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Across Birmingham city centre

By Rudi Winter

This is a walk traversing Birmingham's city centre from west to east and back. It starts from Hagley Road Premier Inn, where there is parking, presumbably intended for guests of the hotel and the nearby restaurants.

After following the main road inbound for a while, we turned into Monument Road (noting a domed building with an interesting history, the Birmingham Oratory SP0486 : Oratory Church, Plough & Harrow Road, Birmingham by Rudi Winter) and across Chamberlain Gardens towards the Middleway, the main ring road around central Birmingham (much of the former inner ring road, the Queensway, has been decommissioned in recent years to give the city centre a little more room to breathe and develop). After overcoming this obstacle, we cross a housing estate SP0586 : Morville Street, Birmingham by Rudi Winter to reach the Birmingham Canal's old line at the Oozells Street Loop SP0586 : Oozells Street Loop, Birmingham Canal, Birmingham by Rudi Winter. This takes us into the city centre proper.

We meet the "new" line (at a mere 204 years,SP0586 : Sheepcote Street bridge across the Birmingham Canal, Birmingham by Rudi Winter) of the canal opposite Birmingham Arena SP0586 : Legoland Discovery Centre, Birmingham Arena by Rudi Winter and reach Old Turn Junction SP0586 : Old Turn Junction, Birmingham Canal, Birmingham by Rudi Winter. From there follows a short detour up onto the plaza of the Brindleyplace development SP0586 : Sculpture "Aquaduct", Brindleyplace, Birmingham by Rudi Winter and back down to the canal, crossing over a footbridge SP0686 : Birmingham Canal, Birmingham by Rudi Winter to the rear entrance of the International Convention Centre SP0686 : International Convention Centre, Birmingham by Rudi Winter. After dipping under Broad Street through its canal tunnel, we reach Gas Street Basin SP0686 : Gas Street Basin, Birmingham Canal, Birmingham by Rudi Winter with its interesting history of competing canal companies resulting in the Worcester Bar SP0686 : Gas Street Basin and Worcester Bar, Birmingham by Rudi Winter, a narrow barrier left standing across Gas Street Basin to prevent water loss from the Birmingham Canal when the Birmingham & Worcester Canal was built.

Leaving the canals for the railway, we turn towards Navigation Street and New Street Station (now hidden under the silvery plastic facade of the Grand Central shopping centre, SP0686 : Grand Central entrance, New Street Station, Birmingham by Rudi Winter) and the recently extended tram line SP0686 : Tram outside New Street Station, Birmingham by Rudi Winter. The other end of the station SP0786 : New Street Station, Birmingham by Rudi Winterfaces another shopping centre, the Bullring SP0786 : Selfridges building, Bullring, Birmingham by Rudi Winter, with some open pedestrianised streets. St Martin's Walk leads down to St Martin in the Bull Ring SP0786 : St Martin's Walk, Birmingham by Rudi Winter, Birmingham's first parish church.

We cross the open markets south of the Bullring and cross the road named Digbeth (lending its name to this area of the city), turning east along Meriden/New Canal Street through an area of warehouses SP0786 : Warehouses and car park, New Canal Street, Birmingham by Rudi Winter. After crossing under the railway viaducts feeding into both New Street and Moor Street Stations, we reach the Eastside City Park and the Millennium Point building SP0787 : Millennium Point, Birmingham by Rudi Winter, where we have a look at the Science Garden and spend some time in the Science Museum, Thinktank SP0787 : Megaloceros skeleton, Thinktank, Birmingham by Rudi Winter.

Afterwards, as light is beginning to fade, we walk past the vast building site of the HS2 railway project towards Moor Street Station SP0786 : Moor Street Station, Birmingham by Rudi Winter. From here, it is a matter of retracing our steps towards the canal and then back to the hotel along Broad Street and, after dipping under the Five Ways roundabout, Hagley Street. In daylight, I suppose following the Birmingham & Worcester canal until past Five Ways Station might have been a better alternative for the return from the city centre.

You can see this trip plotted on a map on the Geo-trips page LinkExternal link .


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Sat, 23 Feb 2019 at 17:16
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