THIS enjoyable walk, which is partly in Warwickshire and partly in the borough of Solihull, has some features in common with last week’s walk around Defford, Croome and Besford in Worcestershire.

For instance, there is a National Trust property set in parkland, a stretch of the Millennium Way and several flowering meadows.

There, however, the resemblance ends. Where last week’s walk was an obstacle course in places, reflecting badly on the local authority and some (not all) landowners, this one couldn’t be easier.

There are no problems whatsoever on these paths, which are well-maintained and, as a result, well-used – much to the benefit, incidentally, of local publicans and shopkeepers.

Dorridge Park, the winner of a Green Flag award in 2010, makes an attractive starting point.

Extending over 21 hectares, it includes ancient semi-natural woodland, ancient hedgerows, recently planted woods and hedges, wildflower meadows and wetlands.

Designated a Local Nature Reserve and Site of Importance for Nature Conservation, it also has amenities such as children’s play areas and picnic tables.

It’s only a short walk from Dorridge Park to Packwood, where the National Trust’s Packwood House is well worth a visit.

It requires a detour of 350m (each way) from the route described. It’s a part-Tudor, part-Jacobean farmhouse which was restored in the Tudor style in the 1920s by Baron Ash and is set in beautiful gardens and parkland.

The public footpaths used in this walk cross part of the park but visitors to the house (there is an entrance fee, except for National Trust members) may also explore the parkland to the west of it, where there is a lake with resident wildfowl.

Two canals are also included in the walk, the Grand Union and the Stratford. The two meet at Kingswood Junction, a popular place with visitors. It has several of the features which make the Stratford Canal so distinctive, including miniature locks, castiron split bridges and barrel-roofed cottages.

There are picnic tables by the junction, pubs and shops nearby and an interesting canal-side shop by bridge 33. Further north, towards Hockley Heath, two unusual drawbridges span the canal.


Start: Dorridge Station, grid ref SP169748, or Dorridge Park, grid ref SP167744 (marked as Packwood Gullet on Explorer maps). Dorridge is just to the south of Solihull.

Length: 9½ miles/15km maximum (including Dorridge Station and Packwood House).

Maps: OS Explorer 220, OS Landranger 139.

Terrain: Pasture, parkland, meadows, towpath, no hills.

Footpaths: Hard to fault.

Stiles: Seven.

Parking: Dorridge Park.

Public transport: London Midland trains operate direct to Dorridge from Worcester; alternatively, to go by bus, take 144 to Birmingham then X20 to Hockley Heath (on Sundays, take 166 to Stratford, then X20); bustimetables or 01905 765765, or 01926 412987, or 08457 484950.

Refreshments: Dorridge, Lapworth, Kingswood Junction, Hockley Heath.


1 If starting from Dorridge Station, turn left down Station Approach, left on Grange Road then left on Arden Road, which leads to Dorridge Park. The car park is at the end of Arden Road, next to Dorridge Park. Look for a fingerpost indicating a footpath and follow it across the park, past picnic tables, to a footbridge, beyond which a boardwalk and then a well-used path lead through wetlands and meadows to Windmill Lane. Turn left, then soon left again on Mill Pool Lane.

After 350m turn right on a bridleway which leads back to Windmill Lane. Turn left.

2 Bear right onto Vicarage Road and cross to a footpath. Walk across three fields then turn right at the far side of the third field to St Giles’s Church. Turn left through the churchyard then left on the Millennium Way, which crosses meadows to Packwood Road. Turn right, then take a path on the left which enters National Trust parkland. Follow the welltrodden path across the park, ignoring stiles and gates on the left, to meet an avenue of oak and horse chestnut trees, Packwood Avenue. Turn left here to continue with the walk. However, if you’re visiting Packwood House, first turn right instead. Having visited the property, retrace your steps to this point and proceed to a road.

3 Turn right, then left, leaving the Millennium Way and walking towards Uplands Farm.

Turn right just before the first buildings and follow the waymarks through the grounds and across a meadow to rejoin the Millennium Way, which goes left to meet Rising Lane. Turn left and keep straight on at all junctions, crossing Station Road (Lapworth) and ignoring the Millennium Way when it turns left. Meet the Grand Union Canal at Rising Bridge (66) and turn right on the towpath.

4 At the first of two canal junctions at Kingswood cross bridge 37 of the Stratford Canal and turn right to follow the towpath to the next junction. Following signs for King’s Norton, not Stratford, walk along the towpath for about 2- and-a-half miles to bridge 25. Leave the canal here, going past the Wharf Tavern to meet Stratford Road at Hockley Heath. Turn left towards Birmingham. After 350m turn right on the B4101, Aylesbury Road. When the road bends sharp right keep straight on along a footpath which leads through meadows. Ignore branching paths and eventually bear right to Grange Road.

5 Turn left, then cross to a path on the right. After 200m fork left and walk through fields and young woods to reach Windmill Lane. Go through the gate opposite and retrace your steps to Dorridge. If returning to the rail station you can do so by a slightly different route by taking one of the paths which leads through Dorridge Wood or the adjacent meadows to meet Arden Drive close to its junction with Arden Road.

Worcester News recommends the use of OS Explorer Maps, your ideal passport to navigating the countryside. This walk is based on OS Explorer 220.