Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Canal Walk – Mary Vale Rd to Lifford Lane

I like the canal system in Birmingham. I used to cycle along it quite often with my brother and father, from Northfield to Selly Oak and back. One day soon I hope to pluck up the courage (and get my wheels straightened) and then embark on a bike ride! But until then I shall make do with walking. This route took me from Bournville railway station in Stirchley to Lifford, where I left the towpath to go and find Lifford Lake.  The route continues towards King’s Norton junction along the Birmingham and Worcester Canal. This short stretch of canal featured on a BBC show, Canal Walks, with Juila Bradbury.

To get onto this part of the canal, I walked up Mary Vale Road from Stirchley high street (Pershore Road). The way onto the towpath is indicated with a purple arch; it also the way into platform 2 of the railway station. There is an information board about transport in Stirchley and the panels on the barrier also have etchings. When you get to the bottom of the ramp, turn back on yourself so you go under the bridge.

This is a nice walk, away from the hustle and bustle of Stirchley high street. I saw geese, ducks and a heron when I walked it. It is a relatively level route and is well surfaced. I encountered a few cyclists on my walk so be prepared to move aside! Fishing is not allowed down here due to the overhead wires for the trains and local power station.

There is a small bridge to cross, when you go under the next bridge which takes the Pershore Road over the canal. The bridge for the canal runs alongside and slightly below the main pedestrian bridge so you do not need to go onto the highway to cross the canal. There are some steps to allow access to the main road, or you can go down the slope and continue along the canal.

At Lifford Lane, I left the canal network. If you choose to carry on, the towpath (now on the other side of the canal) will take you down to the King’s Norton Junction, where the Stratford Upon Avon Canal joins. Turn left at the junction to see the guillotine lock, continue straight on to get to Wast Hills tunnel, or turn right to go through King’s Norton Park.

The above picture shows the underside of the bridge that carries Lifford Lane over the canal. This is where I left the towpath. The towpath continues on the other side towards King's Norton Junction, or you could leave here and find Lifford Lake.

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