“They do say the trees can actually move, and can surround strangers and hem them in,” a hobbit once said. Enclosed by twitching moss and ancient blackened mounds as you duck through the moist undergrowth, it’s easy to see how Tolkien drew inspiration from this place. Lamenting Birmingham’s relentless expansion, he found here an oasis that civilisation passed by, and relaxing quietly beneath a leafy bower, a gnarled trunk clasping twigs with its neighbour, you’re liable to forget that city life is but a few hundred metres away. Tucked off the road, this local nature reserve is a little tricky to find, but worth the effort if you can spare an hour after work.
This snippet was published as part of The Guardian’s Urban Oases supplement, July 2005