Working to protect and enhance the Lickey Hills and their environs
Straddling the Birmingham-Worcestershire border, everything about the Lickey Hills has that irregularity of wildness which appeals so powerfully to human beings …the altitude, the Scots pines, larch and spruce trees, and surface covering of heather, bilberry bushes and bracken. From a height of about a thousand feet, the Lickey Hills look down on a Worcestershire panorama; to the south and east there is pastoral farmland, and lakes: but look northwards and one sees the march of urbanisation like the antennae of an insect as year by year it steadily advances. But the Lickeys preserve an invulnerable front with their strong guard of tall firs rooted in quartzite rock and can never be captured…
So wrote the local media in the 1920s when the last piece of the Lickey Hills jigsaw was acquired which enabled folk to walk from Barnt Green station to Rubery through some of the finest scenery in the south Midlands. Happily, this description is still apt today and the Lickey Hills Society aims to keep it this way for posterity.
The aim of the Birmingham Association for the Preservation of Open Spaces and the Cadbury family, who purchased the land from 1888 to 1923 and gave it to Birmingham Corporation, was to provide an area of natural beauty for the recreation of the public. The Cadbury family also wanted to create a bulwark against the advancing tide of urbanisation.
Determined to continue the work of these benefactors, the Lickey Hills Society was formed in 1984 when the Hills were threatened by various housing and commercial developments including a proposal to build a dry ski slope in the Lickey Hills Country Park. After the Society’s successful campaign to stop the ski slope development, it began working with Birmingham City Council to preserve and to enhance the park through the formation of a consultative committee that has become a model for other Birmingham parks.
The City Council responded to our requests for the Visitor Centre which has become the focus of our work with the Lickey Hills rangers. The Society works with the rangers on practical improvements; the channelling of our funds and legacies to preserve and enhance the natural flora and fauna through the funding and planting trees; the improvement of facilities for visitors; and the funding of projects for children and adults alike through publications and talks.
The Lickey Hills Society does not confine itself to the Lickey Hills Country Park area but seeks also to protect the areas around the Hills, thus echoing the desire, expressed by the Cadburys and others, to halt the spread of urbanisation into the Green Belt.
If “that irregularity of wildness”, which motivated the original benefactors, appeals powerfully to you also and you would like to protect and conserve the Lickey Hills for future generations then we urge you to become a member of the Lickey Hills Society. It matters little where you live: you might live in the area and so feel you have a special responsibility, or live further afield and agree with the people who voted the Lickey Hills Country Park the best free amenity in the West Midlands. The Lickey Hills Society needs you because the greater our membership, the more powerful will be our voice in honouring and furthering the work of our foresighted benefactors.
© 2015 The Lickey Hills Society