Balsall Common

Circular Walk 12 (5 or 7 Miles)

Walk Overview

Starting from Ye Olde Saracens Head pub, this figure of eight walk meanders across mostly flat farmland & open countryside southwest of Balsall Common. If you prefer, you can shorten the 7 mile route to just 5 miles.  From the start you will walk part of The Millennium Way and be guided for that section by the distinctive black & white waymarkers. The final 2 mile loop NE of the pub takes in another waymarked section of the Millennium Way.

Walk Details

  • Start: Ye Olde Saracens Head, Balsall Common CV7 7AS
  • Start Grid Ref: SP 223 770
  • Parking: Ye Olde Saracens Head if visiting, otherwise roadside.
  • Refreshments:
    • Ye Olde Saracens Head (01676 533862)
  • Maps: OS Explorer 221 or Landranger 139
  • Distance: 5 or 7 miles
  • Time: 2½ or 3½ hours
  • Stiles: 13 (not all dog friendly)
  • Download: Walk GPS (GPS Exchange Format, GPX)
  • GPS and GPX explained
  • Find a mobile app on the Apple App Store or Google Play

Updated August 2023

12. Balsall Common - New Route

Walk Instructions

Section A

Turn left out of Ye Olde Saracen's Head car park and almost immediately turn left into Magpie Lane passing Jessamine Cottage, then after 20 paces take waymarked metal kissing gate right. Here you will be guided by the distinctive black and white Millennium Way waymarkers up to Section B. Go around fenced field edge with hedge left and fence right (ignoring any gates right in fence), to reach kissing gate to lane. Go left on lane and after 100 paces take stile or open gate on right. Go with hedge right and then copse right to follow round to the large open field. Go straight down across centre of field to take footbridge and kissing gate ahead. Continue ahead over field to find a further kissing gate then ahead, passing short length of hedge left, to take hedge stile/gap. Stay ahead with hedge left under power lines to corner gap.

Here we have reached a crossroads of paths and will leave the Millennium Way for the time being.

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Ye Olde Saracens Head

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Quiet Lanes

Section B

Go through gap then immediately left joining the Heart of England Way, which we will stay with until Section C. Continue along with hedge left and, at corner of field, go through wooden boarded gap passing the red topped gas marker and stay with hedge left.  Go through another corner gap staying with hedge left towards farmhouse ahead. On nearing the farmhouse go through corner gap to shrubbery and stay along narrow track with wooden fence on right and ditch left to exit by metal kissing gate to a lane.  Turn right past Barracks Cottage then go left along surfaced drive towards Balsall Lodge Farm.  Stay on drive until it swings right to the farm. Here, leave drive and stay ahead to pass pond on right.  Go ahead on the same line walking slightly downhill towards dip then up on a rising path, soon to be walking with hedge right. On reaching large copse, stay right with hedge right rising up to a large field with lovely views. Bear left here and keep tree and hedge left.

Section C

On reaching corner take kissing gate then go left with trees left to take further kissing gate just ahead. Once through the gate turn immediately right to stay on the Heart of England Way keeping hedge right. Go over corner stile and continue through next field with hedge right and over further stile adjacent to five-bar metal gate. Here, take the left-hand footpath ( leaving the Heart of England Way ) to go diagonally left across field to far corner to reach a slightly awkward fence stile. Go over the stile then bear right along short narrow track to take metal kissing gate on left.  Go ahead with hedge left to take further metal kissing gate in corner of field then go with wooden fencing and through another metal kissing gate.

