Baddesley

Parish Information:

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Walk Description:

A pleasant and easy walk within rural North Warwickshire.

Start the walk from the Post Office, crossing New Street, and heading down Speedwell Lane to the junction by the allotments.

Take the right fork (Watery Lane - ‘Unsuitable for Motors’), marked as the main route of the North Arden Heritage Trail, and walk uphill. A little way past the top of the hill, take the waymarked path through the gate to the left and follow it down through the fields, ignoring a new gate on the right. Continue to the wooded area and go through the gate, across the stream and under a viaduct which is the remains of an abandoned railway line (1).

After passing through another gate, follow the field boundary round to the left. Ignore the opening into the field on the left and continue until you come to a marked meeting of paths (here you leave the main route of the North Arden Heritage Trail). Turn left down the steps, over the footbridge and up more steps (A). The path now goes straight ahead over the hill but you could choose to walk around the edge of the field to the left. Go through the gate into the yard of Speedwell Farm and past the farmhouse out onto a lane.

After approximately 100 yards, take a waymarked path to the left, running diagonally across a field. Descend to Speedwell Lane, turn left under the bridge, another relic of the railway, and return straight along the lane. This takes you back to your starting point.

Points of Interest:

This was the site of an important coal mine. Baddesley Colliery was opened in 1850 and by the 1900s was a big colliery with rail connections to the Midland line at Kingsbury and the LNWR line at Grendon. A terrible coal dust explosion in 1882 killed 32 men, including the owner, William Dugdale of Merevale Hall.

St Nicholas’ church has a memorial to those who died. The mine closed in 1989 and is commemorated by two memorials in the form of half a winding wheel, one of which is on Baddesley Common, with the other by the Rose Inn in Baxterley.

1. The track bed of the colliery railway branch line, opened in 1878, to connect the mine with the Midland Railway at Kingsbury Junction. Between Kingsbury and Birch Coppice, the railway now carries container trains to the Birmingham Intermodal Freight Terminal (BIFT).

2. Baddesley’s Church of St Nicholas, built in 1846, can be seen across the fields, and replaced an earlier Norman church on the site.

3. The Baddesley Heritage Feature: This feature can be found on the main Arden Trail route as it crosses Baddesley Common, just off Newlands Road. Based on themes of nature, peace, tranquillity and the local coal mining heritage, Stroud based artist Ant Beetlestone used community suggestions and designs to develop and create two stone benches and a beautiful central birdbath.

Encouraging walkers to sit and rest awhile, one seat back is carved with images of nature on the Common whilst the other shows the toil of the underground coal miners.

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