This past weekend, at the Birmingham Flickrmeet, we stumbled across one of Birmingham's diminutive rivers, the Rea. This flows nearest to the heart of the city and was a reason why the city became what it is today, first during the Middle Ages, later during the Industrial Revolution. Most of the time, Birmingham's rivers, such as the Rea, the Cole and, to a lesser extent the Tame, have been subdued into culverts, sometimes even buried beneath large factory developments.
But, a tour on Google Maps can demonstrate, both the the Rea and the Cole can be traced across the southern and eastern areas of the city. And in many cases, the banks of the streams offer grassy parkland areas with trees and cycle tracks. Here are three points on an interesting urban safari. First, the (1) River Rea near Cannon Hill Park. Next the confluence between the (2) Tame (of which the Rea is a tributary) and the Blythe (of which the Cole is a tributary. And finally the (3) Cole at Sarehole Mill. If you should have nothing better to do, start panning across Google Maps and see if you can get from (1) to (3)!