Walk 12
5 mile Circular Walk from Balsall Common 

Balsall Common Map 

Points of Interest.GPS File.

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This gentle 5 mile circular walk starts from Ye Old Saracens Head pub, on the B4101 near Balsall Common and meanders across mostly flat farmland & open countryside. Take time to explore Berkswell with it's historic church, in particular the fascinating underground crypt, find the village green and the stocks. For more information click on the information icon.

Park at Ye Old Saracens Head at Balsall Common where refreshment might be welcome after the walk. For the first part of the walk, you will enjoy the delights of The MILLENNIUM WAY where you will be guided by the distinctive black Millennium Way waymarkers.

Ye Old Saracens Hotel

Please NoteThe proposed route of the HS2 rail link may affect some of the footpaths on this circular walk. Properly signed diversions may be encountered at times and our advice is to follow these diversions until such time the work is completed. Any updates from walkers regarding HS2 disruption would be much appreciated. Please advise us via the    " contact us " tab on our home page.

As at 11 May 2020 we have introduced a modified route for part of the Millennium Way ( in bold type ) affecting sections A & B and will provide an updated GPX file to reflect these changes. Please note that this modified route will not be reflected on the Ordnance Survey maps until it becomes clear what permanent changes might be required when HS2 work is completed. The diversion is clearly marked with the black Millennium Waymarkers so should be easy to follow.

AWe begin our walk from Ye Old Saracens Head (01676 533862). Turn left out of the pub car park then after 250 yards cross road at driveway of black and white house and go over stile. Here you see the first distinctive black Millennium Way waymarker. Go with hedge left to take damaged stile in corner and continue with hedge left. Go through narrow hedge gap and continue forward to cross bridge over stream in middle, 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 to continue round with hedge left and then through corner gap taking footbridge and metal gate. Stay up next field with fence left to reach top left corner. Turn left through kissing gate and keeping fence on right, go through kissing gate at end to enter field. Go along edge of field keeping hedge and trees on left to take stile into lane. Turn right into lane then after 50 yards cross stile on left into field. Follow edge of field with hedge right ( do not take diagonal path ) to top, go through hedge gap on right and follow track half right, keeping hedge on left, across railway line and field, until reaching stile onto A452 dual carriageway.

Quiet LanesB Turn left along dual carriageway for approx 230 yards to reach New Mercote Farm on left, cross the dual carriageway here when safe, and take kissing gate next to metal gate on right. Follow track round and through sturdy fencing across path of HS2 route, reaching junction with further fenced track where we leave the Millennium Way. Go right, pass through a small wood and follow track across large field towards Berkswell. You will pass Berkswell Hall and its lake on left, to go through a small wood to reach a gate. At the gate go left then over footbridge crossing a small stream and take the long boardwalk towards Church. At the end of the boardwalk go through two kissing gates, then a further gate, to enter churchyard. Go past St John Baptist Church (the crypt is worth a visit) then turn right just past the school going 40 paces to road. Cross road and find public footpath between houses.

Stunning TreesC Go along the footpath, between fences, to take wooden kissing gate into field and stay ahead with hedge right. Take kissing gate into next field and then kissing gate into following field. Continue with hedge right to take further kissing gate right, then go with hedge left. At corner follow field edge around right, then take kissing gate to continue up field with trees and fence left towards farm buildings. At the top take kissing gate ( or adjacent gated gap ) and bear left, through a second kissing gate to the left of the large barn ( permissive route.)  Go around back of this large barn and then take stile right to go left down farm track. At end of farm track join lane. Go right on lane and continue round left hand bend and after a further 100 yards take footpath right through kissing gate to field. Stay with hedge left to take double stiles footbridge, then bear diagonally right to reach hedge opposite. Turn right when you reach the hedge then continue along edge of field keeping hedge left to reach a group of tall conifers near the field corner. Take kissing gate in corner and stay ahead on narrow grassy path between hedges to pass in front of buildings left. Exit building area by right corner gap to reach steps to road.

D Go left on road ( watch for traffic ) crossing railway bridge then cross over roundabout to take waymarked footpath through metal gate right. Go up steps into sports field through kissing gate and follow in the direction of the yellow waymarker on gate, keeping around right edge of field to far side towards tall green mobile phone mast. On reaching far side of field walk left and pass through a gate on right onto a well defined narrow footpath through some overgrowth. Take this narrow footpath keeping coppice left then go through two gates to reach the main road.

Berkswell ChurchE Go left along  main road to reach petrol station, at this point cross over main road into driveway of Premier Inn, after some 10 paces take waymarked footpath left. Continue along narrow grassy path between houses to reach road. Turn right and go 150 yards to take kissing gate left. Stay ahead across centre of field to take footbridge and kissing gate to next field then go diagonally 1/2 right across field to reach tall hedge / trees and then go left, keeping hedge right. Follow hedge to corner of field then go left, keeping hedge right, and take stile ( or gated gap ) to right of lone tree. Go immediately right here through gap into field to continue along right edge of field keeping hedge right, then cross stile and take footbridge and kissing gate into next field and stile just ahead. Stay gently up field with wire fence right to take kissing gate in corner and proceed up the field with hedge and fence right keeping ahead towards houses. Take kissing gate to main road and cross over to arrive back at Ye Old Saracens Head.

Points of Interest - What to know and what to see.... by Andy Botherway

Saracen’s Head Inn

This hostelry 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.

Hall Across Lake BerkswellBerkswell Hall - the lake and hall

A 19th century country house, now converted into residential apartments. Grade II* listed. A manor house has existed since 1556 but the present house dates from 1815. Between 1815 and 1860 it was a school, but restored as a house and sold to Joshua Wheatley in 1888. In 1984 the estate was sold for redevelopment but the surrounding land is still owned by the Wheatley family.


Ram HallBerkswell

An interesting village with a lot of history.

For detailed notes on the features and history of the village, see the ‘points of interest’ notes for walk East from Berkswell.

Ram Hall, which is passed about 800m southeast of the village, was built about 1600 and is grade II* listed. The early staircase is said to conceal a priest’s hole.

Lavender Hill FarmLavender Hall Farm (picture left), also grade II* listed, is a 16th century building, refaced in red brick in the 17th century.

Balsall Common

The village 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.

Famous residents

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, 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 is Paddy Doyle who holds numerous endurance world records.