Circular Walk around Leamington Spa, Millenium Way

This easy circular town walk can be completed in under two hours, but it is better to take at least a half day, so that you can explore some of the monuments, historical sites along the way, linger in the attractive parks, visit the museum and cafe in the Pump Rooms and enjoy the tranquillity of the Grand Union Canal and River Leam. This is walk 13 from the 44 composing the Millenium Way.

Technical sheet
No. 23237948
A Royal Leamington Spa walk posted on 22/06/22 by BarryDurman. Update : 22/06/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h05[?]
Distance Distance : 4.54mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 23ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 26ft
Highest point Highest point : 210ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 167ft
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : No
Walking Walking
Location Location : Royal Leamington Spa
Starting point Starting point : N 52.290356° / W 1.519289°
Ending point Ending point : N 52.290319° / W 1.517214°
Download : -

Description

Start: Newbold Comyn Arms, Leamington Spa CV32 4EW. Grid Ref: SP329 659

(D/A) Exit from the car park adjacent to the Newbold Comyn Arms, and turn right (West) on Newbold Terrace East in the direction of Leamington to go past the Newbold Comyn Leisure Centre on your left. You have now joined the Millennium Way. Walk on the wide tarmac footpath on the left side of the road.

(1) Watch for Newbold Terrace East cul-de-sac on the right then, after the trees end on your left go diagonally 1/2 left (South-West) across a grassy strip to walk with shrubs and trees left.

At the corner, by a waypost, enter the tree line and follow the path left down to the corner gap to Willes Road. Cross the road carefully and take the entrance opposite into Jephson Gardens Riverside Walk. Continue on the path ahead, passing the Aviary Cafe and Garden Glasshouse (entry is free) keeping to the right of the lake, to exit opposite the Royal Pump Rooms onto B4087.

Take the unusual Rainbow Pedestrian Crossing and go left (South) on B4087 road, passing the famous stone water fountain, to go over the bridge and take the first road right (the unsigned Spencer Street) opposite All Saints Parish Church.

(2) Then go left onto Lower Avenue, passing under the railway bridge to find the junction of roads with A425. Go straight across to take the right-hand side of Tachbrook Road. After 50 yards, before the brow of the bridge, take entry to the towpath on your right.

Turn right (West) onto the towpath (do not go under Bridge 41) and go along this pleasant section of the Grand Union Canal. After ½ mile go under the footbridge 42 and turn immediately right (North), leaving the Millennium Way to meet the main road (A452). Walk right to cross the road via pedestrian crossing, then left back towards the roundabout and follow the pavement, turning right down (North) Princes Drive.

Stay on the wide pavement down Princes Drive under the railway bridge, past Foundry Wood, to reach the viaduct spanning the roundabout. (Alternative start)

(3) Go under the right-hand arch of the viaduct and cross over Park Drive via the pedestrian crossing. Enter Victoria Park immediately ahead, then take the left-hand path towards the play area. Just after the skatepark take a short path left to reach the riverside path.

Stay with River Leam on your left and pass the play area, the riverside cafe and the immaculate bowling greens. Shortly the path forks so take the left fork to go under the road bridge (A452) using the short tunnel. Continue on the path until you descend the flight of steps.

(4) Turn immediately left (North-Est) across the bridge, then right (East) to continue now with river right. Follow the path with the rear of Royal Pump Rooms and cafe on your right to reach the main road (B4087) and turn right, once again passing the same drinking fountain (get a hot sausage roll at Londis over the bridge?).

Pass All Saints Parish Church and The Old Library pub on the other side of the road. Continue South-South-East ahead over busy traffic lights and under the railway bridge into Clemens Street, where you can see the first of several excellent murals. Keep ahead on the left of the road to find a bridge over the canal and just before the brow take the narrow gap left (East) and drop down onto the towpath of the Grand Union Canal to go left and walk with the canal right. Stay on the towpath for nearly a mile passing under bridges 38, 37(a) and 37 (The Fusilier pub and some takeaway shops are over the canal).

(5) As the canal bends right, keep a lookout for an exit left and take the steps down to join the main road (A425). Cross over safely and turn left (West-North-West) continuing along the pavement with the hedge right. After 300 yards take the path right North (signed Riverside Walk) to walk through a small parking area.

Stay ahead to cross the wooden footbridge over picturesque River Leam to enter Leam Valley Local Nature Reserve. Immediately after the bridge and before the information board, go left keeping the river on your left. Where the track forks, stay left and take the metal kissing gate directly ahead, then cross a small bridge.

