Our friends from The Tolkien Society send this along.

Fun at Park!
14th-15th May 2005

This year’s Tolkien Weekend at Sarehole Mill is not only going to be even bigger than last year but it’s also the first event in the recently founded Shire Country Park.

Fun at Park is the sixth Tolkien Weekend event, and is now an annual item in the Birmingham calendar. Sarehole Mill itself was the “original” for the Mill at Bywater in the Shire in The Lord of the Rings and is a central point in the Shire Country Park (see below for details) that covers the River Cole, Chinn Brook, as well as Moseley Bog, the Dell and the Dingles where JRR Tolkien played as a child.

Fun At Park will include:

Displays from The Tolkien Society and Birmingham Libraries about Tolkien’s life and works within the mill itself.

A miller demonstrating his craft with the mill running, and Sarehole Mill will be open for extra hours.

Dramatised scenes from The Lord of the Rings by Shire Productions on walks within Moseley Bog.

A “Tolkien Tent” featuring, Elvish lessons, displays from Isengard (the local Tolkien group), calligraphy, storytelling, Games Workshop will be running demonstration games, henna art and Waterstones bokshop.

A “Poetry Pavilion” featuring local poets, readings from The Lord of the Rings, and folk-songs.

Guided walks taking in Tolkien’s childhood haunts, the local ecology, and history of the Cole Valley.

Discover the Birmingham’s Two Towers, Perrott’s Folly and the Water Board Chimney and visit them on a vintage bus.

On the green and around the mill there will also be:

A Farmers’ Market,

Birmingham City History Bus, Rangers Caravan, Moseley Bog Group & Hall Green Historical Society displays

Environmental displays and information from the local groups that made up the Tolkien Partnership.

Woodland craft demonstrations

Morris dancing on Sunday from the Moseley Morris Dancers

Pony rides, Face-painting, miniature railway, wand workshops and archery practice for kids young and old with the Bowmen of Swanshurst

Refreshments, naturally enough for hungry hobbits.

Wythall Amateur Radio will be providing a special event station chatting to people across the world.

Displays and goods from: RSPB; British Woodcarvers Association; bead, clay or crystal jewellery; Birmingham Bee-keepers; Canal Art; City Craft; Dough Crafts; garden ornaments; Guild of Spinners and Weavers; Guild of Model Wheelwrights; Halfpenny Green Vineyards; Historic Herbs; knitted crafts; natural soaps; The Old Tool Store; South Birmingham Photographic Society; Spinners, Weavers & Dyers Guild; straw craft; watercolour paintings; wildlife information; WWF; wooden goods and toys; Worry Bears and Hobbits.

Shire Country Park

Founded 5th January 2005

In 1998 The Tolkien Society, the Moseley LNR Conservation Group, the River Cole and Chinn Book Conservation Group and The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, began working towards the creation of a Country Park in Birmingham.

For the last six years these groups have worked with Birmingham City Council to organise and host the annual “Tolkien Weekends” each May at Sarehole Mill. The mill was chosen as it had been a childhood haunt of author JRR Tolkien and in later years became a prototype for the mill at Bywater that features in The Lord of the Rings. It is also thought that Moseley Bog influenced Tolkien’s description of the Old Forest that borders The Shire, and other areas of Middle-earth

Now in the year that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the complete publication of The Lord of the Rings the groups’ first aim has been achieved with the founding and public launch of the park two days after Tolkien’s birthday. At the same time The Birmingham Tolkien Group, made up of representatives of the main groups involved in setting up and overseeing the park project, was formally incorporated.

Cllr Michael Wilkes (Birmingham, Hall Green) said:

“Representatives of local organisations, the Tolkien Society and the City Council working together as The Birmingham Tolkien Group have succeeded in their initial aim of establishing ‘The Shire Country Park’ in recognition of J.R.R. Tolkien and the cultural inheritance of a truly ‘precious’ area. The Park includes Sarehole Mill and links the relevant pieces of land together, making it easier to conserve for future generations of local people and visitors alike.”

Richard Crawshaw, a trustee of the Tolkien Society, said:

“Founding the park is the first step towards creating a centre dedicated to the author. The local community and key groups in the Hall Green area have lobbied long and hard for formal recognition for Tolkien and his association with the district.”

What is the Shire Country Park?

The Shire Country Park incorporates Sarehole Mill and the Millstream Project, which covers the four-mile long green walk along the River Cole and the Chinn Brook and includes The Dingles, other areas that are not directly joined to the walk are Moseley Bog Local Nature Reserve, The Dell, Priory Fields, Scribers Lane, Trittiford Mill Pool, Chinn Brook and Sarehole Mill recreation grounds, Burbury Brickworks and The John Morris Jones Walk Way. Other areas may be added in the future.

Photos can be provided showing Councillor Michael Wilkes (Birmingham Hall Green), Richard Crawshaw (Trustee of the Tolkien Society), Councillor John Alden (Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture), Pete Bennett (River Cole Group) and Penny Marriott (Park Ranger) at the launch of the Park in Moseley Bog.