Plants Brook

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Plants Brook (originally Ebrook, Ebrooke[1] or East Brook[2]) is a stream in Erdington and Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, West Midlands, England.

Course of the stream[edit]

The source is in the Streetly area of Sutton Park where it flows as a small trickle to Blackroot Pool in Sutton Park, which has been formed as a result of the damming of the stream.[1] It then flows south east to a pool near Wyndley Leisure Centre. Water is channelled from this pool to Wyndley Leisure Centre where there was a now-demolished water mill.[3] The stream then goes under ground, below Sutton Coldfield town centre before resurfacing along Queen Street on the edge of the town centre. Here it is channelled to follow the edge of the road before flowing beneath it at a bend where it flows from north east to south east. It continues flowing in this direction, past Plantsbrook School, which receives its name from the stream, and turns north east at Sutton Coldfield Town F.C.'s training ground, underneath Ebrook Road, named after the former name of the stream. It meanders through a housing estate and underneath a railway viaduct and enters New Hall Valley Country Park from its north.

From here it is channelled southwards past the New Hall Estate, New Hall Manor and New Hall mill. Prior to it being channelled, it flowed alongside New Hall Manor to New Hall Mill,[2] where it powered the machinery.[4] The stream is split into two streams, parallel to each other as it approaches Wylde Green Road. Up until 1967, the Wylde Green Road was crossed by a ford formed by Plants Brook. Alongside this, John Vesey, Bishop of Exeter, constructed one of his 51 cottages known as the Fordkeeper's House.[5] This provided security to those travelling along the Wylde Green Road.[1]

It continues to flow south through the country park in New Hall Valley, and underneath Penns Bridge. It flows to the east of Walmley Golf Club and provides water to 'The Dam', a long pool at Penns Hall. This southwards pattern is gradually lost as it flows around the boundary of Pypes Hayes Golf Course. Here it begins to flow south east, and once it reaches Eachelhurst Road, it is flowing east.

A bridge was built over the stream at Eachelhurst Road and a parting in a housing estate indicates the course of the stream, despite being underground. It resurfaces soon after into several small pools, which were formerly reservoirs. The area was designated nature reserve status in March 1991, as Plantsbrook Local Nature Reserve, and covers an area of 24.96 acres (101,000 m2).[6]

A small trickle from the reservoirs provides water to the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal.

History[edit]

The course of the river has changed very little during its known history. When Sutton Coldfield was a separate district to Birmingham, it provided a major source of water for the residents.[1]

To the affluent members of society living in Sutton Coldfield, it was contested over. Landowners were very restrictive in letting others use the stream. One such person was William Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. However, in 1288, he allowed Thomas de Arden, owner of Peddimore Hall, to fish in the stream on Beauchamp's land.[7]

A survey of the stream was conducted by the Applied Hydrobiology Section of Aston University in 1972, into the wildlife of the stream. The results showed that it was relatively unpolluted and was well aerated. The soft acid waters supported various species such as crayfish, nymphs, stoneflies, mayflies and fresh water shrimps. Minnows were also found to be living in the stretch of water between Blackroot Pool and Town Gate.[1]

Features on the course[edit]

Point Coordinates
Blackroot Pool 52°34′21″N 1°50′34″W / 52.5726°N 1.8428°W / 52.5726; -1.8428 (Blackroot Pool)
Pool at Wyndley 52°33′47″N 1°49′53″W / 52.5631°N 1.8313°W / 52.5631; -1.8313 (Pool at Wyndley)
Queen Street 52°33′38″N 1°49′22″W / 52.5605°N 1.8229°W / 52.5605; -1.8229 (Queen Street)
Ebrook Road bridge 52°33′26″N 1°49′00″W / 52.5572°N 1.8166°W / 52.5572; -1.8166 (Ebrook Road bridge)
New Hall Valley Country Park 52°33′24″N 1°48′49″W / 52.5566°N 1.8135°W / 52.5566; -1.8135 (New Hall Valley Country Park)
Fordkeeper's Cottage 52°32′50″N 1°48′30″W / 52.5473°N 1.8082°W / 52.5473; -1.8082 (Fordkeeper's Cottage)
Penns Bridge 52°32′32″N 1°48′27″W / 52.5422°N 1.8076°W / 52.5422; -1.8076 (Penns Bridge)
The Dam 52°32′21″N 1°48′32″W / 52.5392°N 1.8089°W / 52.5392; -1.8089 (The Dam)
Pype Hayes Golf Course 52°31′56″N 1°48′20″W / 52.5323°N 1.8055°W / 52.5323; -1.8055 (Pype Hayes Golf Course)
Plantsbrook Local Nature Reserve 52°31′40″N 1°47′46″W / 52.5277°N 1.7961°W / 52.5277; -1.7961 (Plantsbrook Local Nature Reserve)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield - A Commemorative History, Douglas V. Jones, 1994, Westwood Press (ISBN 0-9502636-7-2)
  2. ^ a b British History Online - 'Warwickshire: 008/NE', Ordnance Survey 1:10,560: Epoch 1 (1889)
  3. ^ Wyndley water mill, Sutton Coldfield, K. J. Williams, 1982, Williams
  4. ^ New Hall Mill website
  5. ^ Houses of the valley, houses of interest at Wylde Green crossing of Plants Brook, A. F. Fentiman
  6. ^ Birmingham.gov.uk: Plantsbrook Local Nature Reserve
  7. ^ Walmley Residents Association: A brief history of Peddimore