Circular Walk - Barston & Balsall Common, Millenium Way

A short circular walk from the picturesque village of Barston through the outskirts of Balsall Common. Enjoy open countryside and the delights of the Warwickshire landscape, while being very close to Birmingham. This is walk 4 from the 44 circulars composing the Millenium Way.

Technical sheet
No. 21380784
A Barston walk posted on 27/04/22 by BarryDurman. Update : 04/05/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h00[?]
Distance Distance : 4.1mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 131ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 151ft
Highest point Highest point : 394ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 305ft
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Barston
Starting point Starting point : N 52.400151° / W 1.696234°
Download : -


(D/A) Turn left (East) down the road (Barston Lane) out of The Bull's Head car park to find the footpath on your right (South) by St.Swithin's Church.

Go through the gate into the churchyard, then keep to the left of the church and go ahead to take the wooden kissing gate in the corner. Continue between the fences to then go half left to find wooden kissing gate in the far corner (ignore the gate on your right.)

(1) Continue between hedges to take the metal kissing gate into a field. Bear half right to go diagonally across field passing just to the right of a clump of two trees in centre of field then take gap ahead. Go along the edge of a large field with a hedge and trees left.

Continue through the gated gap ahead then bear right to cross a footbridge over a stream. On the other side of the footbridge go immediately left then right through a small wooded area to find and take a stile into a field. There may be friendly, nosey cows in this section.

Go with a wire fence and the wood right to take the kissing gate in the corner. Go immediately sharp left to walk along narrow track in a shallow gully between wire fences to find a metal kissing gate. Take the gate and cross the gap to take the other kissing gate and continue along the tree-lined path eventually entering small field.

Continue ahead with the hedge and trees left to exit the field by the low fence gap. Go right on a driveway of an isolated house (with interesting eyebrow roof feature) to reach a road (Barston Lane).

(2) Go left on the road for some 250 yards to find a gap by an unused stile on right. Take the gap and after 10 paces cross the hidden stream on left into the field. Go with stream right, then left (North-East) across a small field to the hedge corner diagonally opposite, aiming for a single tall Poplar tree, where you will find a field corner waypost. Continue for some while with hedge left up field passing the Poplar.

(3) At top of the field go right (South-East) down the track (ignore stile to the road) staying in the same field. Go with the hedge left to exit the first field by the far corner gap by the Oak tree. Just before the end of the next field, find a large waymarked gap in left hedge.

Here, turn right (South-West) and go down the field to find the stile at the bottom left (you have now joined the Millennium Way where you will be guided by the black and white waymarkers). Take the stile and go ahead across the field taking a mid field bridge then forward to exit the field by the hedge gap.

Once through the gap continue uphill with hedge right and a wire fence left to pass through a corner gap (with defunct stile) and stay with the hedge right to take the corner stile/gap to the road. Take care when crossing this busy road (B4101).

(4) Go left along the road passing houses on your right. Just before Ye Olde Saracen's Head pub turn right (South-West) into Magpie Lane passing Jessamine Cottage, then after a few paces take a waymarked metal kissing gate right.

Go around the fenced field edge with the hedge left and the fence right (ignoring any gates right in fence), eventually to reach the kissing gate to Magpie Lane. Go left on the lane and after approx 90 paces take stile or the open gate on the right. Go with the hedge right and then copse right to follow round to the large open field.

(5) Go straight down across the centre of the field to take the footbridge and a kissing gate ahead. Continue ahead over the field to find a further kissing gate then ahead, passing the short length of hedge left, to hedge stile. Take the stile and go ahead with the hedge left under power lines to corner gap.

Here we have reached a crossroads of paths and will leave The Millennium Way by taking the gap at the corner and going right (North-North-West) to continue along the edge of the next field with hedge and trees right to again pass under the same power lines and exit the large field to the road (B4101) at field corner via kissing gate.

(6) Cross the very busy main road with care and take kissing gate opposite, then ahead across the field to pass a mid field yellow topped waypost. Stay forward and on reaching the River Blythe bear right keeping the river and tall hedge left. As the path swings right you will find another waypost. At this point go left very shortly to reach a footbridge.

(7) Cross the footbridge to the next field, then go diagonally quarter right towards the church tower and exit the field via mid fence stile or open gate. Keep ahead up next field with hedge left and exit by corner wooden kissing gate back towards the churchyard. Go past the church to the road (Barston Lane) then turn left back to The Bull's Head. (D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 390ft - The Bull's Head
1 : mi 0.12 - alt. 374ft - Hedges
2 : mi 0.9 - alt. 328ft - Barston Lane
3 : mi 1.35 - alt. 367ft - Poplar
4 : mi 2.09 - alt. 364ft - B4101
5 : mi 2.62 - alt. 318ft - Open field
6 : mi 3.28 - alt. 322ft - B4101
7 : mi 3.71 - alt. 312ft - River Blythe - Footbridge
D/A : mi 4.1 - alt. 394ft - The Bull's Head

Useful Information

The walk incorporates a short section of the Millennium Way, where you will be guided by the distinctive black and white waymarkers.

Start: Bull’s Head, Barston B92 0JU.
Start Grid Ref: SP 207 781
Car park : Parking: Bull’s Head if visiting, otherwise roadside.
Maps: OS Explorer 221 or Landranger 139
Stiles: 2 (not dog friendly)
Refreshments: Bull’s Head, Barston (01676 442830) and Ye Olde Saracen’s Head Balsall Common (01676 533862)

More information at

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

  • Barston lies in a bend of the river Blythe, which surrounds it on all sides but the north. It is under the flightpath for Birmingham International Airport so you will see several airplanes, normally coming into land.
  • The village was in the hands of the Knights Templars in the 12th century, then the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (Knights Hospitallers) in the 13th century.

The village has some fine historic buildings, some timber-framed. St. Swithin’s church dates from 1721, built on the site of an earlier church. The footballer Robbie Keane owned a house in Barston whilst playing for Coventry City F.C. in the 1990s.

  • Balsall Common is situated at the heart of the West Midlands green belt area known as the Meriden Gap, between Solihull and Coventry, and is thus subject to strict planning regulations. Therefore the village has so far not witnessed rapid growth.

Several Premiership and Championship footballers live (and have lived) in Balsall Common, especially those playing with Coventry City, Birmingham City and Aston Villa. Including John Sillett, Trond Egil Soltvedt, Trevor Francis in the late 1970s, Lee Carsley and Robbie Keane.

  • Ye Olde Saracen’s Head Inn - Balsall Common - half way round our route - is a 16th century building, part of a number of scattered groups of 16th and 17th century buildings across the village of Balsall Common. The main part of the residential area is 20th century, a commuter village for Birmingham, following the arrival of the railway at nearby Berkswell station.
  • Bull’s Head Inn - Barston - the start and end of our route. This is a lovely unspoilt village pub with large gardens and a few Boutique bedrooms. It was local Camra Pub of the Year in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2009, 2011 & 2012 and has been in the guide for 20 consecutive years.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.