A “there-and-back” 36km (22 mile) trip along canal towpaths, quiet roads and green routes through New Hall Valley Country Park all the way to the beautiful 2400 acre Sutton Park National Nature Reserve, one of the largest urban parks in Europe. All surfaces are good quality.
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Start this cycle outside the Ikon Gallery at Brindley Place (map location here).
Facing the entrance to the Ikon, turn left to head towards Central Square of Brindley Place where the Costa Coffee pavilion is located.
Head over to the right hand side of the coffee shop towards Sealife Centre and take the passageway to the left of the Sealife centre towards the Birmingham Indoor Arena. Turn left along the canal, then take the bridge over the canal to the other side (map point 1), then turn right at the end of the bridge to head down the ramp onto the canal towpath. You should be cycling along in front of Birmingham Indoor Arena with the canal on your right hand side (map point 2).
Keep following the canal towpath past several locks and through several short tunnels along the edge of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter (see our separate walk around the Jewellery Quarter if you want to link the two).
Some of the tunnels can be quite narrow so you may want to get off and walk your bike if you’re not confident enough to cycle through them. None are too long and you can always see daylight at the other end!
Keep following the canal until you come to a canal junction just after you have gone under the main A38 Aston Road/Expressway (map point 3). You need to take the canal that goes off to the left (approx 2km after joining the canal at Brindley Place) – you will need to cross a bridge over this other canal then turn left to follow the new canal towpath down – your towpath will be on the right hand side of this new canal.
Keep following this canal towpath (map point 4) down past several locks for approx 3km until you finally come to a canal junction directly underneath the M6 junction 6 Gravelly Hill Interchange, more affectionately known as “Spaghetti Junction” due to the many twists and turns of the motorway lanes overhead (map point 5)! This is a popular spot for modern photography groups to get interesting snaps of the underside of the motorway – often in black & white!
At this junction you will need to follow the path all the way to the canal ahead of you and then turn right along the canal.
Follow this canal towpath that runs along the right hand side of the canal (map point 6) for approximately 5.2km until you reach Hansons Bridge Road canal exit, signposted National Cycle Network route 534 (map point 7). You will be following the signs for National Cycle Network route 533 along the canal to this point – and ignore the earlier signs leading you off the canal at Berwood Lane Bridge, but keeping going on to the next official cycle exit at Hansons Bridge Road as mentioned above.
Cross over the canal at Hanson’s Bridge Road, then turn first left into Woodlands Farm Road (map point 8), following cycle route 534. At the end of the road, cross over the main road B4148 Eachelhurst Road at the cycle/pedestrian crossing, then turn right to cycle down the cycle path along the pavement. At the edge of the park turn left onto the cycle path signed route 534 into Pype Hayes Park (map point 9). Keep following the signs for route 534 all the way through New Hall Valley Country Park (map point 10 and map point 11 and map point 12) until the cycle path comes out onto Ebrook Road (map point 13).
Turn right along here, then first left into Upper Holland Road, then first right into South Parade (map point 14). At the end, use the pedestrian/cycle crossing to cross over to the cycle path along the pavement on the other side of the road. Turn left along here and follow the cycle path along Queen Street (map point 15) to the crossing over the A5127 just past the roundabout. Once over the crossing follow the cycle path along the pavement up Manor Road (map point 16), then onto the road itself.
At the end of Manor Road turn right onto Clifton Road (map point 17) and cycle down to the roundabout. Turn left into Park Road and enter Sutton Park through the Town Gate entrance here on your left (map point 18). You can now park your bike and walk around the park, or cycle some more along the designated cycle paths.
Sutton Park is one of the largest urban parks in Europe and is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The park has open heathland, woodlands, seven lakes, wetlands, and marshes – each with its own rich variety of plants and wildlife, some rarely seen in the region. Cattle and wild ponies graze on the land. The Visitor Centre is around 250 metres on the left from the Town Gate entrance. In the centre you’ll find toilets, baby changing facilities, a gift shop, interpretive displays and maps. The Centre is open all year from 10am to 6pm in the summer and 10am to 4.30pm in the winter.
To cycle back to Brindley Place, just follow the route you took to get here in reverse (National Cycle Routes 534, 533 and 535.
OVERVIEW OF ROUTE:
Map details © OpenStreetMap contributors