Description of the Walk
1. Where to start
There are many points from where the Walk is readily accessible and a number of convenient car parks are indicated on the map. To aid description the route has been divided into six sections, each starting from a suitable point of access.
2. Half the Walk (Approximately 6.75 miles)
In order to complete approximately half the Walk and return to Bird Street Car Park, the recommended route across the City is from the point described in Section 5.
3. A route across the City
Some walkers will wish to start from a city centre car park and perhaps cover only part of the Walk. In order to minimise roadside walking the following cross city route, starting from Bird Street Car Park, can be followed.
Leave the car park via one of the gateways in the wall facing the Cathedral, gaining access to Pool Walk beside Minster Pool. Turn left following the path to the junction of Bird Street, then crossing the road enter Beacon Park by the Registry Office (former Library building). Proceed straight ahead beside the tennis courts then up to Bunkers Hill Car Park ( the starting point for the four organised walks), where turning right the pathway leads to the Western Bypass (A51). Cross to the path beside the church into Christchurch Lane. Turning right the Lane leads directly to the start of Section 3 of the route as shown on the map.
4. The return across the city.
From the tree lined dell cross the bridge leading to the fishing pools. Bear right and keeping the pool on the left eventually reach the remains of a stile in the corner of the field. A short steep bank enters the next field, where turning right the path leads to an area of young trees. Fork right, following the path as it runs parallel to the railway embankment, past a way marked stile, until the road is reached. Cross two stiles, follow the path up the field to a stile in the right hand corner for access to the railway footbridge. Cross the bridge into Chadswell Heights, turn left then bear right into Spring Road continuing until a gulley is reached, on the right hand side, giving access to Netherstowe Lane. Turn right and soon reach the junction with Eastern Avenue. Cross using the light controlled crossing and follow the footpath to the right, which leads to Netherstowe opposite Samuel Close. Turn left passing Purcell Avenue, Lichfield Social Club and a telephone kiosk, beyond which can be seen an established path through parkland. This runs beside Netherstowe School and into St. Chad’s Road. Cross the road to the steps up to Stowe Pool. The path to the right leads beyond the pool to Reeve Lane and into Dam Street and Pool Walk, then through to Bird Street Car Park.
5. The route of the Darwin Walk
Approximately 1.25 miles (0.5 roadside)
From Mallets Corner: the junction of Ryknild Street and Tamworth Road (A51)
Grid Ref. 132084
From Ryknild Street cross Tamworth Road via central reservation. Turn left and within a few yards a gap beside a yellow ‘Canal Restoration’ sign gives access to rough steps and a track above the busy A38. The track soon turns to the right and joins the canal restoration site. Follow the path through this ambitious project until Cricket Lane is reached. Cross Cricket Lane and continue straight ahead. The Walk is alongside the hedgerow running behind the shops and flats fronting on to Tamworth Road, leading to the old canal bridge where the path passes under London Road. The route continues through a pleasant open grassed area following the line of trees planted by children and grandparents in 1986, eventually joining Shortbutts Lane via a recently built housing development, Sanders Way, a few yards short of the railway bridge. Proceed under the bridge to Birmingham Road.
Approximately 1.25 miles (0.75 roadside)
From the junction of Fosseway and Birmingham Road (A5127)
Grid Ref. 114082
From Shortbutts Lane enter Fosseway and continue to Chesterfield Road. Turn right along Chesterfield Road and under the railway bridge. Cross Sainte Foy Avenue into Maxstock Avenue and proceed ahead via the footpath on the right, with the mature hedge on your left. Continue via Parnell Avenue and Sandfield Meadow into the open space of Cathedral Avenue, where straight ahead a tarmac path can be seen leading to the path alongside the balancing pools. Turn left on the path that runs beside the pools, soon passing a children’s playground on your left. Keep to the path as it turns to the right between the houses and soon reaches the Walsall Road. This is opposite Middle Lane, a path leading to Christchurch Lane. Throughout this built-up area the waymarkers are mostly located on the lighting poles.
