Things to do in Castle Bromwich, West Midlands
Castle Bromwich retains a village atmosphere despite growing in size over recent decades and forming part of the Solihull Metropolitan Borough. Centred round a village green given to the residents by Viscount Newport in 1895, it has many interesting architectural features retaining many of the old buildings and ecological gems.
Close to the village green is the war memorial, unveiled in the 1920s by Lady Ida, Dowager Countess of Bradford. Added to after WW2 it commemorates the lives of local residents lost during both world wars. The graves of some of these can be found in the graveyard by St Mary and St Margaret's Church, which like most graveyards warrants a few minutes of quiet contemplation and viewing for the stories which it reveals.
Until 1878 St Mary and St Margaret's church was not a parish church, but the private chapel of the manorial lords. The current church was rebuilt between 1726 and 1731 and the inscription noting this can still be seen inscribed over the internal church doors. Unusually, the old church was not demolished and the current church has been built around the old timber framed building with local Castle Bromwich clay. The church, unusually for the area, was not remodelled during the 19th century and so is a rare example of Georgian architecture.
Close to the church is Bradford Hall and Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens. The hall is not open to the public, but is still worthy of a look from the outside. The original hall gardens, now held in trust are open for viewing. The garden, one of the few to escape landscaping by Capability Brown, is a unique example of an English baroque garden, it is currently being restored as near as possible as it was during the period 1680-1740.
No trip to Castle Bromwich would be complete without a walk through the village. Old buildings merge seamlessly with newer construction and a wealth of trees both in a conservation area and outside it, ensure that it continues to retain its old world charm. Many of the old buildings have been sympathetically renovated and converted into modern residences. The local history society has produced a walk leaflet which guides visitors around the village.
Castle Bromwich is also a gateway to the Kingfisher Project, a 11km stretch of the River Cole that has been designated under the Man and Biosphere programme. The valley contains many different types of landscapes and wild habitats. Formal areas of public space are combined with natural habitat and the area has become a haven for many birds. Kingfishers and Herons are common, Teals, Wigeons and Sky Larks have also been recorded.
Castle Bromwich may not be your first thought for a tourist destination, but it should definitely be on your list for a Sunday afternoon drive out.
Description by Terrie Knibb