Run For Home

LETJOG – Day 19: Saturday 5 June – KIDDERMINSTER to BIRMINGHAM (21 miles)

Up at 6.30 am today, and after a quick DIY breakfast in my Travelodge room, I set off in the cool of the morning to get some early miles in the bag. The first two thirds of this walk, partly along the Monarch’s Way, comprised off-road rural tracks and paths through woodlands, and across undulating small-holdings and paddocks grazed by numerous horses and ponies. Particular highlights of the morning include the muntjac deer and azaleas in the Mount Segg Nature Reserve, the cool dells south of Blakedown harbouring some late bluebells, and the climb of Four Stones Hill above Hagley Park.

Azaleas in Mount Segg Nature Reserve, . . .
. . . two, of many, fine horses, and . . .
. . . asparagus pickers, near Blakedown

The final third of the day’s walk, after crossing the M5 motorway, led me directly into the heart of Birmingham city centre by way of the Bourn Brook walkway through Woodgate Valley Country Park, and then along the Birmingham and Worcester Canal. As with my experience of the approaches to central Bristol last week, I have been amazed at the surprising gems that exist so close to such heavily populated areas. Most guidebooks on the ‘End to End’ Trail avoid these urban areas entirely, but the unexpected beauty and historic interest of these stretches of my walk has been a most illuminating part of my LETJOG experience to date.

Less than a mile from the centre of Birmingham!

And so to Birmingham New Street Station, for the train home to Berkhamsted, for dinner with Rachel and Alistair, and for a day’s recuperation at home. Birmingham marks the completion of my second LETJOG section (of six), with an aggregate 358 miles on the clock and just over 10,500 metres of ascent covered so far, during 125 hours of walking. I can put my feet up tomorrow knowing that I am just about a third of the way to my ultimate destination!

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