Tolkien beauty spot left strewn with rubbish after travellers quit Shire Country park site by Sarehole Mill

Local residents have said ‘Enough’s enough’ after claiming a group of travellers left the Tolkien-inspired Shire Country Park beauty spot next to Sarehole Mill in a ‘disgusting state’.

The group drove away at lunchtime on Saturday, July 21.

But local walkers trying to enjoy the park once they had left discovered a landscape strewn with rubbish.

Nappies, tyres, shoes and shopping baskets had been lobbed into the River Cole and a tributary stream from the nearby Moseley Bog which also helped to inspire JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

Gas canisters and 25-litre chemical vessels were on a footpath and a giant Pepsi fridge next to Sarehole Mill’s hedge.

Rubbish dumped into a tributary to the River Cole next to Sarehole Mill

Rubbish dumped into a tributary to the River Cole next to Sarehole Mill (Image: Birmingham Mail)

The residents are now calling for a High Court injunction similar to the one on land next to Billesley Fire Station on Brook Lane where signs say anyone parking on the Swanshurst Park site with a view to sleeping there will face potential imprisonment.

The land next to Sarehole Mill was occupied for more than a week – during which time the historic Birmingham Museums attraction was trying to stay open while operating behind doors that were being kept locked.

A giant Pepsi fridge next to Sarehole Mill

A giant Pepsi fridge next to Sarehole Mill (Image: Birmingham Mail)

The travellers left via a previously forced, gated entrance on the Wake Green Road just yards from Tolkien’s childhood home.

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Tolkien in Birmingham

After the travellers left on Saturday 21, a new encampment was then set up barely a mile away on the idyllic Chinn Brook Recreation Ground next to Trittiford Road in Billesley.

This new site is further upstream in the River Cole valley, an area that has been marketed as the Shire Country Park to attract tourists to what is one of the greenest corridors in the city.

A 1905 postcard showing the view of Sarehole Mill from the Wake Green Road - which is how JRR Tolkien would have seen it from his front door.

A 1905 postcard showing the view of Sarehole Mill from the Wake Green Road – which is how JRR Tolkien would have seen it from his front door.

What the locals say

Because of the fear or reprisals none of the local residents spoken to by BirminghamLive wanted to be named.

One dog-walker said: “The presence of the travellers here for so long has stopped local residents from enjoying the area at a time when the weather has been so nice.

“You wouldn’t mind so much if they put everything neatly in to black bin bags and left them all in one corner so that they could be easily removed.

Rubbish dumped in the River Cole on the Sparkhill side of the Green Road ford

Rubbish dumped in the River Cole on the Sparkhill side of the Green Road ford (Image: Birmingham Mail)

“But they’ve left the area in a disgusting state. Enough’s enough.”

Another local resident said: “There is an easy solution to this. The council could simply bring over some of the large concrete barriers.

“There are plenty of spare ones and they could be placed discreetly inside the entrance so that the mowers could zig-zag round them but not people with big vans and caravans.

Tyres and other rubbish thrown into the River Cole

Tyres and other rubbish thrown into the nearly-dry River Cole (Image: Birmingham Mail)

“The travellers were here in May and left a mess and they’ve done so again.”

A local lady visiting the land to assess the latest damage said: “Birmingham City Council is a big council. It has the means to tackle this problem.”

Packaging for a made in China Target pistol

Packaging for a made in China Target pistol (Image: Birmingham Mail)

Bucket of rubbish next to waste food and more bin bags, yards from the River Cole

Bucket of rubbish next to waste food and more bin bags, yards from the River Cole (Image: Birmingham Mail)

“But the cost of this is ridiculous – the local Co-op would have lost money last week as they kept closing early instead of staying open late and they had extra security when they were open.”

One local security presence said: “This is a matter for Birmingham City Council to sort out and then the police can act.

“Once the travellers are on the land there is nothing we can do until they are served with a notice by bailiffs.

Gas canister in Shire Country Park

Gas canister in Shire Country Park (Image: Birmingham Mail)

“I would advise all local residents in areas like this across the city to complain to their local councillor and MPs.

“Once travellers are through the locks and they leave this much mess behind, the cost of cleaning it all up is enormous.

Rubbish dumped into the River Cole, a mere trickle because of the heatwave

Rubbish dumped into the River Cole, a mere trickle because of the heatwave (Image: Birmingham Mail)

“But because they left on a Saturday, I doubt whether the city council will be able to start a clear up until Monday at least which could mean locals can’t enjoy the area for another week.

