West Midlands towpath bike rides: Tamworth to Polesworth, Coventry Canal

See Benedictine ruins and wildlife-rich lakes on this Staffordshire cycle ride

Towpath bike rides: Tamworth to Polesworth on the Coventry Canal


Distance: 5 miles (one way)
Suitable for: all bike types
Starting point: Tamworth

This 5-mile bike ride starts in the Staffordshire market town of Tamworth, home to a beautiful Norman castle on the confluence of the rivers Anker and Tame. The town grew rapidly during the 18th and 19th centuries, aided largely by its surrounding coal mines and conjoining canals – the Birmingham & Fazeley and the Coventry Canal.

Join the Coventry Canal at either Kettlebrook Road, Glascote Locks or Amington Road and follow the towpath until you reach the village of Amington. Here you’ll find the Grade II-listed St Editha’s Church, noted for its stained-glass windows, and four pubs to choose from for a lunch stop. Otherwise push on to Alvecote Marina, which has a reputable pub, the Samuel Marlow, right on the water’s edge.

Continue along the canal and you’ll soon enter the Pooley Park Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Polesworth. This idyllic spot has taken over the grounds of a former colliery, and your cycle route follows the same path that miners used only a few decades ago. There are a number of wildlife-rich pools (caused by mining subsidence) and the ruins of a Benedictine priory, which has a picnic area. You could easily while away an entire afternoon exploring the reserve’s heritage centre, tea room, play area and woodland trails before your journey back.

Tamsworth and Polesworth both have train stations, so you can catch a train back to the start or simply cycle back. While most trains accept bikes, it’s best to check with individual operators.

Plan your next day out along the Coventry Canal on the Canal & River Trust website.

Share the space: drop your pace
We want everyone to enjoy visiting our canals and rivers. More than anything we want people to be safe – and with our towpaths busier than ever this is something that all visitors need to play a part in. When cycling, please pay attention to safety and warning signs, and be considerate of others. Read more about our ‘Share the space: drop your pace’ campaign on the Canal & River Trust website.