Shire Country Park
Shire Country Park, Colebank Road, Birmingham, B13 0BD
- About the park
The Shire Country Park is a local nature reserve south of Birmingham city centre.
The park follows the River Cole Valley for four miles and crosses one of the few remaining fords in the city.
The Park contains wetlands, grasslands, woodland and heath, which all support a wealth of animal and plant life.
The park was named to honour the life and work of J.R.R. Tolkien who lived within its borders as a young child. Tolkien's childhood adventures in the park are said to have inspired some of his later works.
The park includes a number of sites:
- Awards and status
- Local Nature Reserve
- Park friends group
Sarehole Mill is a Grade II listed water mill on the River Cole in the Shire Country Park. The Mill was restored in the 1960s and is now run as a museum.
Tolkien lived close to the mill at around the turn of century and said that he used the mill as a location in The Lord of the Rings, for the Mill at Hobbiton.
Butterflies, foxes, water voles and bats may be seen. Bird lovers can spot Kingfishers, Sparrowhawks, all three British species of Woodpecker, a variety of Warblers in the Summer and Redwings and Fieldfares in the Winter months within a mile or so of the city centre.
The River Cole runs through the Shire Country Park and is rich in fish and invertebrate life, providing a good food supply for exploring otters, which have been seen on the Blythe nearby. Artificial holts have been constructed in the river banks.
Trees supporting the wildlife include willows, alders and mature oaks. A wide range of wild flowers are abundant and in spring, lesser celandine, wild garlic, wood anemone and bluebells flourish.
- Walking or jogging routes
A 5 kilometre walking route is marked out in the park.