Cabin fever really kicked in yesterday, so, inspired by the goal of finding the nearest Owl, we headed off for a walk to Aston Park.
Owl? Yes, you did hear me right. There is currently an amazing art project running across Birmingham called The Big Hoot in support of Birmingham Children’s Hospital. There are 89 large fibreglass owls, painted to represent the area they are being displayed, or local information or even a punny name, and they cover a huge area.
The Big Hoot is a mass participation public art event comprising of 89 individually designed large fibreglass owl sculptures forming a trail across Birmingham for 10 weeks from 20 July until the end of September.
Corporate sponsors, Birmingham stakeholders, artists and community groups have come together to support The Big Hoot, transforming the streets, parks and public spaces into a fun, free art gallery.
The Big Hoot is produced by Wild in Art in partnership with Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
After the event, the owls will be auctioned to support Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
With an accompanying education programme called The Little Hoot, 114 schools have designed and created 122 sculptures, which are displayed in Parliaments in 18 sites across Birmingham.
Our nearest Owl is sitting outside the glorious Aston Hall – a 17th century Jacobean house, a whole mile from my house in Aston Park. So, we went for a walk for the first time in ages – X was really good in his pushchair, I expected him to be really restless as he likes to walk everywhere now.
The hall is amazing – I’ve never actually seen it in person before, but it is a real place of beauty. It is up rather a steep hill though, which was unexpected… and harder to push a pushchair up than I was prepared for!! At least I’m fitter than I used to be, I guess…
We’ll definitely have to pay a proper visit soon – I imagine it would make a brilliant family day out.
The owl is placed right out the front of the hall, at the top of the hill, and pretty easy to find – you really can’t miss it. There were, sadly, loads of cars parked up so I couldn’t quite get the photo I really wanted – I did however, get these beauties of X!
After our trip up the hill, we had a walk down to the church of Saints Peter and Paul – I’ve been researching our family history for two years now, and it turns out a lot of mine, and Hubby’s, relatives were baptised, married and buried here.
Sadly, we didn’t find any of our relatives, but I hope we’ll get chance to get down there again really soon, with a list of those we know are buried there so we can have a proper search! There are so many different gravestones, and many are illegible and crumbled – the oldest I saw was from 1689, however much of the church was rebuilt in the 19th century (although apparently there is a small amount of brickwork remaining from the 14th century!).
The whole walk home, I found myself thinking of all those relatives from even hundreds of years ago who lived in this same area – although it would have looked so different. Look right from the front of the church and all you see now is industrial storage and the Aston Expressway. Look left, and it’s the Aston Villa football ground. I’m hoping to spend a bit more time looking into the history of the local area, and find some stories of our ancestors for X to read about when he’s older.
This weekend, I’m hoping to take us out into Erdington to find all of the Big Hoot Owls there – so lots more photos to come!