Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Local Explorer Walk – King’s Norton and West Heath

Based around Merecroft Pool, Wychall Reservoir and West Heath park.

I’ve wanted to find Merecroft Pool for a while, in order to blog about it, but then as I was getting ready to go for a walk, I found a Local Explorer Walks leaflet in my drawer, and I decided to follow the walk that has Merecroft Pool as its focus. I have already covered half of the walk in previous posts – it follows the River Rea route past Wychall Reservoir and behind Wychall Road – so this post may sound familiar if you’ve read the other ones!

I started this route at Merecroft Pool itself, near the entrance to King’s Norton Nature Reserve on Beaks Hill Road. As this route is circular, you can start it anywhere! See my brilliant Google Earth route map for more information.

As I walked this route fairly recently, I can vouch for the need for the walker to be wearing either sturdy waterproof boots, or sturdy wellies! Most of the route around the pool was more mud than not and some of it was a few inches deep. The rest of the route is either along tarmacked walkways or on public roads. It is not really suitable for cyclists, wheelchairs or buggies around the pool, but the rest of the walk is. The route is about 2 miles long.

Merecroft Pool is a former millpond, and this area used to be farmed. It is now built up, suburban Birmingham, and a few houses around the pool have direct access from their gardens to the pool. You can read some more of the history over on the Friends of King’s Norton Nature Reserve website.

I walked this route in an anti-clockwise direction, following the Google Earth map view above. 

The paths are narrow and very muddy! They are not tarmacked and there are lots of low branches.

The route continues over the road and round to the left, back towards Wychall Reservoir. The route here is on a proper road surface.

Continue past Wychall Reservoir.

When you leave the River Rea path, you need to head up Staple Lodge Road until you reach West Heath Park. There are paths in the park, though if it has been raining you might prefer to walk up Oddingley Road. Follow the route (it basically follows the line of Oddingley Road) through the park.

 If you do walk through the park, you will come to a set of steps. Follow these, and they will bring you out on Vardon Way.

Continue walking in a straight line, down some alleyways, and you will end up back at the pool!

There are a number of ways of getting here; the 47 goes past and stops near the field on Wychall Lane, as does the 49. King’s Norton railway station is nearby. There is no parking and no visitor facilities. Please take rubbish with you. I didn’t time how long the walk took me, but I walk fairly quickly. The leaflet suggests an hour.

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