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Moseley Park & Pool - a green open space trail

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Follow the path down into the Park past the tennis courts.

The tennis courts are the premises of the Chantry Tennis Club, an active tennis club which welcomes players of any ability. The triple tennis courts were laid out when the Park and Pool Company took on the Park but the other courts were formerly a bowling green.  Take in the view on the lawn overlooking the lake.

Start to walk around the Pool in a clockwise direction and stop on the corner at a path leading up through bushes.

This is the path to the Salisbury Road gate which roughly follows the line of the original drive leading up to the house.

When Salisbury Road was cut in 1896, the drive continued in use for a while crossing over Salisbury Road but after the entrance gateway in Alcester Road was demolished to make way for Victoria Parade (in 1901) the original drive was abandoned and access to the hall provided via a new drive near to the Dovecote further down Alcester Road.

 If you walk up the path for a short distance you will see it crosses a small stream from a nearby spring, shown as Moseley Brook on old maps. The Pool was created by damming that stream. The area of woodland around here dates from the original Park.

Continue your walk following the path around the shore of the Pool in a clockwise direction.

The walk leads around the southern shore of the Pool passing the backs of several large houses in Salisbury Road and offering good views across the Pool to the backs of large houses in Chantry Road that overlook the Pool.

Beware - the path is uneven in places and there are some tree roots.

Stop at the north western end of the Pool on a small lawn.

You have now reached the northwest corner of the Pool and are standing on the dam which supports the lake, constructed about 1840. There is a rich variety of wildlife on and around the Pool including great crested grebe, parakeets and pipistrelle bats.

From this point you have a more distant view of the large houses in Salisbury Road (on the southern shore) and a closer view of those in Chantry Road (high above the northern shore with terraces) possessing in many cases an excellent outlook across the water. The original boundary fencing remains in parts and here the Park and the gardens of the houses appear to merge giving uninterrupted views in both directions.

Continue along the northern shore and stop on the large lawn.

From here you can see the island, which is the remains of an earlier dam that existed before the enlargement of the lake. 

Follow the poolside path down steps through a low-lying wooded area.

This area is known as Dingley Dell and was the quarry that provided the material used to construct the first dam.

Nearby you will pass the boathouse and a fishermen’s hut. The Park has an active Angling Club and holds summer and winter contests. Fish caught include carp, bream, roach, perch and tench.

Be careful of the steps and uneven paths.

Continue to follow the path until you reach the lawn area where you started.

Look for the Icehouse which is approached by a hollow path.

The Icehouse is at the end of the hollow path beneath the mound. (The Icehouse is normally closed but is open to the public on open days and festivals).

Before the invention of the refrigerator, most people were limited to seasonal foods or to those preserved by drying, salting or pickling. However, from the 17th. century, the rich and privileged increasingly built icehouses in the grounds of their large houses in the country, and occasionally actually within town houses, to preserve food and provide ice for the table and especially to cool wine.

Over the years many icehouses have collapsed or been demolished but many have been conserved and opened to the public.

The Icehouse here was used to provide cold storage and ice for the residents of Moseley Hall in the days before invention of the refrigerator. Ice was collected from the surface of the Pool in the winter and tipped into the Icehouse where it would remain throughout the summer for use as required.

The surface of the ice was covered by sacking, straw or other insulating materials to help keep it cold and frozen. At the base of the chamber there was a drain to allow the melt water to run off so keeping the ice dry and frozen, being colder than the melt water.

It is estimated that up to 20 tons of ice could be accommodated and the space above would provide the cold storage where food could be stacked on the surface of the ice or hung from hooks in the roof.

The Icehouse here was built probably in the late 18th century, around the same time as the Moseley Dovecote and Cow-house. The original plan for this, in mirror image and with a pitched roof, is kept in the Taylor Archives in Birmingham Central Library. When the estate was broken up the ice chamber was abandoned, filled with soil and used for storage. In 1999 however after funds had been raised through public appeal, it was restored under the auspices of The Moseley Society. After the entrance passageway had been made safe the ice chamber was cleared of the earth infill. A portion of a shoe was found in the excavation, dated to around 1900, suggesting the date when the chamber was filled in. After clearance the ice chamber was found to be in excellent condition requiring no attention apart from cleaning of the walls. The exit drain has been probed to a distance of 35 feet horizontally and appears substantially clear. Some of the trees around the ice house mound are original and would have provided shade to improve the cooling qualities of the Icehouse. The Icehouse is now popular with visitors, musicians and film makers alike!

This concludes our tour of the Park.

Return to the Alcester Road gate using your original entrance path

Source: Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0 Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right