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Alvechurch and Barnt Green Waterways

There are currently 4 comments and 2 photos online for this walk.

Alvechurch and Barnt Green Waterways
Author: Claire, Published: 07 Jul 2017 Walk Rating:star1 Alvechurch and Barnt Green Waterways Walking Guide star1 Alvechurch and Barnt Green Waterways Walking Guide star1 Alvechurch and Barnt Green Waterways Walking Guide star1 Alvechurch and Barnt Green Waterways Walking Guide star0 Alvechurch and Barnt Green Waterways Walking Guide
Worcestershire, Bromsgrove
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Alvechurch and Barnt Green Waterways
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Alvechurch and Barnt Green Waterways Walking Guide boot Alvechurch and Barnt Green Waterways Walking Guide
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A 5 mile circular walk from the village of Alvechurch, near Birmingham in the Bromsgrove district of Worcestershire. The route follows a beautiful stretch of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal and then skirts the two local reservoirs, Lower Bittell and Upper Bittell. After following some beautiful paths through trees and crop fields, the route takes you through the destination village of Barnt Green, before more fields and tree-lined paths lead you back to the start. At the top of the steady climbs, you will be rewarded with fabulous far reaching views.

The route has several steady gradients throughout, but there are no steep sections. You will need to negotiate several gates and kissing gates, some flights of steps plus 5 stiles (four of which have generous gaps for dogs, but one of which has only a medium-size gap, so larger dogs will need to climb this stile or get a lift over). The paths are all well-walked but are almost all unmade so can get very muddy in the winter and after periods of rain. You will not be sharing any of the paths with livestock. Allow 2.5 hours.

The walk starts and finishes at Withybed Green in Alvechurch, just south of the M42 and 11 miles south of Birmingham. There is a car park at Withybed Green, opposite the village pub (Crown Inn) and directly alongside the canal. Follow Withybed Lane to cross the canal and the car park is immediately on your left. Approximate post code B48 7PN. There is additional roadside parking along Withybed Lane if needed. If you are coming by train, the route can be adjusted to start and finish at Barnt Green rail station (Waypoint 4).

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Walk Sections

Start to Canal Crossing
Start to Canal Crossing

Start point: 52.3513 lat, -1.9731 long
End point: 52.3557 lat, -1.9685 long

The walk begins from the canal-side car park at the edge of Alvechurch. This small village has a number of claims to fame, including being the birthplace of the novelist Fay Weldon and the creator of The Archers radio programme, Godfery Baseley.

Leave the car park and turn right to cross over the canal bridge. Immediately afterwards, turn sharp right down the tarmac slope to reach a T-junction with the canal towpath. Turn right, passing under the bridge (Number 61) and continue on the towpath with the water running on your left. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal, as its name suggests, connects Birmingham with Worcester. Completed in 1815, it is 29 miles long and includes 58 locks. A major user of the canal was the Cadbury chocolate factory at Bournville. Today it is managed by the Canal and River Trust and is a popular route for leisure.

Stay on the towpath for about 700 metres, passing under the rail bridge (Number 62) and a small road bridge (Number 64) to reach a junction with a disused arm of the canal. Keep straight ahead to follow a few metres of this disused arm (towards a disused footbridge) and, just before the bridge, turn left to cross the embankment path over the canal arm.

Canal Crossing to Bittell Farm Road
Canal Crossing to Bittell Farm Road

Start point: 52.3557 lat, -1.9685 long
End point: 52.3683 lat, -1.9713 long

Do not take the steps ahead, instead turn immediately left and follow the towpath as it swings right to continue alongside the main canal (with the water on your left). The towpath leads you under the M42 (Number 64B) and a smaller road bridge (Number 65). Just after this, look to your left to the opposite side of the canal and you will see Lower Bittell Reservoir. Keep your eyes peeled for birds here, you will often see waterfowl and herons. The banks of the reservoir sometimes have rare breed cattle used for conservation grazing, English Longhorns when we walked by.

