The 5 mile walk starts at Newbold Comyn ~3miles north of Bishops Tachbrook. The route follows the landscaped old golf course of Newbold Comyn with fine views across South Leamington, briefly follows the river Leam into Offchurch (with a good country pub) and then returns along the tow path of the Grand Union Canal. Unlike the other walks the detailed walk does not start in BT although I am informed running to Newbold Comyn makes for a great course for~10mile+ runs from BT. Otherwise the cycle path is available parallel to the Tachbrook Road or there is ample parking at the Comyn. Of note around the Offchurch area is how many transport routes cross the area (travel routes through the ages) most notably the soon to be extended cycle route 41.😊
The map below shows the route with pictures to aid navigation.
1.The walk starts at Newbold Comyn Leisure centre. Head north from the leisure centre past the Newbold Comyn Arms and ascend the hill. The first section of the walk is over the recently abandoned golf course. There are good views across South Leamington Spa and the Comyn has the feel of the grounds of a stately home.
2. Head in an easterly direction, there is a path to the North of the golf course but just roaming along the wide open fairways works just as well.
3. At the north easterly edge of the Comyn the path heads across agricultural fields. (Note: this is likely to be muddy when the weather has been wet)
4. Follow the path for 400m until you reach a triple level stile. Go right towards the oak and the river
5. There is a narrow footbridge across the river Leam , turn right and then over a weir/culvert. Follow the footpath signs over the stile.
6. Follow the path and on your right there are the open fields of Offchurch Bury Park, which appears to be an equestrian events centre. A couple of 100m’s turn right up the tarmac road.
7.Turn left off the tarmac road when you reach the footpath/no entry sign. Follow the footpath signs and over the stile which may have a few cattle around.
8. Cross the fields and you reach a stile that brings you to a footpath along the Welsh Road and Offchurch (travel routes through the ages). Turn right towards the Stag pub and before the pub is reached turn right again up the steep hill towards the church.
9. At St Gregorys church turn right and walk along the footpath to the main road.(300m)
10. At the main road turn right down the steep hill. At this point there are views across the valley to Radford Semele, within the valley runs the Grand Union canal and the Lias railway line which is now Route 41 cycle way. Looking to your left (east) you can see the Roman Road Fosse way and the major construction site of HS2. See the section travel routes through the ages for more details. A narrow path takes you down the 12% hill to the canal.
11. At the bottom of the hill cross the road just before the road bridge over the canal. This takes you onto the grand union tow path, To your left is a lock, turn right underneath the road bridge and back towards Leamington. Stay on the tow path for ~1 mile. Passing underneath the A425 the main Leamington to Southam road,
12. After passing under the main road 200m further down the towpath you will come to a small bridge over the canal. On the far side of this there are steps taking you off the canal, at the top turn left towards the main road not crossing the bridge. Cross the main road and walk towards Leam
13. A few 100m’s brings you to a car park, turn into this, cross the bridge and head left across the football pitches which returns you to the leisure centre car parks.
Travel routes through the ages near Offchurch
In putting together this walk it seemed remarkable to me how many different travel routes spanning two millennia cross in this area. This is illustrated in the map below showing 6 major routes from 100AD to a route that should last well into the 22nd century.
Fosse Way: An old Roman Road running from Exeter to Lincoln. Following the Roman invasion this formed the Western edge of the territory under Roman control. It still exists as a minor road (and my route to work)
Welsh Road A drovers (effectively cowboys) route that was used to bring cattle from North Wales to the south of England. It is not known exactly when the route started it may even predate the Romans but record is found from the 17th century. The cattle were taken to market or possibly for fattening up on lush southern fields. It now forms minor roads and footpaths.
Grand Union Canal The canal was built around 1800 and formed the backbone of the industrial revolution, this canal linking Birmingham to London and Oxford. Now it is used mainly for leisure boats.
Lias Railway Line Built in 1850 this line runs from Leam to Rugby. It closed for passengers in the 1960’s and totally in the 1980’s.
Cycle Route 41 The old railway line makes up a portion of National cycle way 41 that is planned to run from Bristol to Rugby. The national cycle way aims to pick out cycle friendly routes, ideally off road or quiet minor roads. The route from Leamington to Rugby currently uses small section of the old railway line but a £5 million project has been approved that will link Leamington to Birdingbury using the old line.
HS2 This new high speed railway line is planned to run from London to Birmingham and is due to open in 2026. From Birmingham it may go on to Manchester and Leeds. This is likely to be in use into the next century. Currently along its route there are major building works spaced by ~1mile. Below are pictures from the site near the Fosse way nr Offchurch (but not on the walk)