As the name suggest Burbury Brickworks is on a 13 acre site of a former brickmaking factory that existed until the early 1960's. The Burbury Brickworks acquired land which was formerly part of Greet Farm. Excavated clay on site was used to make bricks and many houses in Sparkhill and Sparkbrook were constructed from them. Burbury was the last brickworks in the area to be closed down in the late 1950’s and the site was later in filled with industrial waste and capped with clay. Purchased by Birmingham City Council in the 1980’s it was made part of the Millstream Project, the walkway running alongside the River Cole (renamed The Shire Country Park in 2005). Red bricks were made by the thousands for the victorian terraced homes being built around Sparkhill, Sparkbrook and Small Heath. When the brickworks closed the land became derelict, returning to its natural state within which there are now areas of marshland and young oak trees. The River Cole runs around one edge of this little known oasis in the heart of the City.
This site has S.I.N.C status (Site of Importance for Nature Conservation) due to its rich mosaic of habitats which are a result of natural succession, the site being left unchecked for many years. It is consequently home to a wide variety of species which are dependant on the mix of habitats. Woodpeckers can be heard in the woodland and sparrow hawk, kestrel and even buzzard have been spotted using the site as a hunting ground for small birds and mammals. ‘Snipe’; a well camouflaged wading bird with a long beak for seeking out small creatures in the damper areas, migrate here from northern Europe to overwinter in the wetland. Newts and Frogs breed among the bullrushes in the wetland. The Grassland contains a wide variety of plants including common spotted toadflax, tansy, yellow rattle, birds foot trefoil and teasel; fantastic plants for bees and butterflies.
Some areas of the land are covered in deep marsh and only suitable to work in for those wearing wellington boots and water proof trousers.