The Birmingham Urban Walk Out

Published : Wed 14th Nov Author : National Trust

Over 40 people walked eleven miles from an urban park to the spectacular Clent Hills.
The final leg of the Urban Walk Out / Fiona Bridges
The National Trust in the Midlands and local partner organisations marked the importance of all outdoor places, particularly those in urban centres, by holding a mass walk out of the UK's second city for the final day of the Great British Walk. The eleven-mile walk took more than 40 participants from Millennium Green in Kings Norton – part of the sprawling urban heart of Birmingham – through the industrial landscape of the city's past and out to the open countryside of the Clent Hills.

The start and end points for the walk are linked by the Green Academies Project (GAP) – a National Trust led scheme that gives young people from south Birmingham the opportunity to enjoy local green spaces and gain practical qualifications in nature conservation. In partnership with volunteers from the area, the GAP students have extended a community orchard at Millennium Green and built a play area, designed by local school children and constructed using natural materials collected from the Clent Hills.

"The Urban Walk Out reinforced how important places are to people," said Beccy Speight, Regional Director in the Midlands. "We must not forget outdoor spaces, like Millennium Green, that serve as much-needed "green lungs" to people living in urban areas.

"This is why I am so proud of the GAP project and the work it is doing in giving young people the skills and knowledge to safeguard the spaces that are special to them. It was a testament to this importance of outdoor space that over forty people, some of whom had never walked more than a couple of miles before, chose to get out of bed on a cold wet morning and walk more than ten miles from Kings Norton to the Clent Hills.
"I'm so pleased to have joined the walk and to have met some of these inspirational people. I'm sure Octavia Hill would have approved. She believed that open spaces and fresh air were a basic human need and led mass walks from inner city London to the countryside."

The walkers included representatives from several local groups, including Catch 22, the Birmingham Youth Service, the Millennium Green Volunteer Trust and Bournville College, which have all worked together in South Birmingham to improve its green spaces for everyone.

"The walk on Sunday was really enjoyable," said Dean Taylor-Bryant, Kings Norton Children's Centre. "The work that The National Trust and its partners are doing in the three estates is really important; it's helping young people in the area appreciate the green spaces around them and learn how to look after them."

The funding for the GAP project comes from Access to Nature, a scheme run by Natural England and funded by the Big Lottery Fund.