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Shareshill to Brewood

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Shareshill to Brewood
Author: djhampton, Published: 22 Sep 2012 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Staffordshire,
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Shareshill to Brewood
Length: 8 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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This walk takes you between two Staffordshire villages and uses paths, bridleways and tow paths with less than 850 metres of its thirteen and half kilometres on roads, all of which are quiet country lanes.

Although the route is fairly flat, it is advisable to take a map and compass as many of the paths are little used and some cross very large fields indeed, with way markers only at their edges. The walk should take between 3 and 4 hours, but can be broken up into smaller chunks to suit all abilities. Most of the farmland is arable, but there horses and some cows in fields adjacent to the route.

A note of caution is that because the route is so little used, many paths are very overgrown and long trousers are a must!

I have graded this walk as a 3, simply because of the navigation requirements, but in terms of the difficulty of the terrain it is probably a maximum 2.

The walk starts at the church of St Mary and St Luke, Shareshill, post code WV10 7JW OS reference SJ945 066 and finishes at the church of St Mary and St Chad in Brewood, post code ST19 9BT OS reference SJ884 085. The walk straddles two maps so I would suggest OS Explorer 242 and 244, although most of the walk appears on 219, but not all of it.

There is a regular bus service to and from Brewood and the Wolverhampton to Cannock bus has a stop on the edge of Shareshill.

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Walk Sections

Start to Gate from graveyard

Start point: 52.6568 lat, -2.0838 long
End point: 52.6579 lat, -2.0846 long

The walk starts at the entrance to the church of St Mary and St Luke in Shareshill, which is situated off Church Lane in Shareshill. There is a small car park in front of the church.

Take the path to the left of the church, which gives a good view of the where the modern church seems to have been built on the remains of an older church. Interestingly, the church holds an effigy of Cassandra Giffard, a well known family in the area, who was born in Chillington in 1540, where you will be walking later in the day and her husband Humphrey Swynnerton, of Hilton Hall, just a short distance from the church.

Follow the path through the cemetery and you will come to a metal gate on your left which takes you through into a field, where the path now goes.

Gate from graveyard to Small elm below large oak
Gate from graveyard to Small elm below large oak

Start point: 52.6579 lat, -2.0846 long
End point: 52.6579 lat, -2.0953 long

As you enter the field just take a moment and if you look carefully, you can see the church in Brewood to which you are walking. Its a little tricky to pick out, but it's between the two pylons to the left. It's a little easier to pick out once you've walked a short way along the path.

From the metal gate follow the edge of the field keeping the hedge/fence on your left. The field slopes downwards and eventually arrives at a stile with a hole through the hedge into a country lane. Although the lane is not very busy the stile and hole in the hedge cannot be seen from the road so take great care stepping through, particularly if you have small children or animals with you. Turn left and after 60 metres you will arrive at a three-way junction.

To your right, you will see a metal gate and a stile next to it. The path crosses this very large field on a bearing of 280 degrees. After 20 metres or so you will be able to see the stile on the far edge of the field sitting beneath a small elm tree, which itself sits below a large oak. Unfortunately, the land owner gives no help across the field, but the right of way is pretty much a straight line.

Small elm below large oak to wooden Slade Heath
Small elm below large oak to wooden Slade Heath

Start point: 52.6579 lat, -2.0953 long
End point: 52.6585 lat, -2.1009 long

The path now follows the edge of the field with the hedge on your left, until you reach a small wooden footbridge. This footbridge is easy to miss if you cut the corner off the field, as I did the first time I walked the route. Having crossed the bridge you are now faced with a truly enormous field that does not correspond to the OS map field layouts. This presents the most difficult bit of navigation. However, don't worry too much about your navigation across this field. Section 137a of the Highways Act 1980 states that where a farmer plants a crop across a footpath, he/she should reinstate it to a width of one metre. If they haven't undertaken this legal obligation, walkers cannot really be at fault if they walk the wrong route!

In the old field layout, there was a hedge that ran from the footbridge to the hedge you see that runs into the field slightly off to your left and behind it can be seen the farm of the land owner. The picture at the start of this section shows this hedge.

The right of way takes you to the end of this hedge on a bearing of 238 degrees. Once there turn to face the field so that the farm is to your left. There are a couple of pylons ahead of you and the nearest tree to you between the pylons is your next target. The tree is actually in the centre of the field and this becomes evident the closer you get to it. Once there you will see another tree in the field to your left and you should now walk to that. As you approach it, you will see beyond it an electrical cable pole, the last in a series that end in the field. This pole is actually at the crossroads of two paths at OS reference SJ927 066 and even has way markers to prove it!

After walking to this pole walk on a bearing of 264 degrees to the small pole with the way marker, which is easily visible from the electrical pole.

Once you've reached this point keep on the same bearing, which will again take you across a field of crops. You need to aim for a point about 50 metres from the far right hand corner of the field. As you approach, you will see a metal gate and you should aim for that, but do not go through the gate.

From the gate head for the corner of the same field along the side of the field with the hedge on your right. The track is now quite clear and leads you through along a path which is very shady between the houses and eventually arrives on a country lane at Slade Heath. At weekends this lane is very quiet indeed, but there is a small industrial estate at the end of it, which can make it quite busy during the week.