Beyond the reservoir, pass a single white cottage on your left and continue a short distance further to reach Bridge 66. Pass under this and, immediately afterwards, turn right up the steps and cross the stile (or use the gap alongside) to reach the farm track on top of the bridge. Turn right across the bridge and follow the stone track climbing steadily towards the farm buildings.

Pass the first barn on your right and then turn right onto a stone track. As you draw level with the end of the barn, turn left to follow the stone track heading steadily uphill. At the top, cross the stile to reach a junction with Bittell Farm Road.

Bittell Farm Road to Bridleway Junction
Bittell Farm Road to Bridleway Junction

Start point: 52.3683 lat, -1.9713 long
End point: 52.3738 lat, -1.9771 long

Cross over the road into the stone access track directly opposite and follow this as it swings right and then left, passing alongside a wide farm gate. The paddocks down to your left are likely to be holding a mixture of horses, rare breed sheep and alpacas. Follow this stone farm track, winding along the edge of the paddocks, with far-reaching views opening up to your left.

Where the stone track ends (with two gates ahead), take the gap to the right of these gates (alongside an old stile) and follow the fenced path through the edge of the woodland. This path soon leads you down some steps and through a single metal gate to reach the corner of Upper Bittell Reservoir.

Follow the grass path ahead, leading you over the reservoir’s embankment (with the water across to your right). Again, you may glimpse some of the rare breed cattle grazing on the far banks. Before you reach the sailing club and buildings, you will come to a fence and gate ahead. Do NOT pass through this, instead turn left and follow the path leading you away from the reservoir. Pass alongside a wide gate to reach a junction with a bridleway.

Bridleway Junction to Barnt Green Station
Bridleway Junction to Barnt Green Station

Start point: 52.3738 lat, -1.9771 long
End point: 52.3617 lat, -1.99 long

Go straight ahead to join the bridleway and follow it as it swings left, leading you through a tunnel of trees with a pretty stream running down to the left. Follow this tree-lined bridleway all the way to its end, where you will reach a vehicle barrier (at the junction with Bittell Farm Road). Pass alongside the barrier and walk ahead through the parking lay-by to reach a signed public footpath on your right. Turn right to join this, passing through a gate to reach the corner of a crop field.

Follow the path diagonally across the crop field, passing immediately to the left of the copse of trees (which contains a pond) in the field centre. At the far corner, pass through the hedge gap to reach a junction of paths. Take the path directly ahead, along the edge of a second crop field with a hedge running on your right. At the far end, pass through the gate and keep straight ahead on the stone path leading you first through trees and then along the right-hand edge of the village playing field. In the first corner, ignore the exit (a stile within the hedge), instead continue on the field boundary (past the basketball hoop) and exit via the main gate into the playing field car park.

Walk ahead to the road, cross over to the far pavement and turn right along this. At the mini-roundabout, turn left into Hewell Road (signed to Blackwell). Continue into the village centre, passing the village school on your left and then the approach road for the rail station on your right.

Barnt Green Station to Coopers Hill
Barnt Green Station to Coopers Hill

Start point: 52.3617 lat, -1.99 long
End point: 52.3516 lat, -1.9878 long

(NOTE: If you are arriving by train, leave Barnt Green Station, pass through the car park and follow Station Approach to a T-junction with the main village road. Cross over to the far pavement and turn right along this, then follow the directions from this point).

Continue along the left-hand pavement, leading you through the shopping parade. Beyond the shops, continue ahead passing under the railway bridge. Continue ahead into Blackwell Road and, where the road bends right (immediately after House 11), turn left down the narrow, enclosed footpath with a fence on your left and hedge on your right. NOTE: This stretch is prone to becoming overgrown but, if it is impassable, you could use the driveway for the social club (which runs parallel to the right) and then turn left through the hedge gap to rejoin the footpath. At the end of the foopath you will come to a kissing gate ahead.

Pass through this to enter a meadow and follow the path along the right-hand edge, climbing steadily and staying fairly close to the hedge on your right. At the top of the field, you will reach a stile. Before crossing, it is worth turning around to enjoy the far-reaching views behind. Cross the stile, cross the footbridge over the M42 and cross the stile at the far side (larger dogs may need to climb this one) to reach the corner of a crop field.

