I am a student at the University of Birmingham with a love for exploring on the weekends.
Published March 1st 2017
Escape to the countryside
Starting from Barnt Green station (which is only a thirty-minute train journey from New Street) is the beginning of the perfect escape from the city.
The Lickey Hills are immersed in forests and countryside, you wouldn't believe they're only three miles from the M42. It's a beautiful place surrounded by trees, hedgerows and wildlife. A real jewel in the city. Walking along, all you can hear is the squelch of the mud under your feet and the songs of birds – it's idyllic. A slight warning though, at this time of year it is very, very muddy meaning that walking boots or wellies are a necessity. Regardless, the path is well maintained and well defined making it easy to follow.
The majority of the walk I followed (which can be found here) is in the woodlands which are amazing to explore. There are so many beautiful colours both in the trees and amongst the fallen leaves on the ground. What's more, amongst the mud and fallen leaves are the tips of bulbs starting to appear. I definitely plan on returning in the spring when all of the flowers have grown and bloomed. The trails are also very popular with dog walkers and I can imagine is a nice change from walking in the city.
The visitor's centre is a good stop for toilets and there's a small café which serves tea and cake to revitalise you on your walk. The visitor's centre also offers a selection of trail maps as well as several displays with information about the woodland, the hills and several pieces of taxidermy wildlife. Just outside the visitor's centre is a play park and several picnic benches making it a good spot for lunch.
There is also a community orchard which is a delightfully peaceful enclave. Though the fruit trees are still small, in the future they will offer a pick your own fruit scheme which I think it a brilliant idea and shows how nature can unite a community. Around the hills are also several conservation projects, particularly the restoration of heathlands to help preserve a habitat for animals such as voles, adders, foxes and kestrels.
There is a wide range of routes across the hills meaning there is something manageable for every ability and lots of options to explore. The summits offer an incredible view for miles around with the city occasionally visible on the horizon. It is such a peaceful place and I love being amongst the wildlife and the trees. Furthermore, I've heard it's a great place for stargazing due to the lack of light pollution which I would love to experience one weekend.
A great way to escape the chaos of the city and enjoy a few hours walking amongst the hills.