Sunday, 31 December 2017

31/12/17 - Heart of England Way - Stage 9 - Middleton

Distance - 9 Miles
Geocaches - 8
Previous Stages - Stage 1Stage 2Stage 3Stage 4Stage 5Stage 6Stage 7, Stage 8

Final outing of 2017 and I just about manage to fit in the monthly walk on the Heart of England Way.

Today, I start at Middleton, Warwickshire.  A quiet village with everything required, pub, church and shop.  Two our of the three amenities will come in useful, post bimble.

Fields take me to Drayton Basset.  A place without a pub.  A multi geocache at the church proves fruitless, as I am sure the clue items have been chopped down.  I was meant to collect data from information boards on trees but at GZ, there is just suspicious piles of sawdust.

Drayton Bassett Church
Drayton Bassett Church and GZ
More success at Drayton Swing bridge, where information is collated, plotted into the GPS and the prize is on my route along the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal.  Never made my way over a canal on a more picaresque crossing.

Drayton Swing Bridge
Up the spiral staircase and over the bridge...
Birmingham and Fazeley Canal
... for a couple of flat miles along the canal

The canal takes me to Kingsbury Water Park.  Plenty of paths available and many families taking advantage of them.

Kingsbury Water Park
Work your way through Kingsbury Water Park
Bodymoor Heath sounded familiar to me and the reason is revealed on arrival.  Aston Villa's training ground.  A rather flash Mercedes SUV is leaving as I cross the boundary but as I don't watch Championship football (this year, although the Baggies are keeping me on my toes), I fail to recognise if the young man driving was a first team regular.

Entering the Villa
The warnings get increasing officious - including no photograpghy
It's hard work getting back to Middleton - a new gravel pit has removed the old Right of Way detailed on my OS Map and I am forced to walk the perimeter in a pointless three sides of a rectangle fashion.  The reward is there.

The Green Man, Middleton
The Green Man, Middleton
The Green Man is the focal point of the village - dominated in the extension with dining tables but a nice little bar can be found at the front.   The Old Farmers having an early start to the New Year festivities dominate nearly all available space but I manage to squeeze in with my London Pride, rudely served in a Doom Bar Glass.

Pride in a Doom
Pride in Doom

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