Pastimes: Delights in Land of Kings

The Birmingham Post (England), December 13, 2003 | Go to article overview

Pastimes: Delights in Land of Kings


Byline: Richard Shurey

I t is now almost 30 years since Kingsbury Water Park was first opened to visitors.

The visionary scheme then totalled 150 acres.

For some years before Warwickshire County Council had allowed workedout gravel pits to fill naturally with water.

It was the Countryside Act of 1968 that gave local authorities powers to buy land for development into country parks, and today the Water Park covers over 600 acres with many miles of footpaths and walks.

The lakes and pools provide a playground for many sports and pastimes besides giving delight to the rambler.

For example, windsurfers can use the waters of Hemlingford. Bodymoor Heath Water can be used for sailing, hydroplaning and fishing. Mill Pool and Swann Pool are stocked with fish for the angler.

There are adventure playgrounds for youngsters on a place that was filled with ash from the now defunct Hams Hall Power Station, while children and the not-so-young have places for their model boats.

It is surprising, too, how visitors get peaceful pleasure watching the antics and arrival of wildfowl. There are several hides so the birds are not disturbed.

The walk begins at Kingsbury village which is on a cliff overlooking the River Tame.

This really was the home of a king as here was a castle for the kings of Mercia. Now the site is marked by a ruined archway and a few stones (and is crying out to be rescued).

Nearby is a church that was started by the Normans; the sturdy tower is from the 14th century.

I noticed outside the doorway the grave of the Myring family. The vicar father (who was the incumbent for 65 years) died in 1850. He was aged 85 but his wife was only 41 when she died, having borne his 12 children!

Out of the car park (Map 139/218964) turn left to the main road. Cross and turn left.

Just past an inn turn right along Church Lane. The cul-de-sac ends at the churchyard. Follow the path with the church on your left then bear left to steps.

Drop down to cross the bridge over the River Tame. (The name of the river is probably derived from the same Old English root as the Thames or even Taff or Taf over the border in Wales).

Turn left to follow a path with the river on the left and Hemlingford Water on the right. …

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