Green flies on faecal matter

Green flies on faecal matter (Image: Birmingham Mail)

“I would not advise people to touch anything themselves as things could be contaminated.

“There are flies everywhere because of the amount of human and pet waste and rotting food.”

Rubbish strewn across the Shire Country Park, with the Sarehole Mill chimney in the distance (centre)

Rubbish strewn across the Shire Country Park, with the Sarehole Mill chimney in the distance (centre) (Image: Birmingham Mail)

A list of things not left in bin bags at Shire Country Park

1. A broken, blue folding chair in the middle of the park with a view towards the Sarehole Mill chimney.

The adjacent large tree was surrounded by rubbish.

2. A cat basket close to packaging for BB pellet guns.

Plastic containers for chemicals

Plastic containers for chemicals (Image: Birmingham Mail)

3. A shop fridge with Pepsi down the side.

4. A 25kg plastic can of Systemcare PV water treatment chemicals containing sodium nitrite and sodium molybdate.

Includes the warning: “If swallowed, immediately call a POISON CENTRE.”

Rubbish in a plastic bag deliberately tied to a tree.

Rubbish in a plastic bag deliberately tied to a tree. (Image: Birmingham Mail)

5. Two 25 litre plastic cans of Isopropyl Alcohol. The label said: “Causes serious eye irritation, may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Wear protective gloves, clothing, eye protection, face protection.

“Call a POISON CENTRE if you feel unwell. Dispose of contents to a suitable container and arrange for collection by a specialised disposal company.”

6. Tyres, carboard boxes and plastic sheets in the River Cole.

Police presence in Shire Country Park after the travellers had left

Reassuring: Police presence in Shire Country Park after the travellers had left (Image: Birmingham Mail)

7. Shopping baskets, loose items and plastic bags full of rubbish in the tributary stream from Moseley Bog to the River Cole.

8. A squashed football, odd shoes and boots – some of which looked brand new.

9. Orange gas canisters.

Some rubbish was left in black bin bags with Sarehole Mill in sight

Some rubbish was left in black bin bags with Sarehole Mill in sight (Image: Birmingham Mail)

10. Glass and plastic bottles, cans, fast food packaging and, suspended in the trees, a plastic bag tied to a branch. Threre was also a washing line with pegs on it.

11. A Webb lawnmower.

12. A two-handled stainless steel pan with flies feasting on the food left inside.

13. A double bed mattress close to Wake Green Road.

A High Court Injunction against travellers on Brook Lane, Billesley

A High Court Injunction to prevent anyone from camping out on Brook Lane, Billesley (Image: Birmingham Mail)

What a sign says on Brook Lane, a mile from the Shire Country Park

WARNING High Court Injunction in Force.

The setting up of unauthorised encampments with the intention of sleeping on this land is prohibited.

Failure to comply may lead to imprisonment.

Swanshurst Park next to Brook Lane, Billesley

Swanshurst Park next to Brook Lane, Billesley (Image: Birmingham Mail)

This prohibits the use of caravans, motor-homes, tents or similar on the land shaded in red.

To report incidents call: West Midlands Police on 101 or Birmingham City Council on 0121 303 6007.

Logos: Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police.

The Tolkien connection

Cosplay warriors during the rain-hit first day of the 2016 Middle Earth Festival celebrating JRR Tolkien

Cosplay warriors during the rain-hit first day of the 2016 Middle Earth Festival celebrating JRR Tolkien (Image: Birmingham Mail)

The mill site dates back to 1540 and Sarehole Mill to 1765.

Its water wheel is powered not by the River Cole, which flows nearby, but an adjacent pond which is fed by a now built-over head race along the Wake Green Road and a stream from Moseley Bog.

Matthew Boulton’s father lived on the farm nearby and his son, one of the pioneers of the Industrial Revolution, used this site for metal rolling from 1756-61.

Tolkien's Gollum talking with precious others in the Shire Country Park, September 2016

Tolkien’s Gollum talking with precious others in the Shire Country Park, September 2016 (Image: Birmingham Mail)

Born in 1892, the future author JRR Tolkien was a young boy when he lived at 5 Gracewell on Wake Green Road from 1896 to 1900.

Playing out around Moseley Bog and Sareholl Mill helped to create his vision for Middle Earth.

Published in the mid 1950s, The Lord of the Rings was described by The Times as the ‘book of the century’.

After Peter Jackson’s film trilogy won 17 Oscars out of 30 Oscar nominations and the series grossed more than $3 billion worldwide, he made a trilogy from The Hobbit.