A large swathe of historically and environmentally significant Parkland at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens in Solihull are being restored and made more accessible to the public thanks to a Community Green Grant from the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA).
The 40-acre estate is a hidden gem on Solihull’s border with Birmingham, featuring a Jacobean Hall and 350-year-old Gardens.
The £23,000 grant from the WMCA will help fund the restoration and conservation of an area of protected wetland, dried-up ponds, and rare acid grassland that is receding due to invading species.
This is the latest of 20 locally led nature projects across the West Midlands to be supported by the WMCA’s Community Green Grants fund, with almost £500,000 helping to restore waterways, plant trees, create ponds, wildflower meadows and urban parks, and to grow fruit and vegetables.
These projects have also provided new or improved access to green and blue spaces for the more than 200,000 residents who live within a 15-minute walk of these sites - one of the key aims of the region’s Natural Environment Plan.
Cllr Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, said: “Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens are an important part of Solihull’s history and landscape, and provide a fantastic green haven in what is otherwise a densely built-up area of the borough.
“I’m delighted the trust has been successful in applying for a Community Green Grant to continue its restoration and conservation work. It will offer many opportunities for local people and visitors to enjoy the site’s story and beauty, while improving their physical and mental health.”
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, visited Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens to see work funded by the WMCA get underway. The Mayor said: “It’s wonderful to see our Green Grants supporting community-led initiatives like Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens.
“These efforts enhance our natural environment and ensure local people have access to green spaces. We know that time spent in nature can be tremendous for our mental and physical wellbeing.
“Working together with communities, we will continue to do all we can to protect and enhance fantastic shared resources that local people right across our region are blessed to be able to enjoy right on their very doorsteps.”
Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens were originally part of the estate of the Earls of Bradford and are now managed by an independent trust. They sit within the largest conservation area in Solihull.
The formal gardens and the 30-acre parkland are both Grade II* Listed, meaning they are in the top 10 per cent of protected landscapes in the country.
The WMCA grant is supporting the wider restoration and conservation of this important heritage site, which is being carried out by the Trust with further support from Solihull Council, Birmingham City Council, which owns the land, and other funding partners.
The long-term aim is to significantly improve access to the Gardens and Parkland for the 80,000 local people who live within a 15-minute walk and support tourism in the region by attracting more regional and national visitors.
Glynis Powell, general manager at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens, said: “Our tiny independent Trust feels its responsibility to this exceedingly rare combination of buildings, gardens and nature very keenly. The whole area is a rare survival from the late 17th and early 18th century and has only survived the encroachment of this century’s fast roads and industrial development by a combination of passionate individuals, enlightened institutions and public authorities recognising its long-term value.
The entire Conservation Area is of national significance, but its impact is perhaps felt most keenly by the surrounding communities whose access to natural and cultural amenities is severely limited by geographical and financial constraints. Together with our partners - from families to regional authorities including the WMCA - we are really pleased to be properly opening up these hidden areas of nature and green spaces to be enjoyed and shared, by everyone.”
To find out more about the WMCA’s Community Green Grants scheme and what else the WMCA is doing to protect the environment see www.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/environment-and-energy/community-green-grants