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Sutton Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sutton Park. Original image xlibber. Image (cropped and resized brumagem) licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Sutton Park is the largest green space in Birmingham and the biggest urban park outside a capital city in Europe.

The park is a former royal hunting ground that was given to the people of Sutton Coldfield by Henry VIII in 1528; it is now a National Nature Reserve consisting of 2,400 acres of wetlands, heaths, marshes and ancient woodlands.

The park, which is freely grazed by cattle and exmoor ponies, contains six lakes, two golf courses, two  playgrounds, a donkey sanctuary, a visitors centre and several archaeological sites including a Roman Road.


Archaeology at Sutton Park


Roman Road

Ryknild Street in Sutton Park. Original image by Phil Champion. Image (resized by Brummagen) licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License

Sutton Park contains a comparatively well-preserved Roman road known as Icknield Street and/or Ryknild Street. The area of Streetley, on the east side of the park, is named after it.

The road runs across the park for 1.5 miles from the Royal Oak Gate in Streetley to Four Oaks. It is 8 metres wide and cambered in typical Roman fashion so that surface water might drain from the centre.

The road consists of compacted gravel dug locally from pits still visible on either side.

The surface was never paved and there is no drainage channel; a shallow intermittent ditch runs along both sides of the road but this was dug as a survey line.

 Coins from the reigns of Constantine and Diocletian have been found near the road which formed part of a network that connected the Fosseway in the Cotswolds to Templeborough in south Yorkshire.

The route included Metchley Fort, a 1st century Roman encampment in Edgbaston.


Flora and Fauna at Sutton Park

Round Wood at Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield. Original image by BigTallGuy. Image (cropped and resized by Brumagen) licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

The woods at Sutton Park contain a mixture of native trees such as ancient oak, silver birch and rowan and imported species such as larch, spruce, pine, beech, red oak and sweet chestnut.

Woodland flowers such as bluebell & wood anemone are abundant at Wyndley Wood, Blackroot Dam and Little Bracebridge but scanty elsewhere.

The heathlands & grasslands are covered in purple heather & yellow-flowering gorse.

The streams, pool margins & wetlands feature bog bean, sweet flag, greater spearwort, marsh & meadow thistles, bog pimpernels and yellow flag iris. Their waterlogged soils provide fertile ground for lousewort, wood ruff, marsh orchids and marsh violets.


Golf Courses in Sutton Park


Boldmere Golf Course

Boldmere is a municipal golf course with 18 holes, a standard scratch score of 63 and a yardage of 4474. It is characterised by a series of challenging par 3's.

The course is located on the southern fringe of Sutton Park; the eastern end overlooks Powells Pool. The course, which first opened in 1936, has hosted a pro-am event since 1952.

The facilities include a cafe, golf shop and 70-space car park; there are no showers.

 Everyone is welcome on a pay & play basis. Book on 0121 354 3379.

Links: Boldmere   Golf Courses   Boldmere Golf Club Website


Sutton Coldfield Golf Course

Sutton Coldfield Golf Club. Image courtesy of rensenbrink78. Image (cropped and resized by Brummagen) licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Sutton Coldfield Golf Club (est. 1889) is located on the western fringe of Sutton Park; the main entrance is on Thornhill Road in Streetly.

The course is set amidst natural woodland and heathland; it is characterised by fairways flanked by heather and gorse and by greens lined by clusters of oak trees. The par is 71 and the yardage 6549.

 The main clubhouse contains a bar, lounge and dining room; there is also a ladies clubhouse. Visitors are welcome but there may be time restrictions and so it might be advisable to book in advance on 0121 353 9633.

The club is one of the most prestigious in the Midlands and has hosted major tournaments such as the English Amateur Championship.

 Links: Golf Courses  Sutton Coldfield Golf Club Website


Livestock at Sutton Park


Pilkington Donkey Centre

Donkey at Sutton Park. Original image Big Tall Guy. Image (cropped and resized brumagem) licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

The Elizabeth Svendsen Trust is a registered charity that operates the Pilkington Donkey Centre on the eastern side of Sutton Park, near the Town Gate entrance.

The centre, which is one of five operated by the Trust, provides riding therapy to children with special needs and disabilities. It is visited each week by around 150 children from twenty local schools. Visits are by appointment only.

Children may also attend riding clubs with their families on Saturdays and during the school holidays. Those too heavy to ride can be trained to drive donkey-drawn carts.

Sutton Park B74 2YT   0121 354 9444

Elizabeth Svendsen Trust Website   Map


Grazing Cattle

Sutton Park. Original image Ted & Jen. Image (cropped and resized by Brummagen) licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Around 200 cattle freely graze the heaths and meadows on the northern side of Sutton Park.


Playgrounds at Sutton Park


Play area at Town Gate in Sutton Park. Original image copyright Adrian Bailey. Image (cropped and resized by Brummagen) licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License

There are two children's playgrounds at Sutton Park. One at Town Gate, near the Visitors Centre, on the east side and the other at Banners Gate, off the A452 Chester Road (A452), on the west side.

