Circular Walk from Balsall Common, Millenium Way

This circular walk meanders across mostly flat farmland & open countryside. Take time to explore Berkswell with it's historic church, in particular the fascinating underground crypt, find the village green and the stocks. This is walk 12 from the 44 composing the Millenium Way.

Technical sheet
No. 23190216
A Balsall walk posted on 20/06/22 by BarryDurman. Update : 22/06/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h45[?]
Distance Distance : 9.32km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 28m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 35m
Highest point Highest point : 126m
Lowest point Lowest point : 101m
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Balsall
Starting point Starting point : N 52.391119° / W 1.672197°
Download : -

Description

Start: Ye Olde Saracens Head, Balsall Common (CV7 7AS). Grid Ref: SP223 777

(D/A) Turn left (North-West) out of the Saracen's Head car park walking parallel to Balsall Street (B4101) then, after 250 yards, cross the road right (North-North-East) at the driveway of black and white house and go over the stile. Here you see the first distinctive black and white waymarker.

(1) Go with the hedge left to take the damaged stile in the corner and continue with the hedge left. Go through a narrow hedge gap and continue forward to cross the bridge over a stream in the middle of the field, then over stile ahead.

Stay ahead to cross directly over the next field keeping the hedge on the far right and go through the wide mid-hedge gap at top of the field. Continue round with hedge left and then through corner gap taking a footbridge and a metal gate. Stay up the next field with a fence left to reach the top left corner. Here our diversion starts.

(2) Turn left through a kissing gate and keeping the fence on your right, go through the kissing gate at the end to enter the small paddock. Walk across to take the wooden kissing gate into a larger field and go along the edge of field keeping hedge and trees on your left to take a stile into Wootton Lane.

(3) Turn right onto the lane, then after 100 paces cross a stile on your left (North) into the field. Follow the edge of the field with the hedge right (do not take half left diagonal path) to the top and go through the hedge gap on your right (damaged waypost on ground) and follow the track, keeping the hedge on left, to cross the railway line and field, until you reach a stile onto A452 dual carriageway.

(4) Turn left (North-West) along A452 for 230 yards and just before Bancroft Guest House / New Mercote Farm on left, cross the dual carriageway when it is safe, using a central sheltered area. Here we leave the diverted Millennium Way which goes up the A452.

Take the gate next to the metal gate on your right (North-East). Follow the track round and keep in the same direction between metal fencing across the HS2 route. On reaching the junction with a further fenced path turn right slightly downhill to pass through a small (Bluebell) wood and a wooden kissing gate and follow the track across a large field towards Berkswell.

(5) Berkswell Hall and its lake is on the far left. Go through another small wood to reach a gate. At the gate go left, then over the footbridge crossing a small stream and take the long boardwalk. At the end of the boardwalk go through two kissing gates either end of the coppice, then a further gate, to enter the churchyard.

Go past St John Baptist Church (the crypt is well worth a visit) then turn right (South-East) just opposite the school and the lovely Store and Stove cafe, going just 30 paces to Lavender Hall Lane.

(6) Cross the road and find a public footpath between two bungalows. Go along the narrow passage between fences, to take the wooden kissing gate into a field and stay ahead with the hedge right. Take the kissing gate into the next field and then a further kissing gate into the following field.

Continue with the hedge right and just before field corner take a further kissing gate right, then go left with hedge left. At the corner follow the field edge around right, then take the kissing gate left to continue up the field with trees & fence left under power lines towards farm buildings.

At the top, take the gap/kissing gate and go ahead between concrete barns and onto track past the remarkable Ram Hall Farm on your right (home of the famous Berkswell Cheese, made from Ewes' milk). This is a working farm and during busy times, for safety reasons, a permissive route round the back of the left barn may be in use, re-joining the track over a stile. Continue to the end of the farm track to reach Baulk Lane.

(7) Go right (South-West) and continue round the left-hand bend, past Bayleys Brook cottage on the right to cross HS2 and reach the junction with Truggist Lane. Turn right (South-West) and follow the lane through the subway under rail tracks and immediately pass The Railway Inn.

Directly after the pub turn right along cul de sac and, at its end, continue ahead taking the path on your right alongside the railway.

(8) At the junction with the path turn right (North-North-East) and cross the rail bridge to go through the gate. Immediately turn left (North-West) onto a broad gravel track past fishing lakes on your right and follow this for more than 1/4 mile to reach Lavender Hall Road.