Slade Heath to Coven Heath bridge 69
Slade Heath to Coven Heath bridge 69

Start point: 52.656 lat, -2.117 long
End point: 52.6412 lat, -2.1322 long

Turn right along the country lane and after 200 metres turn left through the passageway under the railway bridge eventually coming out onto another road. Turn right and cross the road and after 50 metres you will arrive at the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal. You need to turn left onto the tow path, which initially heads west and then turns towards the south west.

The next two and half kilometres is along the tow path of this busy stretch of canal. Half way along is the Fox and Anchor pub, a very popular stop for canal users and whilst a little pricey is nonetheless a very pleasant stop. It could also be a convenient pick up point, if you wanted to split the walk into sections.

Continue along the canal tow path until you reach the canal bridge at Coven Heath, which has a metal plate on the bridge saying 'Coven Heath Bridge 69'. Unfortunately, you approach Coven Heath, (where there is a sewage works), from the north east and with our prevailing winds blowing from the south west, there is no mistaking where you are!

Coven Heath bridge 69 to the Shropshire Union canal
Coven Heath bridge 69 to the Shropshire Union canal

Start point: 52.6412 lat, -2.1322 long
End point: 52.646 lat, -2.1458 long

Leave the tow path at 'Coven Heath Bridge 69' through the metal gate and turn right. After 200 metres turn left along the bridleway which is clearly marked. After 50 metres go through the metal gate on the right and walk along the path, which takes you round the left hand edge of the field. Every time I have walked this route I have seen buzzards soaring above this field and their characteristic high pitched call is unmistakeable.

Continue round the fields edge until you come to a small wood with a wooden post and a pointer. Turn left here so that the wood is on your right and go over the small bridge (it's actually hard to tell that you are on the bridge it is so overgrown) and make your way through the undergrowth to another wooden post in the next field. In this field you turn right and follow the path round to the right hand side of the field and follow it to the road which is easily visible through a gateway.

This is a very busy road, so again please take care. Strictly speaking, the path is 20 metres down the lane to the right, but the stile is so overgrown that it is inaccessible. Fortunately, there is a hole in the hedge directly opposite and by walking round the field to the right, the proper path is soon met. Now follow the path to the corner of the field by the ruined buildings. Standing by the ruined concrete building the path actually passes close to its left hand side. The route of the path is not clear as it is extremely overgrown, but there is a distinct gap in the hedge line where there used to be a gate. Make your way, as best you can through into the next field.

The path takes you across the field towards willow and elder trees on a bearing of 240 degrees magnetic, and over another stile and small footbridge into another field. The path across this field is generally well trodden and the stile on the other side of the field is very clear.

These fields are really quite remote and I've seen all sorts of wildlife from foxes and rabbits to buzzards and Grey Partridge and on one occasion a Corn Bunting, so keep 'em peeled.

The path will eventually take you through a hedge and then down to another stile in the corner of the field, which brings you out onto a broad green lane. Cross straight over this lane and then across the brick bridge pictured at the beginning of this section. You can't actually see the bridge until you've crossed the second stile, so don't stand scratching your head wondering where it is!

The brick bridge takes you across the river Penk and the path you need follows the driveway through the trees to your right. The path is often overgrown, but is straight enough and eventually comes to a metal gate adjacent to a field on the right. Continue to follow the path along the edge of the field until you reach another metal gate. Pass through this gate, cross the track and through the opposite metal gate onto the tow path of the Shropshire Union canal.

Shropshire Union canal to Brewood
Shropshire Union canal to Brewood

Start point: 52.6438 lat, -2.1562 long
End point: 52.6508 lat, -2.1616 long

Turn right along the canal, again a busy stretch of the waterway network until you reach the Hunting Bridge, which is the first bridge and has a number 7 on it. Leave the tow path, cross over the bridge and follow the path to the top of the field. However, if you want to, you could just follow the tow path straight into Brewood, which knocks a couple of miles off the route, but you miss some lovely countryside.

As you walk through these fields you can see Bushbury Hill and Wolverhampton behind and to the left of you and Cannock Chase behind and to your right. At the top of the field the path meets a track and you should turn right along this. The path takes you gently uphill and eventually passed some houses to a country lane going through a kissing gate on the way. Turn left and follow the lane for 350 metres to the Codsall to Brewood road. Again, this is a fast road so take care crossing it.

The track opposite you winds its way between high hedges and old oaks and eventually meets the Staffordshire Way, which, by turning right, we follow all the way into Brewood.

Having turned onto the Staffordshire Way you will walk through fields that often have livestock in them and the farmers, who otherwise very pleasant, are highly intolerant of dogs off leashes.

The path eventually comes to a country lane, which again you will cross and pass through the kissing gate opposite and onto the long Chillington Drive. Cross over the drive, but take time to look to your left where you will se Chillington Hall in all its glory. Look out as well for the English Long Horn cattle, a rare breed, that can often be found grazing the drive.

The path is now well marked and takes you through more kissing gates into another field and at the end of the field onto a farm track.

Follow the farm track to your right until you once again meet the Shropshire Union canal and then drop onto the canal on your left and then through the gate on your right and up through the fields to the back of the houses in Brewood. Coming onto a rough track, the path passes to the left of the garage opposite you and brings you out right opposite the church.

Your walk is complete.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 by the author djhampton and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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