There are public toilets and car parks near both playgrounds.

Map Town Gate   Map Banners Gate


Pools in Sutton Park


Overview

There are 6 pools in Sutton Park: Blackroot, Bracebridge, Keepers, Longmoor, Powells and Wyndley.


Blackroot Pool

Blackroot Pool is located next to the Blackroot Road entrance to Sutton Park on the Four Oaks Estate. The north side is skirted by the Sutton Park Freight Railway.

Blackroot is an artificial lake bordered by woodland that was created in 1757 by damming a stream in order to produce a mill pond, initially to power a leather mill & then a saw mill.

The pool has a surface area of 12 acres and is stocked with carp and pike; it is named after the black stump of an old oak that once stood near the centre.

Rangers warned of toxic blue-green algae (cynobacteria) at this pool in September 2011; it can kill animals and cause muscle pain and sickness in humans (News Headlines 02/09/11).

Map


Bracebridge Pools

Bracebridge Pool at Sutton Park. Original image copyright Dave Bevis. Image (resized by Brumagen) licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License

The Bracebridge Pools, which are located in woodland 500 metres from the Four Oaks Estate, are a pair of mediaeval fishponds created by Ralph Bracebridge in 1419.

Bracebridge Pool has a surface area of 16 acres and is stocked with pike, roach and tench whereas Little Bracebridge, immediately to the west, which has a surface area of 1.5 acres, was dug as a fish-breeding pond.

The pools were once separated by a dam but are now divided by a narrow strip of wetland. Fishing is permitted in Bracebrige Pool, subject to conditions, but not at Little Bracebridge.

Map


Keepers Pool

Keepers Pool is a mediaeval fish pond in a belt of woodland on the east side of Sutton Park, roughly 500 metres from the Town Gate Entrance.

It has a surface area of around two acres and was created in the 14th century by damming a stream. The original earth and clay dam, reinforced by stone buttressing, has been replaced by concrete.

 There may once have been a keeper's cottage nearby, but there is no archaeological evidence for this. A lido was built at the pool in 1887, but was destroyed by fire in 2004 and the site has since reverted to wetland.

The pool contains pike and carp. Fishing is permitted subject to conditions.

Rangers warned of toxic blue-green algae (cynobacteria) at this pool in September 2011; it can kill animals and cause muscle pain and sickness in humans (News Headlines 02/09/11).

Map


Longmoor Pool

Longmoor Pool at Sutton Park in Birmingham. Original image copyright Lee Jordan. Image (resized by Brummagen) licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License

Longmoor Pool is on the west side of Sutton Park near the car park and playground at the Banners Gate Entrance off the A452 Chester Road.

The pool was created in 1735 by damming Longmoor Valley in order to provide a millpond capable of powering a button mill.  The pool, which is mostly surrounded by heathland, is divided from Boldmere Golf Course by a belt of woodland.

Both the pool and valley feature abundant plant and wildlife. Fishing is not permitted.

Map


Powells Pool

Powells Pool at Boldmere Gate in Sutton Park Birmingham. Original image by Big Tall Guy. Image (cropped and resized by Brummagen) licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Powell's Pool is located at the Boldmere Gate on the south side of Sutton Park. It is the largest of the park's seven lakes, possessing a surface area of just over 48 acres.

 Powells Pool was created in 1730 by damming a stream in order to produce a millpond that powered a steel-rolling mill. The pool is now a leisure facility used by watersports enthusiasts.

Sutton Sailing Club is based at Powells Pool and local sea cadets have built a mock-up of a Royal Navy Destroyer on its eastern shore.

The pool is also popular with anglers since abundant blanket weed provides cover for predatory pike and is a rich source of food for bream, roach and tench.

 The northern shore features a  pub, restaurant, funfair and open fields for kite flying and picnics.

Map


Bus Routes to Sutton Park


Bus Number 66A

Bus number 66A which runs between Priory Queensway in Birmingham city centre and Lower Parade in Sutton Coldfield stops at Boldmere Gate on the south side of the park.

Bus Route 66A


Bus Number 77

Bus number 77 which runs between Sutton Coldfield and Walsall stops at Banners Gate on the south-west side of the park.

Bus Route 77


Bus Route 78

Bus Route 78, which runs between Sutton Coldfield and Streetly, stops at Streetly Gate on the north-west side of the park.

Bus Route 78


Bus Route 604

Bus Route 604, which runs between Mere Green and Kingstanding, stops at Town Gate on the east side of the park and Banners Gate on the south-west side.

Bus Route 604


Railways in Sutton Park


Sutton Park Freight Line

The Sutton Park Freight Line runs for about one mile through Sutton Park between Tudor Hill on the park's eastern boundary and Streetley on its western boundary.

