Sutton Park

It is the done thing, for runners and walkers alike, to do a long, slow walk on the weekend. Because of the running around I had to do yesterday, MY LSD (Long Slow Distance) walk would be today. My training plan called for twenty miles so I started with there miles of doggie walks.

After walkies, breakfast was had for us all.

I got my new pack / vest (still not sure what to call it) ready with two 250ml water bottles and a couple of gels. I had plotted a route earlier that would be mainly on hard ground but would take me along the canal and through a few parks. Total distance was seventeen miles so with the dog walks I’d hit my target.

It was dawn when I started and was rewarded with a bit of a colourful sunrise as I headed for Castle Bromwich.

I skirted the houses as far as I could before dropping down to the Chester Road. I continued past Spitfire Island and Jaguar Land-Rover (JLR).

Just up the road from JLR, I descended to the Birmingham Fazeley canal which was followed for a short distance as far as Hanson’s Bridge. Crossing over using said bridge I was now on, surprise surprise, Hanson’s Bridge Road. I took a slight detour following the sign for the National Cycle Route 534. At the end of this road, I was looking across to Pype Hayes Park.

Route 534, and I, then followed Plant’s Brook. This small waterway has it’s source in Sutton Park and flows under Sutton Coldfiled town centre before emerging near New Hall Valley, eventually joining the River Tame.

I was going up-stream firstly through Pype Hayes Park and then along the strip of green which is New Hall Valley Country Park. This park covers one hundred and sixty acres and includes one of only two working water mills in Birmingham at New Hall Mill.

After a couple of miles or so, I had run out of park so made my way through a quiet Sutton Coldfield town centre to enter Sutton Park via the aptly named Town Gate.

Initially, I was going to just nip into the park and exit via Boldmere but I was feeling good and decided to press on to rejoin the Chester Road at Banner’s Gate giving me nearly two miles of the park.

I made my way, slowly uphill before climbing what is known as Cardiac Hill to the lung bursting summit at 150m above sea level. From this high point, I dropped down to Longmore Pool and the exit at Banner’s Gate, following the final part of the Sutton Coldfield parkrun course (remember parkrun?).

Although we are all being encouraged to exercise from home, the car parks were all full and there were loads of families out and about.

From Banner’s Gate, I was back on the Chester Road heading for home. A long straight road for around five miles before I was back at the bottom of Castle Bromwich hill.

To avoid back-tracking I shot off along Newport Road then through Castle Bromwich arriving home after four hours and twenty one minutes having covered eighteen miles (my planned seventeen plus one for luck!).

My feet and legs let me know that we had just done a decent length walk with nearly all of it on either tarmac or concrete.

January 31st 2021. The first month of the year and already two hundred and thirty two miles walked. I’m nearly a quarter of the way to my #Walk1000 miles challenge and over a tenth of the length of Route 66 completed.