It occurs to me that I rarely write about local stuff. Which is a shame really as I live in a fairly pleasant part of Brum – not many people get to live within sniffing distance of a chocolate factory. But as nice as Bournville is, the best park in the area is Cotteridge Park. It has something that Bournville’s other open spaces lack – community.
Friends of Cotteridge Park are the very active group that look after the interests of the park. They were set up to stop the planned de-commissioning of the park for housing in the late 90s. There’s a bit of history on their website (including the fact that apparently during the war the park was used to store barrage balloons) but to give you a flavour of the work they’ve done:
- Redeveloped some derelict land into an orchard
- Organise a Christmas tree recycling point
- Built a fantastic natural amphitheatre in the park for open air concerts
- Lobbied for and got a skate park, new playground equipment and re-surfacing of the dilapidated tennis and basketball courts
- Run a toy bank and volleyball games during the summer
- Do tons of traditional fund-raising with quiz nights etc.,
- Build Wigloos!
And of course they won the battle to save the park in the first place. Their most recent plans are for a funky shelter building.
The park is next to the cross-city rail line between Bournville and Kings Norton and has a good mix of open land and wooded areas, as well as the orchard of course. It’s on a decent slope which, for a runner, makes it good for short hill sprints along the paths but there is a flat area which I think may have been a bowls green at one point but which is now ideal for impromptu five-a-side. The play area is great for most ages and the skate park attracts a good selection of motley teens – all of them unnervingly polite when faced with a six year old trying to do wheelies on her scooter.
It’s a great park – am chuffed to live in walking distance of it.
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Pic: Pete Asthon