Astley

Astley Map

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Walk Desciption

A relatively easy walk connecting the villages of Astley and Ansley.

Take the road away from Astley crossroads, passing Astley Church (1) on your right and the Astley heritage feature (2) at Post Office Row. Cross the road to pick up the waymarked path crossing diagonally over open fields (3), heading towards Gorsy Spinney.

Enter the spinney and take the path straight on, keeping to the right of a ditch, exit on the far side into a field and follow the hedge on your left as far as an opening. Turn left into Hill Top playing fields. Keeping the hedge now to your right, head towards the gate and exit into Arley Lane, bearing right.

Follow the footpath and take the first turn left into Hill Top, immediately picking up the waymarked path on the right. Pass the bungalows on the left, taking the path along the edge of the end bungalow and exit onto Oakridge Golf Course . Follow the path across the golf course, crossing the deep railway cutting with Arley Tunnel to your right (4).

Again pick up the waymarked path across the golf course, joining the North Arden Heritage Trail. Leave the golf course following the path towards the houses of Ansley Village, exiting onto Birmingham Road. Bear right and follow the footpath passing the Boot Inn and Post Office on your right.

Opposite the playing field, turn left into Croft Mead and pick up the waymarked path to the right between the bungalows. Follow this through open fields before coming out onto Tunnel Road. Cross over and pick up the waymarked path opposite.

Follow the hedge on the right to a gate, joining the Centenary Way (5). Keep to the right of the railway cutting and at the end of the field turn right then left. Leaving the Centenary Way, take the waymarked path which runs to the right of Woodlands Cottage Farm.

Exit onto Ansley Road, again pick up the path opposite. With Lady Wood to your right, pass to the left of Lodge Farm and follow the waymarked path across the open fields towards Astley Church. Before exiting onto Church Lane, pass the ruins of Astley Castle (6) to your left, to return to the starting point.

Points of Interest

1. The church of St Mary the Virgin, Astley, is the third building on this site but includes parts of the other two - a Saxon sundial carving is preserved in the tower. The tower once had a steeple which showed a light at night to guide travellers and it was known as the Lantern of Arden.

2. The Astley Heritage Feature: When artist Johnny White created Astley’s heritage feature, the new Lantern of Arden, he took his inspiration from the church. In the lantern’s windows, stainless steel panels mirror the ancient themes and history of the parish. Three queens and the castle are represented. Sir Henry Grey hiding in an oak tree and the Victorian author, George Eliot, can all be found on the lantern, made from the same red sandstone as the church.

3. Watch for skylarks when crossing the open fields between Astley and Gorsy Spinney.

4. In the deep railway cutting, you can see the entrance to Stockingford Tunnel which is 910 metres long. The railway opened in 1864 and the tunnel would have been dug by men with shovels.

5. Centenary Way is a 100 mile long path that starts at Kingsbury Water Park and finishes at Upper Quinton, south of Stratford upon Avon.

6. The ruins of Astley Castle have a history which begins in the 12th century. Most of the remains visible today date from the 1550s, and the castle was an important Parliamentary stronghold in the Civil War. In the 1960s it became a hotel, but was devastated by fire in 1978 and has stood abandoned and derelict until recently. It is being repaired by the Landmark Trust, with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund and will now play a new part in the history of the area.

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