The Warley Hall estate passed from the Galton family into the hands of various different owners. By 1905 local residents were very concerned that the then owner might sell the land for housing, which was expanding rapidly in Bearwood at that time. Alexander Macombe Chance, owner of Chance’s glassworks, who had earlier set up a committee to save Lightwoods Park, negotiated a deal to buy Warley Woods. Local residents concerned about the loss of green space, raised money by public subscription and the balance was provided by Birmingham City Council.

So, although it was never located in Birmingham Warley Woods was opened as a Birmingham public park in 1906. It quickly became a very popular place to visit and many thousands attended the opening ceremony by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham. At the opening ceremony Chance said: ‘I want it to be known as the People’s Park, for never was there a park in the Midlands before that was paid for directly by the money of the people’.

On summer bank holidays and at weekends, busloads of visitors travelled out from Birmingham to listen to the brass bands and picnic in the park. In July 1909 a Boy Scouts rally was held there, attended by General Baden Powell, with many thousands taking part or watching.

In 1914 the Abbey was used as a home for Belgian refugees. A number of features were added or donated to the park including an aviary, on the site of the car park by Abbey road, various drinking fountains, tennis courts and a bowling green. The Abbey was used as a popular tearoom for park users, and noted for its delicious cakes, which people would consume after a stroll around the rose garden. The Abbey also housed the golf professional who ran the public pay and play golf course established in 1921 on what had been the course of the private Edgbaston Golf Club.

The park superintendent from 1906-1935 was George Bretherick. He laid out a whole series of fashionable flowerbeds around the Abbey, with exotic plantings following an exhibition of ‘French Gardening’. He used the old walled kitchen garden for Warley Abbey as a plant nursery for the parks department and grew a number of exotic specimens in the glasshouses. This area was used for more than 60 years until the glasshouses were bulldozed in 1996

During the heyday of the Birmingham parks department the nursery employed 20 gardeners and apprentices growing a variety of plants and vegetables. William Powell was one of a group of invalided ex servicemen, who worked in the nursery and park after the First World War.

Just after the war it was used as a demonstration garden to show people how to grow different types of healthy and exotic vegetables including peppers and aubergines, and bags of tomatoes were sold at the back gate. The Nursery supplied cut flowers for the council house in Birmingham and put on a magnificent display of vegetables at the Handsworth Show each year. There was an orchard, a mushroom house and a fine series of steaming compost and leaf litter heaps, known as the brown hills.