RambAle 1: Stoke Pound and Sharpway Gate

route1Distance: 6.2 miles/10km. Allow 2 ¼ hours (excluding pub stops).

Starting and finishing venue: Queen’s Head, Stoke Pound B60 3AU

This walk visits six pubs and follows the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. There are a series of small inclines through the fields in Sharpway Gate, then the route re-joins the canal towpath for a steady incline back towards the Queen’s Head.

Cross the canal bridge then turn left and follow the towpath. After the bend is a footpath that drifts to the right down the embankment. Follow the footpath in a south-east direction and climb the small hill. Upon reaching the road, the next footpath is to the right-hand side of the farmhouse in front of you. This footpath continues south down the hill, and joins Whitford Bridge Road. Turn left and follow the road to the Gate Hangs Well which will be on your right. Sunday roasts and a good range of bar meals are available here, alongside a range of five real ales.

002Turn right on Woodgate Road and follow the road round the bend to the second footpath sign on your left. Head south-west through a series of fields which brings you out onto the B4091 and the Country Girl will be in front of you. The pub serves a daily carvery alongside four real ales.

Head south-west past the entrance to the pub’s car park and turn right at the end of the lane. Take the footpath on the left then head west through a series of fields. On re-joining the road, turn right then left at the triangular green and cross the canal bridge. Follow the road downhill to a T-junction then turn left. Follow the road through a right-hand bend and over a railway line to find the Bowling Green on your left. Banks’s beers are available here.

Return to the canal bridge, cross it and follow the towpath on your left. Continue to the next bridge then use it to re-join the road and cross the canal. Turn left and the Boat & Railway will be just around the corner. The beers are from the Marston’s range and the menu is very reasonably priced, serving a mixture of hot and cold sandwiches and main meals.

008Re-join the canal path and bear left, heading north-east. Once under the second bridge, exit the towpath on your right and cross the bridge (or if you’re feeling adventurous then why not cross the lock!). Follow the road downhill for a short while and the Navigation Inn will be on your left. Two real ales are served here and the menu is very reasonable.

Return to the canal towpath and resume your journey east. Follow the canal bend round to the north, then leave the towpath at the fourth bridge and cross over the canal to return to the Queen’s Head. Three real ales are available here; the pub also serves main meals.

You may like to combine parts of this walk with RambAle No. 8.