Barston & Balsall Common

Circular Walk 4 (4 Miles)

Walk Overview

This is one of our shortest circulars - from the picturesque village of Barston through the outskirts of Balsall Common. Enjoy open countryside and the delights of the Warwickshire landscape, while being very close to Birmingham. You will see aircraft overhead, coming into the airport. Almost exactly halfway round you pass the Saracens Head pub, so you have a choice of two nice pubs!

Walk Details

  • Start: Bull’s Head, Barston B92 0JU
  • Start Grid Ref: SP 207 781
  • Parking: Bull’s Head if visiting, otherwise roadside.
  • Refreshments:
    • Bull’s Head, Barston (01676 442830)
    • Ye Olde Saracen’s Head Balsall Common (01676 533862)
  • Maps: OS Explorer 221 or Landranger 139
  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Stiles: 2 (not 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 April 2024

 

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Walk Instructions

Section A

Turn left down road from the Bull's Head car park to find footpath on your right by St.Swithin's Church. Go through gate into churchyard, then keep to left of church and go ahead to take wooden kissing gate in corner. Continue between fences to then go half left to find wooden kissing gate in far corner (ignore gate on your right.) Continue between hedges to take metal kissing gate into field. Bear half right to go diagonally across field passing just to the right of a single tree in centre of field then take gap ahead. Go along edge of large field with hedge and trees left. Continue through gated gap ahead then bear right to cross footbridge over River Blythe. On the other side of the footbridge go immediately left then right through small wooded area to find and take stile into field. Go with wire fence and wood right to take kissing gate in corner. Go immediately sharp left to walk along narrow track in shallow gully between wire fences to find metal kissing gate. Take the gate and cross gap to take the other kissing gate and continue along tree lined path eventually entering small field. Continue ahead with hedge and trees left to exit field by low fence gap. Go right on driveway of isolated house (with interesting eyebrow roof feature) to reach road. Go left on road for 250 yards to find wide gap on right with Public Footpath sign.

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St. Swithin's Church
Barston

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Timber House
Balsall Common

Section B

Take gap and after just 15 paces cross hidden stream on left into field. Go with stream right, then left across small field to hedge corner diagonally opposite, aiming for a single tall Poplar tree, where you will find a field corner waypost.  Pass Poplar and continue for some while uphill with hedge left. At top of field go right on wide track staying in same field. Go with hedge left to exit first field by far corner gap by Oak tree. Just before the end of the next field, find a large waymarked gap in left hedge. Here, footpaths cross.Turn right joining the Millennium Way with our distinctive waymarkers and go down field to find stile at bottom left.  Take stile and go ahead across field taking mid field bridge then forward to exit field by hedge gap.

Once through the gap continue uphill with hedge right and wire fence left to pass through corner gap (with defunct stile) and stay with hedge right to take corner gap to road. Take care when crossing this busy road. Go left along road passing houses right. Just before Ye Olde Saracen's Head pub turn right into Magpie Lane passing Jessamine Cottage, then after 20 paces take waymarked metal kissing gate right. Go around fenced field edge with hedge left and fence right (ignorng any gates right in fence), eventually 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.

Section C

Here we have reached a crossroads of paths and will leave the Millennium Way by first taking the gap at the corner and then going right to continue down edge of next field with hedge and trees right to again pass under the same power lines (you can see Barston Church on horizon in trees from now on). Exit this large field to road at field corner via kissing gate. Cross the very busy main road with care and take kissing gate opposite, then ahead across field to pass mid field yellow topped waypost. Stay forward and on reaching the River Blythe bear right keeping the river and tall hedge left. As the path swings right at the field corner you will find another waypost. At this point go left, very shortly to reach a footbridge. Cross footbridge to next field, then go diagonally quarter right towards church tower and exit field via mid fence stile or open gate. Keep ahead up next field with hedge left and exit by corner wooden kissing gate back towards the churchyard. Go past church to road then turn left back to The Bull's Head.

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River Blythe

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

by Andy Botherway

Barston

Barston  lies in a bend of the river Blythe, which surrounds it on all sides but the north. It is under the flightpath for Birmingham International Airport so you will see several airplanes, normally coming into land.

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Timber framed houses

The village was in the hands of the Knights Templars in the 12thcentury, then the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (Knights Hospitallers) in the 13th century.

The village has some fine historic buildings, some timber-framed (see picture).

St. Swithin’s church dates from 1721, built on the site of an earlier church.

The footballer Robbie Keane owned a house in Barston whilst playing for Coventry City F.C. in the 1990s.

Balsall Common

Balsall Common is situated at the heart of the West Midlands green belt area known as the Meriden Gap, between Solihull and Coventry, and is thus subject to strict planning regulations. Therefore the village has so far not witnessed rapid growth.

Several Premiership and Championship footballers live (and have lived) in Balsall Common, especially those playing with Coventry City, Birmingham City and Aston Villa. Including John Sillett, Trond Egil Soltvedt and Trevor Francis in the late 1970s.

Ye Olde Saracen's Head Inn

Ye Olde Saracen’s Head Inn - Balsall Common - half way round our route - is a 16th century building, part of a number of scattered groups of 16th and 17th century buildings across the village of Balsall Common. The main part of the residential area is 20th century, a commuter village for Birmingham, following the arrival of the railway at nearby Berkswell station.

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Ye Olde Saracen's Head
Balsall Common

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Bull's Head Pub
Barston

Bull's Head Inn

Bull’s Head Inn - Barston - the start and end of our route.

This is a lovely unspoilt village pub with large gardens and a few Boutique bedrooms. It was local Camra Pub of the Year in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2009, 2011 & 2012 and has been in the guide for 20 consecutive years.

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