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Stunning Trees

Go over wooden ditch bridge and stay forward with wire fence and kitchen garden on right. Enter a small paddock/orchard with newly planted apple trees then go half left to take metal kissing gate in hedge on your left by the apple trees.  Cross over surfaced track to take stile or open gate to walk ahead past farm building on right then take wooden gate to pass through children’s nursery/play area and into field. Turn left here keeping hedge and trees left. Take metal gate ahead and ignore gaps to continue ahead with hedge left. Exit by wooden kissing gate to farm driveway then right to reach a lane. Go left on track for 30 paces and just opposite the farmhouse ( The Old Barn ) turn right through gap and continue into large field walking with hedge left.  Where the hedge turns left go straight ahead to take double stile over ditch and continue across next small field to top left corner by driveway to take stile to road. Go left on road for 370 yards ( passing Frogmore Lane on right ). Immediately after the 40 mph sign take driveway right, through metal gate, towards Temple Farm. Stay on drive to pass farmhouse/buildings on left and then keep ahead to take metal swing gate, going past Frogmore Cottage and exiting drive by metal kissing gate to left of cottage.  Continue with trees and wire fence right. The path glides very gently downhill to corner metal gate-in-gate, but do NOT take this gate.

Section D

Instead, stay in the same field, and go left to continue along with wire fence and hedge on right. On reaching a wide gap take the waymarked kissing gate on left and continue across corner of field, ignoring gap to right, to take another metal kissing gate into next field.  Stay with hedge right to exit by stile to narrow lane. Go right on lane for 1/3rd of a mile and shortly after passing under power lines you will come to a large green metal barn on right. Immediately past the barn take driveway left towards Howlett’s Farm and just 20 paces into the drive take slightly hidden footpath right, through hedge gap into large field. Go left with shrubbery left and at field corner, go through waymarked gap into next field and stay ahead eventually to walk with hedge and trees right. On reaching corner of field, bear left passing a metal kissing gate on right, then past houses to exit by waymarked metal gate into a playing field at rear of fenced gardens. Continue through two further metal gates giving access to narrow passageway. Go 12 paces along passageway then down 10 steps on your left to reach lane. Go right on lane to a junction then bear right to pass The Old Farm. You then rejoin the Millennium Way for Section E, which comes in from a kissing gate on the left through which you passed at the start. Continue to reach the main road ( Balsall Street ).

Section E

We are now back by Ye Old Saracens Head but the walk continues for another 2 mile loop which will complete the full 7 mile figure of eight walk. Turn left along Balsall Street walking away from the Ye Olde Saracen's Head car park walking parallel to Balsall Street then, after 250 yards, cross road at driveway of black and white house ( Templars Cottage )  and go through gap by stile. Go with hedge left to take damaged stile in corner and continue with hedge left and wire fence right.  Go through narrow hedge gap and continue forward to cross bridge over stream in middle of field, then over stile ahead. Stay ahead to cross directly over next field keeping hedge on far right and go through wide mid hedge gap at top of field. Continue round with hedge left and then through corner gap taking footbridge and metal kissing gate. Stay up next field 1/4 right to reach kissing gate in fence. Take gate and bear right to reach drive exit from Wootton Grange with brick gate posts.

Section F

On passing between brick gate posts, turn right along surfaced lane passing Grove Close Farm and 50 paces after the 30 mph sign take kissing gate right into field.

Stay ahead across centre of field to take footbridge and kissing gate to next field then go diagonally right across field to reach tall hedge / trees. Then bear left, keeping hedge and trees right. Follow hedge to corner of field then go left, keeping hedge right. Exactly alongside a lone tree, take waymarked narrow gap on right into field, to continue along right edge of field keeping hedge right, then through kissing gate keeping ahead with hedge right to take footbridge and kissing gate into next field. Continue gently up field under power lines with wire fence right to take wooden kissing gate in corner and proceed up the field with hedge and fence right towards houses. Take kissing gate straight onto main road (careful - no verge) and cross over, back to Ye Old Saracens Head for refreshments.

Points of Interest - What to know and what to see...

by Andy Botherway
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Ye Olde Saracens Head

Saracen’s Head Inn

This hostelry, the Saracen’s Head Inn, 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.

Balsall Common

The village is situated at the heart of the green belt area known as the Meriden Gap, between Solihull and Coventry, and has been subject to strict planning regulations.

Famous Residents:

Several Premiership and Championship footballers have lived in Balsall Common, especially those playing with Coventry City, Birmingham City and Aston Villa. These include 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 was Paddy Doyle who holds numerous endurance world records.

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Lavender Hill Farm

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