There are not many places that don't cost you anything to visit, apart from shoe leather, but Edgbaston Reservoir is one of them. So grab your trainers and embrace the new year, or the new you, because I want to change your weekends, starting now.
Olympic contenders Darren & Rita
Edgbaston reservoir is a well used local gem in Birmingham. It is perfect for weekend retreat for a couple of hours. I enjoy jogging here, or just waking up strolling enjoying the peace. No hustle or bustle. Who would have thought there would an opportunity for a jog or simply a stroll, with vista of a large expanse of open water just a stone's throw from Birmingham City Centre? The reservoir is hidden behind houses on the borders of Edgbaston and Ladywood, as the crow flies approximately a 15 minute walk from Broad Street through the Broadway Plaza cinema complex. The site was originally a pool in parkland that was modified in the 1820's primarily to feed the Birmingham canal network. From the reservoir you can see the canals unfolding close by with elevated views of the canal basin and Birmingham City.
None of the Edgbaston reservoir entrances are grand, but tucked away behind quiet residential streets its spectacle is surprising. It is accessible from four entrances, one with large free car park, the others pedestrian, but there are dusk restrictions. If you're driving over, keep an eye out for the gate closing, it states at dusk so don't chance it or your car will get locked in. This largest entrance is at the end of the aptly named Reservoir Road, B16 9DX, pedestrian entrances on Rotton Park Road, Ickneild Port Road and Gillott Road.
There is a path that circles the waters edge, some of it Woodland, about 1 3/4 miles long, with some great views of the City Centre and Canals. A walk around this perimeter path, or jog, or cycle, is great for those half hearted exercise attempts, because once you start you either turn back in defeat to the nearest gate or you carry on to get around the perimeter.
Whether novice or seasoned jogger when finished it is very satisfying to then look at the distance you've travelled. If feeling virtuous you may choose to do another lap, or two, which is why the reservoir is great for all levels of exertion. You could then pop into the local corner cafe, Cafe Reservoir, on the Reservoir Road car park entrance, for a possibly well deserved bacon sarnie and cuppa. But maybe that's just me. It hits the spot and is the closest cafe. Or if you are organised bring a flask and packed lunch, basking in your Olympic endeavours, maybe grabbing one of the picnic tables dotted around.
So if I have encouraged you to jog, or walk, around the reservoir excellent. You might see me on weekends catching my breath. The beauty of Edgbaston reservoir is the lack of gimmicks; an expanse of water, a path and not a children's entertainer in sight. But if jogging is impossible, maybe just a stroll, possibly with the dog (dogs are welcome, but do pick up your mess there are bins around.
Or the reservoir may be somewhere to take the kids to wear them out. There's ample nature opportunities for young budding horticulturalists, armed with a Tupperware pot and magnifying glass. Or simply feeding the birds. Note no swimming is allowed. If you fancy something more adventurous, there is a water sports company on site, ideal for a special occasion or if you simply love messing about on the water; all details via, www.edgbastonwatersports.co.uk.
Visiting Edgbaston reservoir is not a resolution that will change your life, but you will feel wholesome and relaxed if this becomes part of your Birmingham weekend.