A pleasant walk around the famous Earlswood Lakes, then out into the open countryside.
Distance 5 miles (8km)
Minimum time 1hr 45min
Ascent/gradient 98ft (30m)
Level of difficulty Easy
Paths Lakeside paths and field paths, 20 stiles
Landscape Lakeland and rolling countryside
Suggested map aqua3 OS Explorer 220 Birmingham
Start/finish SP 109739
Dog friendliness Off lead on lakeside footpaths, care needed near wildfowl, otherwise under control
Parking Earlswood Lakes car park (free)
Public toilets Earlswood Lakes Craft Centre
1 The walk starts from the car park opposite Warren Farm and heads towards Terry's Pool where wildfowl often congregate. Crossing the embankment path footbridge, Terry's Pool is on the left and Engine Pool to the right. At the far bank, continue up a hedged path to reach Wood Lane. Go left along the side of the lane for about 400yds (366m), then left on a waymarked driveway to a campsite area on the edge of New Fallings Coppice. Walk through the campsite, bearing right into the trees and then, in about 50yds (46m), go right over a small footbridge into a clearing. Turn left and take the footpath by the side of the trees up to a field corner stile. Cross and enter the coppice. Go left and walk along the woodland path through the coppice. After going over a footbridge, bear right and leave the coppice via a well-walked path over cultivated farm land. This becomes a hedged path and leads to the road near Earlswood Station. Go right, away from the station, up the road for 200yds (183m).
2 Just before Kidpile Farm, go left through a hedge gap and take a waymarked footpath going north west. Initially the path is to the left of the hedge, then enters trees before continuing on the right. It then descends to go under a railway bridge. Continue ahead over a small stream and follow the hedged pathway along the right-hand side of Fulford Heath Golf Club. In about 150yds (137m) go left over a stile and take the waymarked footpath across the golf course, following a line of small posts. The route takes you past the Golf Club House on to the road at Tanners Green. Continue ahead, then bear right at the road junction, in the direction of Wythall.
3 Follow the road for 125yds (114m) and go left down Barkers Lane. In about 250yds (229m) go left again along a footpath signed 'Forshaw Heath', passing along the back of houses through shrubs and trees and eventually reaching Forshaw Heath Lane. Go right along the lane for about 300yds (274m), then left into Juggins Lane. In another 300yds (274m) turn left through Graves Coppice, crossing over the next field and going left at a stile to reach Poolhead Lane. Go left for about 100yds (91m), then right over a stile by Lodge Farm, passing farm buildings into open countryside once again. Bear left at another stile and aim for a waymarked footbridge in the far right corner of the field. Cross the footbridge and return via a second one to follow the right-hand edge of Clowes Wood.
4 After about ½ mile (800m) cross the railway line and take the footpath along the side of Terry's Pool. Continue along the path for the next 700yds (640m), then go right through a kissing gate to return to your car.
Earlswood is delightfully situated in the Forest of Arden, but made little impact on the history books until 1484. At that time, King Richard III granted William Catesby, who married into the Throckmorton family of nearby Coughton Court, 'an hundred oaks to be taken from the King's old park of Tanworth or Earlswood in Tanworth within this county.' The village grew in the 18th century when the Birmingham to Stratford-on-Avon canal was built in 1783. The canal company paid Tanworth churchwardens the princely sum of £969 8s 9d for 51 acres (21ha) of Earlswood Common so they could build feeder reservoirs for the canal. In 1821 three reservoirs were completed and the village became known as Earlswood Lakes. The Engine House, at the end of the first lake, tends to dominate the landscape and it still feeds the canal system with water. The canal has not been in commercial use since 1936, but has developed into a major leisure facility close to Birmingham. In 1987 the Government Inspector of Dams carried out upgrading work to preserve the lakes for the future. Today you can enjoy the birdlife, watch the sailing boats, go fishing or stroll through the delightful countryside. There's also a craft centre here.
Children love the nearby Umberslade Children's Farm. Here they can get up close to the animals, including lambs, pigs, donkeys, shire horses and goats. Daily events include bottle-feeding and holding the animals, and there are trailer and tractor rides.
The Reservoir Inn at the junction of the B4102 (Solihull) and Earlswood roads offers excellent food and is popular with local walking groups - Old Speckled Hen is on tap. Children and dogs are allowed in the bar and gardens. Light refreshments are available at Poppies Tearoom & Restaurant at the Earlswood Lakes Craft Centre.
The Earlswood Lakes Craft Centre has a fascinating selection of shops selling ceramics, glass novelty garden and household ornaments, silk and dried flowers, horse supplies, upholstery and jewellery. If high street shopping is your scene, you are only a few miles from Solihull's main shopping area.