Right, since it’s the first big weekend of the summer, there’s a whole load of stuff going on – and tomorrow sees one of the occasional openings of something remarkable I visited last Bank Holiday Monday, and it’s well worth a visit.
Balleny Green is a narrow gauge, passenger-carrying miniature model railway located at Little Hay, just east of Shenstone and north of Sutton Coldfield, just down the lane from the Holly Bush pub.
It runs it it’s own grounds which are beautiful, and is skilfully and safely operated by dedicated and clever engineers. It’s genuinely breathtaking, and what’s more, absolutely free (although you’d a total tightarse not to make a donation for such a wonderful thing – collecting box right by the clubhouse!)
Balleny Green is something I heartily recommend – it won’t take all day, but it’ll easily burn a couple of hours and leave you feeling thoroughly charmed. It’s open from 10am until 3pm, and would make a great thing to call into on the way to or from New Hall Mill, also open tomorrow.
May 1st – Today, I did something I’d been meaning to do for years – I paid a visit to Balleny Green, a little-known narrow gauge railway layout run by Sutton Coldfield Model Engineering Society at Little Hay, between Lichfield and Sutton Coldfield.
I’ve known this place was here for years, but never caught it open. This time, I made a concerted effort to find out when it was a ‘steam up day’ and popped in.
This was just so English. No entry fee. No charges to ride. Just a bunch of people sharing their love of a fascinating, beautifully engineered hobby in the middle of rolling countryside in gorgeous grounds.
There is a long layout consisting of several tracks – including a miniature one – but on the larger one, which interestingly is dual gauge – passengers sit in or on carriages and are conveyed by small locomotives – today one steam, one electric – through tunnels, over junctions, level crossings, past ponds, signals, signal boxes. It’s gorgeous.
The whole thing is clearly a labour of love.
There were no other attractions, and none were needed: tea and biscuits, and a tin for donations to cover running costs.
All right here on the doorstep, and few know about it. A wonderful thing.
Find out more about Balleny Green at their website here. I’d like to thank the members for a beautiful, life-affirming thing.