Because nothing beats being by the water.
In need of a change of scenery not too from home? From the bodies of water near Cannock Chase, Clent and Lickey Hills, to man-made attractions just outside Birmingham formed by the city’s canal, check out the most photogenic lakes and reservoirs that are no more than an hour’s drive away from the city.
Please remember to stay local during national lockdown restrictions.
1. Earlswood Lakes
Located south of Birmingham and around five miles from Solihull, Earlswood Lakes are made up of three 22-acre reservoirs that you can take a wander round- Terry’s Pool, Windmill Pool and Engine Pool. Soak up the beautiful scenery while stretching your legs along the towpath, look out for the historic engine house which was installed in 1823 to keep the water flowing from the lakes to the nearby Stratford-upon-Avon Canal which they feed. Admire the striking sailing boats on the quiet lakes as you take a walk round or you can take a leisurely stroll down to the local craft centre. If you want to extend your walk further, Clowes Wood Nature Reserve is near Earlswood Lakes for you to explore.
Drive time from central Birmingham: 35 minutes
2. Kingsbury Water Park
Not only is Kingsbury Water Park a popular fishing destination, but it’s also one of the largest water parks in the West Midlands, spanning over 600 acres and made up of 15 lakes. Kingsbury Water Park is surrounded by parkland and there is plenty see and do here such as walking, cycling, sailing, orienteering and horse riding. The water park features three new waymarked routes which around 1.5 miles long as well as the bridleway that you can follow. There are several bird-watching hides dotted around the park and more than 200 different species from common garden birds to extremely rare sightings can be seen there. As well as the lakes, the water park also offers picnic areas, bike hire, toilets and a miniature railway.
Drive time from central Birmingham: 25 minutes
3. Bittell Reservoirs
The Bittell Reservoirs are located south of Birmingham in Worcestershire and supply water to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. Bittell Reservoirs were built so that goods such as chocolate crumb for Cadbury’s, rock salt and coal could be transported via canal, right up until 1961. These reservoirs are made up of two lakes, Upper Bittell and Lower Bittell, with the area covering almost 67 hectares. The site has a public footpath which is alive with greenery in the spring and summer months, while the lake itself is popular with birdwatchers and anglers. If you fancy a bit of a schlep, you can do a nice scenic walk starting at Barnt Green following paths to the reservoirs, with views of the countryside, wildlife and the River Arrow, then continue to pick up either the North Worcestershire Path west to head to Lickey Hills Country Park or the Worcester and Birmingham Canal heading south towards Tardebigge Locks.
Drive time from central Birmingham: 30 minutes
4. Ryton Pools Country Park
One of the West Midlands’ hidden gems is Ryton Pools Country Park, which is spread across 100 acres. Ryton Pools is an oasis of lake and countryside yet a stones through from the city of Coventry. The country park is perfect if you want to go on a walk to clear your head, especially with its waymarked walks, plus sensory garden and trail. If that’s not enough, there are more lakes and reservoirs nearby, including mini ones within Bubbenhall wood and meadow, or at Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve. It may be an angler’s haven but it’s a great tranquil spot for walkers too.
Drive time from central Birmingham: 40 minutes
5. Chasewater Country Park
Stunningly beautiful, this reservoir in Staffordshire stretches 90 hectares and is a relaxing spot for all. There is plenty of green open space in this country park located north of Birmingham so planning a day out at Chasewater is pretty straightforward. Whether you’re walking, cycling or running, you can follow the path around the one of the largest reservoirs in the region and witness stunning, panoramic views of the lake and surrounding countryside. But that’s not all. Chasewater offers watersport activities, including sailing, wakeboarding, water skiing, water zorbing and paddleboarding so everyone will be entertained on the water. For a less strenuous experience, visitors can enjoy following the nature trails, bird watching, sitting down for a picnic or taking a ride on the heritage steam railway. There is also a visitor centre which provides visitor information, art and craft exhibitions by local artists, workshops and activities.
Drive time from central Birmingham: 30 minutes