Lichfield to Church End

With a little over 4 weeks to go until the Dorset 100, I decided that it was time to move up a gear and get into 100 mode (or Ton Up continuing the motoring metaphor).

On Monday, I walked to Moseley to meet the other half from work. I chose to walk along the Birmingham and Fazeley canal from The Tyburn House. On reaching the end of the line, I picked the canal going through Saltley to Bordesley.

Just before the junction with the Grand Union is where I’d leave the cut if (when) I walk to my new job – about 8.5 miles from home (there are shorter, more direct routes).

Cutting through Sparkbrook, to reach Moseley, I clocked up 11.5 miles to start the week.

Tuesday, I went the opposite way, starting in Moseley and following the River Cole to Kingshurst where I was rewarded with a splendid carpet of bluebells in Yorks Wood. Another 10 miles.

Bluebells

Wednesday, and I caught the train from New Street Station out to Lichfield Trent Valley.

All aboard

A short walk from Trent Valley, through Streethay and under the A38 deposited me on the Coventry canal at bridge 84. Turning right, I followed the Coventry Canal (CC) until, suddenly, it became the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal (B&FC). It later reverted to it’s former identity near Tamworth.

The Join

Apparently, in the 1780’s, frustrated by the lack of progress by the Coventry Canal Company to build the section between the B&FC and the Trent and Mersey Canal (T&MC) at Fradley, the T&MC and B&FC decided to each build half of the missing link. As Eric Morecambe would say, “You can see the join” – at Whittington.

Later, the Coventry Canal Company bought the northern section resulting in a short section of B&FC in the middle of the Coventry Canal.

Approaching Tamhorn, near Hopwas, I spied a couple of WW2 pill boxes. It’s comforting to know that if Jerry had ever invaded this green and pleasant land, they’d have never gotten any further north than Staffordshire.

None shall pass

At Fazeley, just to the south of Tamworth, the Coventry Canal became the Coventry Canal and the Birmingham and Fazeley, proper, branched off towards Birmingham.

Call me Derrick

Just past the junction, a temporary towpath closure meant that I had to leaver the canal for a short stretch which took me past this magnificent old derrick crane. Once very popular, there are few of this type left.

After regaining the towpath, it was followed for a mile and a half to Middleton Lakes RSPB reserve. From here I headed for the River Tame, crossing it at the new bridge.

For many years, the OS maps have shown a footpath going from the canal over to Dosthill crossing the river but until 2014 there was no bridge!

Luckily, I managed to keep my feet dry crossing the river before following a track to the A51, Kingsbury Road. I followed the noisy road to, of all places, Kingsbury.

Taking a flight of steps beside the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, I entered Kingsbury Water Park and exited at Marston.

The locally named Muddy Track was taken to Lea Marston then it was along familiar paths to my favourite watering hole – The Griffin Inn at Church End near Shustoke.

Another 19 miles to add to the weekly total.

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