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Black Country Geopark

Geosite 014

This geosite is a large country park in the broad valley of the River Tame just 10 minutes walk from West Bromwich town centre. It's 270 hectares including many heritage features including; RSPB Sandwell Valley LNR based around part of Forge Mill Lake within Sandwell Valley and provides visitor information and display's geopark leaflets. A project is underway to produce displays about the geology of the valley, the Sandwell Valley Collieries and mining disaster and the evolution of birds.

Sandwell Park Farm is a fully restored working Victorian farm. There are local history galleries with displays, grazing meadows, a traditional farmyard, walled kitchen gardens, Grade II listed buildings, a small museum and award winning tea rooms and rooms for hire including a gift shop.

Forge Mill Farm a recreated working farm offers visitors the chance to see a variety of rare breed farm animals. The farm shop sells fresh meat, vegetables, plants, gifts and serves drinks and light snacks. There is a children's play area, a farm trail, good access to Forge Mill Lake and ample car parking.

Forge Mill Lake Local Nature Reserve is centered around a large lake beside the River Tame it has a host of pathways, a cycleway and a bridleway lead from the lake to other areas of grassland and woodland. Hedgerows and areas of scrub also link these habitats to provide a rich and varied place for wildlife.

Priory Woods Local Nature Reserve comprises over 21 hectares of mature woodland, pools and grassland and contains the ruins of Sandwell Priory. This was a small medieval Benedictine monastery houses founded in the 12th century had a fairly turbulent history and was dissolbed in 1525, more than a decade before the main Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII.

Sot's Hole LNR is a shallow sided valley of a small brooks containing a former mill pool amongst a range of other habitats including dry and wet ancient semi-natural woodland and marshy grassland. Sot's Hole is one of the most important woodlands in the Sandwell Valley.

Hampstead Mining Disaster Monument is a substantial piece of mining inspired public art commemorating both the importance of the valley in extending the life of the Black Country Coalfield as the first pioneering deep coal mine on the eastern fringe of the exposed coalfield that was sunk in 1876. The South Staffordshire Thick Coal was finally accessed in April 1880 at a depth of around 600m. The mine finally closed on 26th March 1965 bringing the end of a mining industry in this part of the Black Country and subsequently all traces of the mine were removed when the area was redeveloped for housing. 

This site is an immensely important reminder within this urban landscape of the industry that founded the communities here and many of whom lost of their lives in the mining tragedy of March 1908. The Hampstead Miners Memorial Trust have created a display of Hamstead Colliery memorabilia in the Tanhouse Centre, where they are raising funds to maintain the memorial and keep alive the memory of the Hampstead Miners who lost their lives in the mine disaster that occurred here.

Geosite facilities

Sandwell Park Farm has an award winning tea room and toilet facilities. It has a range of small animals and a programme of events throughout the year. There is a small charge for car parking. For more information call +44 (0) 121 569 3070 Sandwell Valley Country Park

Sandwell Valley RSPB reserve has a visitor centre with toilet facilities and free car parking. Inside the visitor centre there is hot and cold drinks available with snacks and confectionary. There is a programme of events and exhibitions throughout the year. For more information call +44 (0) 121 357 7395 Sandwell Valley RSPB reserve.

 

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Geosite 022 Wednesbury Museum is Sandwell's Museum and Art Gallery. It is a purpose built Victorian Art Gallery, housing collections which include fine art paintings, applied art, old toys as well as one of the world's largest collections of Ruskin pottery. There is a pay and display car park adjacent to the Museum. Free admission. There are no café facilities on site. The nearest café is Morrison's supermarket nearby. For more information call + (44) (0) 121 556 0683 - Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery

Geosite 013 Galton Valley has a visitor centre in the old Victorian canal pumping engine house which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument - Galton Valley Pumping Station.