Go left (South-South-East) on the road watching traffic to cross the railway bridge, then cross over the roundabout to take the waymarked footpath through the metal gate right (West). Go up then down steps into the sports field through a kissing gate and follow in the direction of the yellow waymarker on the gate, keeping around the right edge of the field to the far side towards the tall green mobile phone mast. On reaching the far side of the field walk left and take the gate right onto a well-defined footpath keeping coppice left then go through a gate to reach the main A452 road again.

(9) Go left (South-West) on the pavement to Sainsburys local petrol station, where you can get refreshments. Cross over the road into driveway of Premier Inn and after just 10 paces take waymarked footpath left (finger post).

Continue along this narrow grassy path with fencing and tall hedging on your left at the rear of houses to eventually emerge at a road. Turn right and go 150 yards to take the kissing gate left.

Stay ahead across the centre of the field to take the footbridge and kissing gate to next field then go diagonally right across field to reach the tall hedge / trees. Then go left, keeping hedge right. Follow the hedge to the corner of the field then go left, keeping the hedge right.

(10) Exactly alongside a lone tree, take gap on your right into the field to continue along the right edge of the field keeping the hedge right, then through the kissing gate keeping ahead with the hedge right to take the footbridge and kissing gate into next field.

Continue gently up field with wire fence right to take kissing gate in corner and proceed up the field with hedge and fence right towards houses. Take kissing gate straight onto the main road (no verge) and cross over, back to Ye Old Saracens Head for refreshments.(D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 116m - Saracen's Head car park
1 : km 0.3 - alt. 112m - Stile
2 : km 1.53 - alt. 117m - Kissing gate
3 : km 2.04 - alt. 102m - Wootton Lane
4 : km 2.63 - alt. 111m - A452 dual carriageway
5 : km 4.04 - alt. 108m - Berkswell Hall
6 : km 4.6 - alt. 109m - Lavender Hall Lane
7 : km 5.59 - alt. 119m - Baulk Lane
8 : km 6.66 - alt. 116m - Railway - Junction
9 : km 7.68 - alt. 124m - Sainsburys local petrol station
10 : km 8.99 - alt. 109m - Lone tree
D/A : km 9.32 - alt. 116m - Ye Old Saracens Head

Useful Information

Start: Ye Olde Saracens Head, Balsall Common (CV7 7AS). Grid Ref: SP223 777
Parking: Ye Olde Saracens Head.
Maps: OS Explorer 221 or Landranger 139
Stiles: 6 (dog friendly)
Refreshments: Ye Olde Saracens Head (01676 533862). Store and Stove Cafe - Berkswell at half way.

Right from the start, you will enjoy the delights of the MILLENNIUM WAY where you will be guided by the distinctive black and white waymarkers. The route crosses the HS2 route in two places, but pedestrian crossing is provided.
This circular is affected by HS2 in two places so it is important to follow these directions. The Millennium Way section in A and B is fully waymarked and on our GPS download, but is not on OS maps.

More information at Millenium Way website here.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

Points of Interest - What to know and what to see.... by Andy Botherway

Saracen’s Head Inn
This hostelry is a 16th-century building, part of a number of scattered groups of 16th and 17th-century buildings across what is now the village of Balsall Common. The main part of the residential area is largely 20th century, a commuter village for Birmingham, following the arrival of the railway.

Berkswell Hall
A 19th century country house, now converted into residential apartments, is Grade II listed. A manor house has existed here since 1556 but the present house dates from 1815. Between 1815 and 1860 it was a school, but restored as a house and sold to Joshua Wheatley in 1888. In 1984 the estate was sold for redevelopment but the surrounding land is still owned by the Wheatley family. The lake is beautiful with a good variety of birds and ducks.

Berkswell
An interesting village with a lot of history. For detailed notes on the features and history of the village, see the ‘points of interest’ notes for walk East from Berkswell.
Ram Hall, pictured, which is just southeast of the village, was built in the late 1500's and is Grade II* listed. The early staircase is said to conceal a priest’s hole. It is home to the famous Berkswell cheese made from Ewes' milk. Lavender Hall Farm (picture left), also Grade II* listed, is a 16th century building, refaced in red brick in the 17th century.

Balsall Common
The village is situated at the heart of the green belt area known as the Meriden Gap, between Solihull and Coventry, and has been subject to strict planning regulations.

Famous residents
Several Premiership and Championship footballers have lived in Balsall Common, especially those playing with Coventry City, Birmingham City and Aston Villa. These include John Sillett, Trond Egil Soltvedt, Trevor Francis in the late 1970s, Lee Carsley and Robbie Keane. Other famous sporting residents include former England cricket captain Bob Wyatt and Wimbledon ladies single champion Maud Watson. Another notable resident was Paddy Doyle who holds numerous endurance world records.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.