Covid-19 Guided Walk for One. Number 4: West Park, Wolverhampton

Posted on 31/05/2020 By

Bertie asleep on a railway carriage seat with Bobby's hat over his face!

Bertie: “‘ere, Bobby. Tim, our Technical Director, says we can have this weekend off. He says he wants to show you that you are not the only one who can go out for a walk and take lots of photographs! Apparently there are green spaces even in somewhere they call the Black Country.”

 

 

Number 4: West Park, Wolverhampton.

For those who are not aware, my wife (Tracey) and I live a nomadic life on a narrow boat. Well, almost. The nomadic life has been temporarily suspended due to Coronavirus, so the last 9 weeks have been spent in Wolverhampton. We do like it here. We are especially grateful to Aldi as, since we were last here, they have built a new store 5 minutes down the road from where we are moored (sorry, Bobby, no Waitrose round here!). However, we are beginning to get itchy feet now – normally we only stay in one place for up to a fortnight and then move on to explore somewhere else.

One of the benefits (if that’s what you can call it) of this lockdown is that it can focus the mind on other things. On the other hand, as plenty of people are finding out, it can get quite boring. I have been fortunate enough that I have two things to keep me occupied. One, if I might be allowed to mention it, is developing our own website for our Doggie Boat business. Usually, we trade from the boat – either on our own or at festivals. Obviously we can’t do that at the moment, so we have had to work on the online side of the business. My other interest is photography and I am currently running my “One Photograph a Day” blog, which is forcing me to explore this fascinating city.

We have a dog (Ozzie), who needs his daily exercise, so I have managed to combine this with my photography mission. We discovered a park on the eastern edge, which then led to the discovery of West Park, Wolverhampton. This, I felt, would be right up Bobby’s street.

So this week I shall take you on a circular walk that we have discovered, starting from where our boat is moored.

Our boat, Sola Gratia, moored at the top of the locks in Broad Street Basin.

Broad Street Basin.

Memorial to Tom.

Wonder who Tom was?

Wolverhampton Ring Road and expanse of central reservation.

A very quiet ring road with a substantial central reservation.

Looking towards the city centre.

View from the ring road in the city centre and historic buildings. The tall building in the distance in the Royal London Building.

Molineux Stadium.

Molineux Stadium – home of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The former manor house of the Molineux family.

Overlooking the stadium is the former manor house of the Molineux family, who gifted the land.

Having walked around the usually quiet ring road, we turn off and after a short walk we arrive at the Victorian West Park, Wolverhampton.

One of the entrances to West Park, Wolverhampton.

And here we are!

Apparently, the whole park is designated Grade II Listed because it is one of the finest surviving examples of a Victorian Parkland. Obviously certain things have changed over the years, but with very little imagination you can envisage Victorian couples in their finery promenading round on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. As, indeed, we did for this blog (although being dressed in our “finery” may be stretching it a bit!

West Park, Wolverhampton.

Social distancing! If this was a normal Sunday afternoon, no doubt it would be considerably more crowded.

Beech tree in West Park, Wolverhampton, with people walking by.

People were out getting their exercising walk in. One of many splendid Beech trees in the park with some up-market Victorian villas around the edge – no doubt worth a premium for the view!

Apart from the trees, shrubs play a key part in the history. As far as possible, the layout reflects the original designs.

The beautiful purple flowers of the Catawba Rhododendron.

Catawba Rhododendron.

The beautiful pink flowers of the Catawba Rhododendron.

Also available in pink!

Orange Azalea.

Orange Azalea.

White Rock-rose.

White Rock-rose.

A tall Yew tree.

Yew.

Now, I would be the first to admit that my horticultural knowledge is not that great. I enjoy these gardens for their beauty and am not over bothered what anything is called! Having said that, I was armed with a phone app which was helping to identify what I was photographing in West Park, Wolverhampton. However, this struggled on the next tree. It suggested it may be some sort of Spruce. But it had even proved something of a challenge to Bobby, who had to go away and think about it. Eventually wondering if it may be a Monterey Pine. We shall leave it to you, dear readers, to research and maybe come up with the definitive answer.

Tree in West Park, Wolverhampton. It is Spruce or Pine-like, with tassle type leaves.

The unknown tree. Love its sixties-style hippie tassels!

The Grade II Listed Conservatory in West Park, Wolverhampton.

The Grade II Listed Conservatory in West Park. Wolverhampton’s answer to Kew Gardens. Sadly closed to the public at the moment.

Monterey Pine (possibly).

Monterey Pine (possibly).

Of course, any half-decent park worth its salt will have a lake and this one is no exception. A boating lake normally, but of course this activity is currently suspended. So the wildlife can at least enjoy it to themselves.

The Boating Lake, West Park, Wolverhampton.