Bear left to follow the grass then stone path leading you along the left-hand edge of this crop field. Across to the right, on a clear day, you will be able to see the outline of the Shropshire Hills in the distance. At the far end, cross the stile to reach a junction with Coopers Hill (with Foxhill Lane opposite).

Coopers Hill to End
Coopers Hill to End

Start point: 52.3516 lat, -1.9878 long
End point: 52.3514 lat, -1.9736 long

Turn left along Coopers Hill, taking care of any traffic and passing Bridleway Cottage on your left. Follow this quiet lane for about 600 metres, passing a few pretty properties along the way (including the ornate red brick barn of Uplands Stables and then the tile-hung mansion Woodlands, both on your right).

Immediately after passing Woodlands and its former Coach House, turn right through a gate to join the signed public bridleway. The tree-lined bridleway leads you steadily downhill and out through a wooden gate. Keep ahead along the tarmac access lane, passing between several cottages. Eventually you will come to a T-junction with Springers Lodge ahead. Turn left for just a short distance to reach the car park on your right where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


4 comments for "Alvechurch and Barnt Green Waterways"

Beautiful! Live close by and never done this version of the reservoirs. Thank you!

By katenorthpho on 08 Jul 2017

Great walk just on the outskirts of South Birmingham. Took our two dogs and only had to lift them over one stile so all good😊

By Beverly on 22 Jul 2017

Tried this walk today, has the potential to be a really interesting walk, but we had problems I feel should be taken into consideration.
(a) although the postcode is marked as approximate, my SatNav (a new TomTom) couldn't find it, eventually found the start by going up Tanyard Lane, Snake Lane and then into Withybed Lane.
(b) assumed the car park to be a public car park but it is in fact the car park for the Crown Inn (opposite). Couldn't make contact with anyone to ask permission to park so took a risk and left the car anyway. I would normally ring beforehand to ask permission. However no problem, as the people at the pub when we went in for a drink after were very friendly.
(c) the public footpath between points 3 & 4 of the walk at the vehicle barrier on Bittell Farm Road was closed because of a dangerous rail crossing, so we had no choice but to turn left on the road and join the outward route for our return journey
(d) lastly - it rained most of the day!!

ADMIN RESPONSE: Thanks for your comments. The pub car park is joint use for the parish, canal and pub, but there is also roadside parking available for those that prefer (as mentioned in the Getting there section). The post code is correct (it is the one for the pub). The closed branch of the public footpath is not used on this route - the path branches in two after the first crop field and this walk uses the branch that heads to Alvechurch (this is fully open) and avoids the closed rail crossing. Sorry to hear it rained!

By AllanBate on 03 Aug 2017

Thank you for your reply and for the information as I am sure this will help other people who are planning to do this walk. I also checked the Pub Postcode before setting off, but this placed me in a private road off Scarfield Hill right by the canal. I do appreciate postcodes do not pinpoint a place, so thought the directions I gave could help other people. The "Patrons only" sign on the car park threw us a little, but I did read your comments re. roadside parking. A walker going in the other direction warned us of the path closure, so when we arrived at that point, saw the sign and (if I remember correctly a padlocked gate?) we changed our plans and cut down the road to return via. the outward route. At least airing these comments should help other walkers planning to do this walk, we will certainly give it another go later in the year.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Thanks for coming back to us again. Yes, I'm sure your comments and the responses should help other walkers. The padlocked field gate has a small pedestrian gate alongside for the footpath, so sorry to hear you were put off by another walker. Hope you manage to enjoy the walk again, and maybe try the other nearby walk, Lickey Hills and Barnt Green - another lovely walk.

By AllanBate on 04 Aug 2017

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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2 gallery images for "Alvechurch and Barnt Green Waterways"

8561_0bjsdrw1499638907 Alvechurch and Barnt Green Waterways Walking Guide Image by: bjsdrw
Uploaded: 09 Jul 2017
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8561_0Rocacidi1500792199 Alvechurch and Barnt Green Waterways Walking Guide Image by: Beverly
Uploaded: 23 Jul 2017

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