Canals and Lakes in a Circular Walk from Tamworth

I started my walk today by picking up the Coventry Canal in Kettlebrook, Tamworth, which is just over a mile from my front door.  I walked along the Canal to Fazeley Junction and sat down on one of the benches beside the canal for a very welcome cup of tea. I have started taking a flask of tea with me on my longer walks.

Fazeley Junction

Fazeley Junction

I watched the swans for a while and then set off along the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal towards Kingsbury Water Park. This canal continues right into the heart of Birmingham, but that is an 18 mile walk in one direction, so maybe that will be another walk.

The paths were quite firm and dry with very little mud, which is great.

I have noticed that canal paths tend to be a very direct route from one place to another and seem to me to be shorter than following the same routes by car.

It is very interesting to see how my view point of the landscape changes as I am now seeing the same spaces and routes from a completely different perspective.

I have become quite fascinated by the different architecture of the various bridges across the canal, including this one, which is a foot bridge at Drayton Bassett, just beyond Drayton Manor Theme Park. It has a little turret at each end, with precariously winding stone steps.

Drayton Footbridge, Birmingham and Fazeley Canal

Drayton Footbridge, Birmingham and Fazeley Canal

 

Spiral Stone Staircase Drayton FootBridge

Spiral Stone Staircase Drayton FootBridge

I walked along until I came to the entrance to Middleton Lakes. This is a Nature Reserve and RSPB protected area. It is a wetland area that is home to a huge plethora of birds and, as such, is a birdwatcher and photographer’s paradise.

Middleton Lakes RSPB Nature Reserve, Staffordshire

Middleton Lakes RSPB Nature Reserve, Staffordshire

Not surprisingly, this was the wettest and muddiest part of the walk.

I had seen from my Ordnance Survey map that there should be a path around the outside, which crosses the river Tame and back up over to hill to Dosthill and then back to Tamworth.

Dosthill Mountainside, Tamworth, Staffordshire

Dosthill Mountainside, Tamworth, Staffordshire

I walk almost an extra mile trying to find this path. I went down a lot of paths through the wetland undergrowth that looked like proper paths and had the appearance that someone or something, that was bigger than a small animal, had used them regularly. They all ended up in muddy quagmires or with an impassable fence.

Long Grass Footpath around Middleton Lakes

Long Grass Footpath around Middleton Lakes

I eventually found the right path and walked up a large hill, which the map calls Dosthill Mountainside. The area is covered in trees and is a little piece of greenery that I did not know existed. The views from the top were spectacular. I had not realised how many lakes and ponds there are between Kingsbury Water Park and Tamworth, including Middleton Lakes in the middle.

View of Middleton Lakes from Dosthill Mountainside

View of Middleton Lakes from Dosthill Mountainside

I had planned to pick up the path that took me along by the old quarry and through fields, however I missed this and ended up walking back to Tamworth along the pavement. That last 3 miles walking on tarmac was very hard on my hips and knees.

I have also now discovered that you can walk from Dosthill back to Tamworth Park without touching the main road, although the paths come into the park in places that I would not have expected, which explains why I have missed them on previous occasions when I have tried to walk in the Dosthill direction.

It was quite a warm, sunny day, although it was chilly out of the sun. It was a hat-on, hat-off day and I found myself stopping every few hundred metres to either put my hat on because I was cold or to take it off because my head was sweating.

I walked just over 10 miles in total today.

Amanda

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