Rivers and Streams


Former Water Mills

Along the rivers and streams there over 90 former water mill sites.  They are all marked on the map.

The best working example is Sarehole Mill on the River Cole.  Newhall Mill in Newhall Valley is also worth a visit.

Rea Valley Millenium Route (Signposted National Cycle Route 5)

This runs from the city centre near the Hippodrome out to Cannon Hill Park and south  towards Kings Norton and Waseley Hills Country Park.  From Longbridge it is possible to cycle via Cofton Park to the Lickey Hills, and catch the train back from Barnt Green.

Sandwell Valley

This lies on National Cycle Route 5.  Head from the city centre along the Birmingham Canal towards Wolverhampton.  Stay on the New Main Line. (Telfords Canal - the lower left one in the deep cutting)  Between Galton Tunnel and Galton Bridge turn right and follow the signposts.  National Route 5 goes through Sandwell Valley crossing  both the River Tame Way and the Tame Valley Canal near Rushall Junction.  If you follow the River Tame Way to Perry Hall Park stay on the south side of the river; - parts of this are better suited to walking.  It could be a wonderful route but the paths need improving.  A pedestrian crossing is needed on the Walsall Road.

North Birmingham Route

From underneath Spaghetti Junction (Salford Junction) head west along the Tame Valley Canal on Sustrans Route 535, leave the canal at Deykin Avenue Bridge, and then follow signposts through Brookvale Park to Banners Gate at Sutton Park.  This route is well signposted. 

Newhall Valley Country Park

From Spaghetti Junction head east along the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal leaving at Egerton/ Berwood Bridge and then head north through Sorrel Park and Pipe Hayes Park to Sutton Park - signposted Sustrans Route 534. This is a delightful route and should act as the benchmark/ gold standard  for all the city Greenway routes.  With the right level of investment it shows what can be achieved - but the  majority of the funds were not provided by the council 

Cole Valley Route 

From the Ackers Centre head east on the Grand Union Canal for a few minutes.  Go under the railway bridge and then head north before the Birmingham Recycling Centre along the side of the small river Cole.  Take care as you cross the busy Coventry Road into Hay Barn Recreation Ground. Follow the River Cole towards the northern end of Birmingham Airport and Marston Green.  Parts of the route are still like mown fields but are due for an upgrade soon.

Shire Country Park

From the Ackers Centre cross the small Sparkbrook near the reception centre and head south following the signposts towards the Chinn Brook and Trittiford Pool. You can follow the ChinnBrook or visit the delightful Trittiford Pool and then eventually join the Stratford upon Avon Canal but take care if you use the road. The safest route is across Chinn Brook Recreation Ground to join the canal at Warstock Lane bridge. 

Woodgate Valley Country Park

Laeve the Worcester Canal at Birmingham University or Selly Oak.  If you leave at the University pick up the path at the lower traffic island to the south of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on the new Selly Oak By-Pass.  Follow the Bourn Brook west.  (At the time of writing this path was not visible from the island.  It begins a few metres off the road.)  Take care when crossing the main roads en- route.    If you leave the canal at Selly Oak you need to head for Selly Oak Park.  Be careful of traffic here. In the park you can still see the remains of the old Lapal Canal.  It is hard to conceive that a canal once ran in a narrow tunnel not much wider than a large sewer pipe the whole length of Woodgate Valley.   This canal served as a link between the Worcester Canal and the Dudley No 2 Canal and was another attempt to bypass the monopoly of the Birmingham Canal Company providing a shorter route to the River Severn.  From Woodgate Valley you can cycle via Senneleys Park to Bartley Resevoir.  An alternative route is to cycle to the Woodgate Valley Visitor Centre,  through Woodgate to King Edward V1 Five Ways School and then around the southern perimeter of the resevoir.   This resevoir is the main water storage facility for Birmingham and the water is pumped all the way from the Elan Valley in Wales.   Bill Odie did some of his earliest bird watchiung here.  Head through Leyhill Rercreation Ground to join Merrits Brook Greenway.

Merrits Brook Greenway

Laeve the Worcester Canal near Bournville Railway Station.  Skirt Cadbury’s World, and head through Bournville Park before threading through the Valley Parkway and along Griffins Brook crossing the Bristol Road between Bournville College and the Othopaedic Hospital.  Follow Merrits Brook.  This is a lovely route which has recently been upgraded.  It enables you to reach Bartley Resevoir - see above.

Harborne Walkway  

This runs along a former railway line. It starts near Park Hill Road in Harborne and runs through Summerfield Park and then via minor roads and steps to the Birmingham Mainline Telford Canal. It also provides access to Edgbaston Resevoir.

Tyburn to Colehall

It appears possible to walk or cycle from the Newhall Valley to the Cole Valley via Tyburn and CastleVale.  This would be a very good link  However, as I have no experience of this route the best guide would be to consult the Birmingham City Council Cycling and Walking Map or an A to Z.


contact: rjwatson@birminghamcyclinggreenways.co.uk                                                  © 2015 Roy Watson