View across the boating lake from the conservatory looking towards the bandstand.

The Boating Lake, West Park, Wolverhampton.

Another view across the boating lake – this time looking to the right of the previous shot.

The Boating Lake, West Park, Wolverhampton showing lots of geese, ducks, etc.

Boating Lake? Preserve of the wildlife at the moment! From the other side (you can just see the conservatory on the left in the distance).

Purple Rhododendron and Yellow Azalea.

Purple Rhododendron and Yellow Azalea.

Ornamental Rhododendron.

Ornamental Rhododendron.

Bee pollenating the Ornamental Rhododendron.

Bee enjoying the delights of the Ornamental Rhododendron.

Greylag Goose.

Greylag Goose.

Coot baby almost the size of the adult and beginning to loose its fluff.

Coot “teenager”.

Looking along one of the paths to the bandstand.

Pathway to the bandstand.

Tree lined pathway with shrubs in colourful blooms.

Who says Municipal parks can’t be beautiful?

The Centre Beds, West Park.

The Centre Beds. These would have been formal beds of bright flowers in their day.

The Victorian Clock.

Clock donated by Cllr John Ross in 1883. Once known as the “four-faced liar”. Restoration in the late 1990s seems to have solved that problem.

Copper Beech.

Copper Beech.

The Centre Beds, West Park.

Another view of the formal Centre Beds.

Interpretation Board in West Park.

There are a number of these useful information boards dotted around the park.

Ozzie (half Chinese Crested half Pug) sat in front of a purple Rhododendron.

Just to prove “Ozzie woz ‘ere”!

Mown grass, but where the wold flowers were have been left.

The council parks department know how to mow grass to protect the wild flowers. Unlike certain councils we could mention…

And here we must end our virtual tour of West Park, Wolverhampton. We have a choice of routes back to our boat – in the event, we returned the way we came. Otherwise, we could head into the City and take in some of the sights there. Or, we could go the long way round and continue along the ring road. But it was too hot. Ozzie has a tendency to overheat in this weather.

Oh, and yes. We realize this was a Covid-19 walk for two – and a dog. Artistic licence!

But we hope you’ve enjoyed the interruption to normal service. Bertie will be back as usual next week, no doubt extolling the virtues of leafy Surrey suburbia. Our plan is to continue our journey where we left off and carry on heading north up into either Staffordshire or Shropshire. Depends how we feel when we get to the junction!

PS

We have Moondaisies here too!

Moondaisies

Moondaisies along the canal towpath in Wolverhampton.

Lighting a Candle for Diddley

As usual, we light a candle for Diddley. But this week we also light it for my Mother-in-Law, who’s birthday was 30 May – the day this blog was actually written.

Lighting a candle to Diddley and Chris Gander, in front of Arnold, a rather large plastic duck!

On the front of our boat.

Arnold, a rather large yellow plastic duck is on the front of our boat as a mascot. Long story…

Guest WriterPSTrees and NatureWildlife     ,


  1. Avatar Jim Allen says:

    Nice work, Tim. We miss England, having left Sheepscombe nr. Stroud, in 1979.

    • Avatar Chris Norman says:

      Lovely spot Sheepcombe good pub the ‘Butcher’s Arms’ hope it survives this awful time. I live in Nailsworth the other side of Stroud. Returned to the area in 1979 having grown up here. I always considered Wolverhampton as a sort of nowhere place but enjoyed Tim’s blog and pictures.

  2. Avatar Phil Barnett says:

    Who’d have thought Wolverhampton would have such a beautiful park. I must visit sometime. Thank you Tim.

  3. Avatar Sheila Searle says:

    Hi Tim and Bob, It was a special treat to read this blog edition. On the pic titled “View of the ring road…” you will see that the building on the right, just in the photo, is Wolverhampton University. I spent 4 happy years as a student there (when it was a Poly), from 1973 to 1977, most classes being right in that building, language labs at the top. We alumni of the BAML course have regular reunions and will be holding our 50th one in Wolverhampton in 2023, circumstances permitting.
    In my first year I was in a student residence, Brinsford Lodge (converted army barracks!) near a village called Featherstone, quite a way outside Wolverhampton. We used to walk to a pub called the Anchor, which was longside a canal and there were often visiting longboats moored up there. I hope you made it there Tim, it’s a lovely spot.
    As for West Park, we went boating on the lake in 1974, when I got a visit from my family (in Lancs) for the day. We had a great time!
    Thanks for the memories Tim :), much appreciated.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      Thanks Sheila –

      Been past the Anchor several times, but never in it. Funnily enough, we were heading there before we got locked down in Wolverhampton, as we gather it’s a good place to trade!

      Glad you enjoyed the blog. Take a look at my One Photograph a Day – strangely there are a lot of Wolverhampton photos on there now…

      Tim

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