A hard piece to write, and hard to find one photo to sum up Solihull. But it’s LifeAfterFootball‘s home town, so there’s a random Leyton Orient sticker on a lamp post.
East Birmingham, which I rather unfairly lump SoliVegas in with, is an odd place to understand, full of suburbs and uncertainties about boundaries. On the way in I passed planes, vans and a sign saying “No Cruising”, even though Brum is miles from the sea.
I did Solihull the Grand Way. A four hour walk from Sheldon to the shops via Land Rover and back via Olton. Proper tourist route that one.
I started at the Pup & Duckling, my last GBG tick for West Midlands to confirm it actually existed and had plans to open later that afternoon. It exists, but the opening times were a bit invisible. I’d just have to rely on WhatPub, like you always can.
The little shopping enclave on Hatchford Brook also includes Cocoa Fusion Chocolate Fountain Hire, whose services I didn’t need on this occasion, so I set off for the park.
Judging by the number of builders vans and roadworks I saw, there should be plenty of tradesmen tipping up in Solihull’s pubs after 4pm, anyway.
Elmdon Park was packed with people keeping fit (joking, it was just dogwalkers).
There’s a good cemetery at the top, but the highlight was a spookily deserted “Walled Garden“, presumably damaged by Solihull youths in the early ’80s and left to rot since.
I hadn’t seen another human being for 20 minutes when I emerged from the woods, unexpectedly at the side of the Land Rover factory, which would make a good micro pub. Across the lane is Solihull Moor FC’s stand.
It wasn’t till I saw the Orient sticker a few yards up the road that I realised; the Moors actually play in the same division as Tranmere and Wrexham (and Maidenhead, but I’ll gloss over that). They could be playing Hull Tigers soon !
Your options for a pre-match pint are a bit limited, as WhatPub reveals.
The only pub anywhere near is what used to the (Damson) Acres, but now shares it’s attractive interiors with a (First Class) barber and is renamed The Damson. Keep up.
I popped in in the interests to confirm the availability of D*** **r and C****ng on the bar, along with two toddlers (on the bar) and Old Boy (seated). A decade ago this place was heaving. The slow death of the estate pub continues.
The major source of pre-match beer is clearly Michael’s Place, a micro pub without an on-licence., but with those all-important craft cans we all love now.
I stepped up the pace, suddenly realising I was hungry. Just shy of the ring road the Greville Arms promised Pedigree with my burger.
But inside all was Doom. And keg Brew XI, which may be even worse.
I pressed on, into the Heart of
Darkness Solihull Shopping Centre.
To Be Continued…