(6) Here you leave the river as it bends left and walk fairly steeply uphill to enter a childrens' play area. Continue through the play area, passing the red-painted swings on your left to reach the access road, then turn left (North-West). In a short while, you will arrive back at your starting point for refreshments at the Newbold Comyn Arms pub.(D/A)

Waypoints :
D : mi 0 - alt. 194ft - Newbold Comyn Arms
1 : mi 0.2 - alt. 210ft - Newbold Terrace East cul-de-sac
2 : mi 0.89 - alt. 187ft - Lower Avenue
3 : mi 1.82 - alt. 174ft - Viaduct
4 : mi 2.41 - alt. 180ft - Bridge
5 : mi 3.83 - alt. 184ft - Grand Union Canal
6 : mi 4.29 - alt. 184ft - Small bridge
A : mi 4.54 - alt. 190ft

Useful Information

Start: Newbold Comyn Arms, Leamington Spa CV32 4EW. Grid Ref: SP329 659
Parking: Car Park opposite Leisure Centre
Maps: OS Explorer 221 or Landranger 151
Stiles: none
Refreshments:

  • Newbold Comyn Arms by walk start (01926 338810) which serves breakfast rolls Tuesday-Sat 10-12am,
  • Numerous cafes and pubs along the route

There are numerous opportunities for refreshment along the route or you may prefer to complete the walk and try the Newbold Comyn Arms. For the first part of the walk, you will enjoy a section of the Millennium Way where it passes through Leamington Spa.

You can make this a 9 mile walk by starting at the public carpark at Waypoint (3) and adding our Warwick Circular afterwards or prior.

More information at the More information at Millenium Way website here.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

Points of Interest - What to know and what to see.... by Andy Botherway

In 2021 several excellent pieces of artwork appeared along the stretch of canal which you use on this circular. Banksy has a local rival. It is a real highlight of the walk, especially the cat which is better viewed on your phone camera.

  • In the Domesday Book Leamington Spa was called Laminstone and in later medieval times as Leamington Priors, both names being taken from the River Leam. The Pump Rooms at the far end of Jephson Gardens were built in 1814 and were state of the art with the worlds first gravity feed hot water system. This innovation soon gained the town its Spa status and the young Princess Victoria visited in 1830 and must have been impressed as, on coming to the throne in 1837, she granted the Royal prefix in 1838. Napoleon III of France lived in exile in Leamington in 1838 (not many French people know that).
  • Jephson Gardens are named after Dr. Henry Jephson who promoted the healing properties of the spa thus ensuring the town’s growth. In the park is a Corinthian styled temple inside of which is a statue of the good doctor. Dr. Hitchman is remembered in a fountain as he commissioned the temple and employed the poor of the town to build it. Edward Willes who donated the land is remembered with an obelisk and indeed by the road you must cross at the eastern end of the park. The tea rooms used to be an aviary, but were rebuilt with funding from Cadburys. The subtropical greenhouse was built with Heritage Lottery money. A significant memorial stands for the Czech forces stationed in Leamington during WW2. A three times mayor of the town Councillor Davis is commemorated with a clock tower. Czech ForcesPerhaps visit the sub tropical glasshouse, known as the Temperate House which, it is claimed, seeks to represent plant evolution from 500 million years ago.
  • The Grand Junction Canal was built between 1793 and 1805 and after the acquisition and amalgamations of several companies along the route from Birmingham to London, it became the Grand Union. Near point C you will notice the canal bears off to the left and goes under a new bridge. In the 1980’s the main Old Warwick Road was widened and the canal was moved for a distance of 400m to allow for the building of the roundabout. The Moorings pub off that roundabout recreates the old world of life on the canals. The canal crosses under the GWR line to Birmingham Snow Hill built by Brunel and secondly the River Avon - looking east on the river bridge towards the town you just cannot see the confluence of the Leam and Avon!
  • On the bridge at the end of the Pump Rooms is a small stone drinking fountain from which you can sometimes partake of the spa waters - it's not particularly nice and tastes of sulphur. At the junction of Spencer Street and Lower Avenue look right beyond The Manor House. In the gardens the game of lawn tennis was invented in 1872 by Major Harry Gem, a Birmingham solicitor.
  • The railways came to Leamington in 1844 (London North Western Railway) and 1852 (Great Western Railway). In March 1851 the LNWR opened another branch, this time from Rugby, which ran through Leamington and made an end-on connection to the Coventry branch at Milverton. Although the new line ran briefly parallel to the route of the Great Western Railway's Birmingham to Oxford line, which was then under construction in southern Leamington, and within spitting distance of the more central GWR station which opened in 1852, the LNWR did not open a station of its own alongside the GWR station until February 1854. This was evidently a somewhat hastily constructed timber affair - a more permanent brick-built station followed in 1860. The Coventry line closed under Beeching but the evidence of the old bridges are adjacent to the current main line north of the bridge in Lower Avenue.

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