THREE thousand years old and shrouded in mystery, no-one’s quite sure of the origins of the Green Man.
But a new walk, wending its way from Castle Bromwich to St Alphege Church, will celebrate this staple of ancient folklore.
The Solihull Green Man Trail, covering some 20 miles, has been a joint project between the borough council, schoolchildren and a local expert on the subject.
Dr Colin Harris, from Shirley, said he has been fascinated with the figure since he was a schoolboy.
“There were green men at my school [Moseley Grammar] and I used to ask my teachers what they were,” he told us.
“They said ‘go and find out’ and 60 years on I’m still fascinated. He’s a figure that appears all over the world, in all cultures.”
Locally, green men survive at the parish churches of Hampton-in-Arden, Henley-in-Arden and Temple Balsall.
There also used to be a Green Man pub at the corner of Blackford Road and Stratford Road from 1842-1861 - but this was eventually demolished.
“I always say that folklore is an endangered species,” added Colin, “unless we pass it on to the younger generation it will disappear.”
Schoolchildren were drafted in to design their own green men and these have been hidden along the trail.
The route takes in landmarks including the 15th century Packhorse Bridge, near Hampton, the Knowle canals and the ancient Alcott Wood.
And with the project generating enquiries from around the country, it’s expected the idea will be rolled out elsewhere.
You can get a map of the trail from Solihull libraries or download a copy at www.solihull.gov.uk