Approximately 2.25 miles (0.75 roadside)
From Christchurch – Middle Lane junction with Walsall Road (A461)
Grid Ref . 107090
Upon entering Christchurch Lane turn left. At the point where the Lane turns back to Walsall Road the route follows a track to the right. This track is classified as a ‘Byway open to all traffic’ leading to the former Leomonsley Mill. When a fenced area by the pools is reached walkers are now directed to a pathway on the right leading to the kissing gate entrance to Pipe Green. Turn left and continue beyond the stream on the right, then proceed diagonally to the left towards the right hand edge of the woods on the far side of the field. The path now leads to a kissing gate leaving Pipe Green and soon entering Abnalls Lane. In Abnalls Lane turn right until a footpath sign and stile is reached on the left. Over the stile the path runs along the left hand side of the field until a gap into a second field is reached. Here the path continues with the hedge on the right to Cross in Hand Lane. Turn left and proceed until a break in the high bank on the right reveals a track between a garage and the drive entrance to a house. This bridle path leads to Stafford Road (A51). Cross the road, turn right and follow the roadside footpath as it turns left into Eastern Avenue, passing the Friary Grange School up to Grange Lane.
Approximately 2 miles
From Grange Lane and Eastern Avenue (A5192)
Grid Ref. 107108
Cross Grange Lane and climb the steps up the bank and into the plantation. Follow the winding path through the plantation passing the entrance to Lichfield Cricket and Hockey Club grounds. The path continues above and parallel to the road and descending crosses a small car park, then drops below the level of the road passing the entrance to a subway beneath Eastern Avenue. As the path rises again towards road level a footpath sign indicates the route to be taken to the left across a footbridge. The path rises to the top left hand corner of the field where it joins a wider track to the right in the next field leading towards Elmhurst. As the edge of the village is reached the route of the walk turns sharply to the right passing the orchard on the way down to Apsley House. Here a concrete driveway is joined and followed to the left to the point where it bends towards the village. On the right is a stile leading to the footbridge over the railway line. After crossing the railway bridge turn right to follow the fencing and cross two stiles around the culvert. Continue alongside the railway fencing until a metal gate is reached. Cross the field diagonally, keeping to the right of a finger post at a small fenced enclosure surrounding a spring. The line of the path continues ahead and with the hedgerow on the left, the corner of the field is reached. Here a kissing gate joins a path straight ahead, which then follows a hedge on the left around the edge of the field until a gate is reached giving access to Watery Lane opposite Curborough Hall Farm. Here there is an opportunity for refreshment at ‘Mabel’s Tea Room’.
Approximately 1.75 miles
From Curborough Hall Farm
Grid Ref. 125120
Cross the road and follow the driveway passing between the farm on the left and the car park on the right. Continue straight ahead along the drive until it swings to the left to Field House. Here a kissing gate beside a gateway leads to a tree lined dell and then crosses a bridge to the fishing pools. (walkers who wish to cover approximately half of the Walk, having started from Bird Street car park, will find a description of the return route under the heading ‘The return across the City’). Over the bridge turn left beside the first pool on the right. Ahead the path rises to the avenue of trees planted in memory of John Sanders. At the end of the avenue a metal kissing gate leads into a field where in the far right hand corner a field gate enters a lane. In the lane turn left and almost immediately on the right is a field gate from which a path to the left continues alongside the fence until a stile is reached in that fence. Over the stile the path turns right alongside the fence to another stile into a field where there may be horses. Diagonally across this field a field gate and a stile can be seen in the far right hand corner. From here the route proceeds down the right hand side of the field to a gap on the right into the adjoining field, where the path leads down to a double wooden-planked footbridge. Crossing the bridge follow the headland to the right until the farm track beside a line of poplar trees is reached. Here the track leads to Streethay House Farm and meets the main road (A5127) beside the Anchor Inn.
Approximately 1.57 miles (0.75 roadside)
From the Anchor Inn
Grid Ref. 142104
Taking great care, cross the main road A5127. Turn right and take the left fork into Burton Old Road. This is no longer a through road for vehicles but it leads to the pedestrian crossing of the railway line by Lichfield Trent Valley Signal Box. Continue through the industrial estate to the island junction of Cappers Lane and Austin Cote Lane and turn left until a kissing gate is reached on the right hand side of the road after the houses. This is the entrance to Darnford Park the Walk now continues along the pathway crossing Darnford Lane and descending through Darnford Park to the point at which Tamworth Road is reached, via the Ryknild Street car park.