A pleasant walk in preserved parkland and along the tow path of the Grand Union Canal.
Distance 7 miles (11.3km)
Minimum time 2hrs 30min
Ascent/gradient 33ft (10m)
Level of difficulty Medium
Paths Field footpaths and tow paths, 18 stiles
Landscape Parkland, canalside and residential areas
Suggested map aqua3 OS Explorer 220 Birmingham
Start/finish SP 163788
Dog friendliness Off lead along tow path, otherwise under control
Parking Brueton Park car park
Public toilets At car park
1 Leave Brueton Park car park via the entrance drive. Cross the road junction into Marsh Lane and continue until you reach a traffic island. Turn right here, then left into Avenbury Drive. Just before you reach the first house on the right, go right through a kissing gate into open countryside and take the path to the right of the field hedge. Follow this path over several fields, then bear right over a stile into woodland. Take the path through the trees, then leave through a kissing gate and proceed ahead over Avenshaw Lane. Continue ahead, walking to the right of the field hedge over several fields and stiles, then bear left on to a stone track that leads up to the Grand Union Canal.
2 Descend to the canal tow path and go right. Continue beneath the M42 motorway and Barston Lane and exit at the next canal bridge. Cross the bridge and a stile on to a footpath going south west towards Grove Farm. Just past the farm complex go right over a stile and follow a footpath and lanes, passing attractive houses on the outskirts of Knowle. The waymarked footpath leads to the A4141 Warwick Road. Cross over the road and continue ahead on a public footpath that leads over Copt Heath Golf Course towards Longdon Hall.
3 Immediately past the main entrance to the hall, go right and walk along a hedged path until you come to the main golf course. Continue ahead over the golf course in a north-westerly direction taking care not to interrupt the golf. Cross the stile on to Lady Byron Lane.
4 Go left and follow the verge of the lane for about ¼ mile (400m). Bear right into Browns Lane and in 100yds (91m) go right and walk along the verge of Smiths Lane. After about 325yds (297m), go right again over a stile into farmland and continue in a north-westerly direction keeping to the left edge of the field until you reach and cross a footbridge over the noisy M42 motorway. Continue along the footpath and go over the stile on to Lovelace Avenue. Turn left and cross over Widney Manor Road into Widney Lane. Go beneath the railway bridge and in about 220yds (201m), turn right up the Alderminster Road then left into Libbards Way.
5 After 350yds (320m), go right into Hillfield Road and join the Solihull Way heading generally north east. Pass the carvery and bar at Hillfield Hall, cross Alderminster Road, then Hillfield Road, which becomes a walking/cycling route free of traffic. The route goes beneath the railway bridge and becomes a road once again. You will soon reach Rectory Road by one of the main road islands in Solihull. Bear left towards the island, but go right up Church Hill Road to avoid the busy traffic areas. Pass St Alphege Church. The church, opposite the Masons Arms public house and the entrance to pedestrianised High Street, dates from 1270 and has a fine 168ft (51m) high spire. The nave was partly rebuilt at the time of the Black Death, although some of the walls remained open to the elements for many years.
6 Continue, bearing right into New Road and descending into Park Road. Enter Malvern Park through the main gate and turn right immediately, passing to the left of tennis courts. Bear left into the main part of Malvern Park and follow a tarmac footpath that gently arcs left around the trees until you come close to a toilet block. Go to the right of it to reach the side of Brueton Park Lake, then go left and walk along the bank of the lake until you are back in the car park.
The Grand Union Canal, completed in 1805, forms the major part of a London to Birmingham link. Like most of Britain's navigable waterways, is managed by British Waterways, a state-owned public corporation. In recent years it has invested millions of pounds in bringing the ageing canal network into the 21st century. You'll occasionally see their specially designed blue-green working craft, with dredging and lifting equipment, maintaining canal banks or locks. Longdon Hall, now surrounded by the fairways and greens of Copt Heath Golf Club, is a private house and was originally owned by Lady Byron. Several of the hall's fields were sold in 1910 to form the golf course.
Stroll along Solihull's High Street with its old timber-framed houses and shops and you will find Tudor England lurking around every corner. St Alphege Church has a rare altar stone in the crypt and a brass portrait of William Hill (1549), along with his two wives, Isabel and Agnes, and three groups of 18 children!
On the Grand Union Canal, . Look out for the narrowboats bearing a roses and castle decoration - this is a traditional design.
Along the route are two eating places. In Hillfield Road you will find the carvery and pub of Hillfield Hall, while opposite St Alphege Church is the Masons Arms pub which welcomes walkers. Supervised children and guide dogs are allowed in the bar. There are also many other options in the pedestrianised centre of Solihull.