Links: Sutton Park Freight Line


Midland Road Bridge

Midland Road Bridge in Sutton Park. original image copyright Michael Westley. Image (cropped and resized brumagem) licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 license

Heading westwards from Tudor Hill, the line passes beneath this bridge on the Midland Road, near the former site of Sutton Park Station, after roughly 200 metres.


Blackroot Pool

Blackroot Pool in Sutton Park. original image copyright Michael Westley. Image (cropped and resized brumagem) licensed for reuse under ther Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.0 License

From Midland Road, the line runs through woodland, skirting Blackroot Pool: a former millpond that used to power a leather mill that was later converted into a saw mill.

Links: Sutton Park Freight Line


Bracebridge Underpass

Bracebridge Underpass on the Sutton Park Line in Sutton Park. Original image copyright John Procter. Image (cropped and resized brumagem) licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 license

Heading north-westwards from Blackroot Pool, the Sutton Park Line runs above this underpass which allows walkers to cross the line in order to reach the mediaeval fishponds, Bracebridge Pool and Little Bracebridge, on the other side.


Sutton Park Freight Line running towards Streetley. Original image copyright Steve Carter. Image (cropped and resized brumagem) licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.0 License

From the Bracebridge Underpass, the line runs through woodland for about one quarter of a mile before arriving at Streetly on the park's western boundary.

Links: Sutton Park Freight Line


Woman Dies After Being Hit by Freight Train in Sutton Park

A woman was pronounced dead at the scene after being hit by a freight train in Sutton Park, roughly 1 kilometre from Streetly Gate, at around 10am on Tuesday 19 April 2011 (News Headline 21/04/11).


Sporting Clubs in Sutton Park


Sutton Sailing Club

Powells Pool in Sutton Park. Image by BigTallGuy. Image (cropped and resized by Brummagen) licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License

Sutton Sailing Club is at Powells Pool by the Boldmere Gate. The club keeps a fleet of boats and provides powerboat, safety boat, dinghy and first aid instruction. There is a thriving junior section and racing on Sunday mornings in the winter and on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings in the summer. Social events include an annual camping trip to Bala Lake.

Links:  Sports Clubs   Boldmere   Sutton Sailing Club Website


Pubs in Sutton Park


Toby Carvery

The Toby Carvery is a traditional pub and restaurant in Sutton Park.

B74 2YT  0121 354 2458   Map

Pubs in Birmingham   Toby Carvery Website


Restaurants in Sutton Park


Boathouse

The Boathouse is a restaurant serving modern European cuisine by Bracebridge Pool.

Sutton Park B74 2YU   0121 308 8890   Map

Restaurants Outside Inner Circle   Boathouse Website


Miller and Carter

Miller and Carter is a steakhouse at Powells Pool, near Boldmere Gate in Sutton Park.

Boldmere Gate B73 6LH - 0121 355 6919 - Map

Miller and Carter Website


Visitor Centre at Sutton Park

Visitor Centre at Sutton Park. Original image copyright John Proctor. Image (cropped and resized brumagem) licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.0 License

The Visitors Centre at Sutton Park is located near the Town Gate Entrance. It contains a toilet, gift shop, maps, displays & baby-changing facilities.

The Ranger Service, which is based at the centre, organises educational activities and stages events in co-operation with schools, environmental and other organisations.

Park Road B74 2YT   0121 355 6370

Map


Wildlife in Sutton Park


Ponies

Exmoor ponies at Sutton Park. original image Stepehen Boisvert. Image (cropped and resized brumagem) licensed for reuse udner the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

Exmoor ponies and cattle graze freely amidst the heaths and meadows on the northern side of Sutton Park. There are also vast numbers of rabbits, including some natural black rabbits that live in the vicinity of Blackroot Pool.

The woods are populated by grey squirrels and there are sufficient foxes, stoats and weasels to keep down the rodent and shrew populations.

 Pipestrelle & large noctule bats linger at the woodland fringes whilst toads, frogs and other amphibians inhabit the lakes.

Smooth newts live in the ditches in and around Blackroot Pool.

 Lizards, grass snakes & slow worms are found throughout the park and adders have been seen.


Birdwatching

Sutton Park is rich in birdlife. Its heathlands attract skylarks, linnets, meadow pipits and kestrels who hunt short-tailed voles.

 The heather & gorse are inhabited by stonechats, whinchats & wheateaters whilst the moss, birch, peat, willow & moorgrass attract redpoll, willow warblers & grasshopper warblers.

The ancient woodlands provide an ideal habitat for treecreepers, tawny owls, spotted flycatchers and green & great spotted woodpeckers.

The wetlands, marshes & reeds are inhabited by reed & sedge warblers whilst the pools attract grey herons, great-crested grebe, gooseander, coot, moorhens, mallard and Canadian geese.

Flocks of smaller birds - such as siskin, chaffinches & greenfinches - visit the park in winter.


Fire & Firefighting at Sutton Park


 Grassland Fire at Streetly Gate

Grassland caught fire by the Streetley entrance to Sutton Park at roughly 6.30pm on Thursday 03/06/10.

News Archive 04/06/10


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