Walk 12
5 mile Circular Walk from Balsall Common 

Balsall Map

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This gentle 5 mile circular walk starts from Ye Old Saracens Head pub, on the B4101 near Balsall Common and 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. For more information click on the information icon.

Park at Ye Old Saracens Head at Balsall Common where refreshment might be welcome after the walk. For the first part of the walk, you will enjoy the delights of The MILLENNIUM WAY where you will be guided by the distinctive black Millennium Way waymarkers.

Ye Old Saracens HotelAWe begin our walk from Ye Old Saracens Head. Turn left out of the pub car park then after 250 yards cross road at driveway of black and white house and go over stile. Here you see the first distinctive black Millennium Way waymarker. Go with hedge left to take stile and continue with hedge left. Cross stile to field with bridge over stream in middle, then over stile. Stay ahead to cross directly over next field keeping hedge on far right and go through mid hedge gap at top of field to continue along with hedge left and then over stile into small coppice to cross footbridge. Stay up next field with fence left to reach top left corner. Ignore kissing gate and turn right following Millennium Way sign to stay along edge of field with wood left. Go left over next stile then turn right on driveway which passes through brick gate posts and joins local road. Continue down road to junction and turn right then after short distance turn left onto main road (dual carriageway).

Quiet LanesB Walk along path then cross dual carriageway into road (Park Lane) signposted Berkswell. Just after bungalow on right take kissing gate on left and go on path with small wood right then along left edge of field. When you reach the end of the field, near to lake far left, we leave The Millennium Way and take the wooden kissing gate directly ahead and after a short distance cross a footbridge to join boardwalk when you will see Berkswell Hall on your far left. At the end of the boardwalk go through two kissing gates, then a further gate, to enter churchyard. Go past St John Baptist Church (the crypt is worth a visit) then turn right just past the school going 40 paces to road. Cross road and find public footpath between houses.

Stunning TreesC Go along the footpath, between fences, to take wooden kissing gate into field and stay ahead with hedge right. Take kissing gate into next field and then kissing gate into following field. Continue with hedge right to take further kissing gate right, then go with hedge left. At corner follow field edge around right, then take kissing gate to continue up field with trees and fence left towards farm buildings. At the top take kissing gate and go left, through a second kissing gate to the left of the farm buildings (permissive route) and then take stile right onto farm track. At end of farm track join lane. Go right and continue round left hand bend and after a further 100 yards take footpath right through kissing gate to field. Stay with hedge left to take footbridge, then cross diagonally right to reach hedge opposite. Turn right when you reach the hedge then continue along edge of field keeping hedge left. Take kissing gate in corner and stay ahead on narrow grassy path between hedges to pass in front of buildings left. Exit building area by right corner gap to reach steps to road.

D Go left on road ( watch for traffic ) crossing railway bridge then cross over roundabout to take waymarked footpath through metal gate right. Go up steps into sports field through kissing gate and follow in the direction of the yellow waymarker on gate, keeping around right edge of field to far side towards tall green mobile phone mast. On reaching far side of field walk left and pass through a gate on right onto a well defined narrow footpath through some overgrowth. Take this narrow footpath keeping coppice left then go through two gates to reach the main road.

Berkswell ChurchE Go left along  main road to reach petrol station, at this point cross over main road into driveway of Premier Inn, after some 10 paces take waymarked footpath left. Continue along narrow grassy path between houses to reach road. Turn right and go 150 yards to take kissing gate left. Stay ahead across centre of field to take footbridge and kissing gate to next field then go diagonally 1/2 right across field to reach tall hedge / trees and then go left, keeping hedge right. Follow hedge to corner of field then go left, keeping hedge right, and take stile to right of lone tree. Go right through gap into field to continue along right edge of field keeping hedge right, then take corner stile into next field and over footbridge and stile just ahead. Stay gently up field with wire fence right to take kissing gate in corner and proceed up the field with hedge and fence right keeping ahead towards houses. Take kissing gate to main road and cross over to arrive back at Ye Old Saracens Head.


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.

Hall Across Lake BerkswellBerkswell Hall - the lake and hall

A 19th century country house, now converted into residential apartments. Grade II* listed. A manor house has existed 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.

 

Ram HallBerkswell

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, which is passed about 800m southeast of the village, was built about 1600 and is grade II* listed. The early staircase is said to conceal a priest’s hole.

Lavender Hill FarmLavender 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 West Midlands green belt area known as the Meriden Gap, between Solihull and Coventry, and is thus subject to strict planning regulations. Therefore the village has so far not witnessed rapid growth.

Famous residents

Several Premiership and Championship footballers live (and have lived) in Balsall Common, especially those playing with Coventry City, Birmingham City and Aston Villa. Including 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 is Paddy Doyle who holds numerous endurance world records.