Shire Country Park (Friends of)
The Shire Country Park was opened in July, 2004. The park was created to care for an 11km stretch of the River Cole valley, improving it both for people and wildlife.
The valley contains many different types of landscape and wildlife habitats. Alongside the river there are areas of formal public open space, tall herbs and scrub, coarse grassland, wetland with several small ponds and ancient woodland.
There are a number of man-made lakes in the park. The lake at Shard End has been created in the remains of an old gravel quarry, whilst Babbs Mill Lake in Kingshurst was formed as a balancing feature in times of flood.
The Shire Country Park comprises the Millstream Way, following the course of the River Cole between Yardley Wood and Small Heath, the Chinn Brook Recreation Ground, Coxmoor Woods and a number of satellite sites including Moseley Bog LNR. This Country Park is a local nature reserve lying south of Birmingham City Centre. An area of outstanding natural beauty and historical interest, it follows the River Cole Valley as a green ribbon for four miles, and crosses one of the few remaining fords in the city.
The park was so named in 2005 to honour the life and work of J.R.R. Tolkien who lived within its borders as a young child, just over the road from Sarehole Mill.
There are several groups of volunteers giving their time to help maintain the River Cole Valley and its satellite areas alongside the City Park Rangers who give instruction and guidance on safe tool use and appropriate habitat management to help improve these areas for wildlife and public use. Each group works independently and different volunteers may choose to work in one area or more depending on their availability.