Firstly, an admission. The photographs in this post are my husbands. No effort was made on my part. This is not due not to laziness but to the fact that his photos are a million times better than anything I have ever taken! Slight exaggeration, perhaps.
Give or take a few million, the rock which forms Worcestershire’s Lickey Ridge is 580 million years old and there is evidence that settlers lived in the area during Neolithic times. It is thought that the forest may have provided the inspiration for Tolkien’s mythical Shire (the home of the hobbits) in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings for he lived, for some time, in nearby Rednal.
The Lickey Hills Park is situated about fifteen minutes drive from my home. Covering a 524 acre site, this is a place that I visited with my parents as a child. Later my own children were regularly taken there. The ancient woodland boast almost 400 species of flowering plants and 350 species of fungi too. The forest is mainly populated by spruce and pine trees. The hills look especially lovely at this time of year.
Animal life also thrives with several types of deer recorded, though I’ve never seen one here. More than 90 bird species have been recorded.
From Beacon Hill (on which stood one of the country’s beacons which were used to warn of invasion), it is possible to see landmarks in no less than thirteen counties, weather permitting of course. During WWII the army built a series of buildings on the hill which were used by the Royal Observer Corps aircraft spotters and air-raid wardens who watched for fires in the south Birmingham area.
This castellated structure is a recent addition, built in 1988 to replace the original which housed a toposcope which was gifted to the City of Birmingham in 1907 by the Cadbury family.
A toposcope is usually situated on hilltops or other high up geographical features and is used to indicate direction and the distance from the point to notable landmarks.
An obelisk folly sits high on one of the hills and Was built to commemorate the 6th Earl of Plymouth, Other Archer, who owned much of the land hereabouts.
And finally … The Spirit of the Woods , carved from a single trunk of sweet chestnut by sculptor Graham Jones, just one of a number of sculptures commissioned by Birmingham City Council.