of fossils have come from here, dating back some 400 million years ago.
During the Silurian period, the area where Dudley now stands was covered by coral reefs and tropical seas and the rocks formed there are rich in fossils of the creatures that swam in those waters. Admission is free.
Wren’s Hill Road, Dudley
Earlswood Lakes supply water to the canal network between Hockley Heath and Stratford-upon-Avon. There are trails around all three reservoirs have well-maintained trails around them, making them ideal for families.
Take a wander around Terry’s Pool, Windmill Pool and Engine Pool – and keep a look out for the rare Lesser Spotted Woodpecker!
Wood Lane, Earlswood, Solihull
Carding Mill Valley, Long Mynd, Shropshire
If you’re after stunning views and lots of wildlife, then a visit to this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is well worth a trip. Set in nearly 5,000 acres in the Shropshire Hills, there are streams to play in, birds to watch from the hide and three trails to explore.
There are also cycle routes and a tea room (opening times may vary) plus a National Trust car park and a little shop. You can even drive to the top of the hill to take in the views with a picnic if you prefer. Find out more on the National Trust website
Church Stretton, Shropshire
Plantsbrook Nature Reserve
If you’re looking for a spot to enjoy a picnic by open water, head to Plantsbrook where a large proportion of the 26 acre site is open water. This makes it a haven for wildlife amongst the wetlands, woodland and wildflower meadows.
The car park is opposite Pype Hayes Park and the nature reserve is signposted down a small track. Amy Dove recommended Plantsbrook, describing it as a ‘beautiful place.’
Eachelhurst Road, Sutton Coldfield