The Heart of England Way is a long-distance pathway that crosses 100 miles of the beautiful scenery of central England, passing southwards through the counties of Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire.
The walk follows an enjoyable mix of farmland and woodland and along river banks - with little to give away the closeness of the Birmigham city conurbation not far to the west for much of the route.
The walk starts from Milford, a village in Staffordshire a little way south of Stafford on the road towards Rugeley. (Note: this is also near to the Staffordshire Way long distance path).
Heading straight into the picturesque countryside of the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we continue to Castle Ring - an iron age fort near Cannock Wood, then on to the cathedral city of Lichfield, followed by the village of Drayton Bassett (near Tamworth).
Crossing now into Warwickshire we reach Kingsbury, Shustoke, which has some lovely traditional buidings to admire, then travel south through the county passing by Meriden (pretty moat house and church) and Berkswell.
Cannock Chase - Lichfield - Henley-in-Arden
Passing to Balsall Common, a larger village, then to Baddesley Clinton and enter into 'Shakespeare country'. The three following destinations: Henley-in-Arden, Alcester and Bidford-on-Avon each have their own particular charm, while Upper Quinton has some very picturesque thatched cottages.
Note: there is a 28 mile circular route called the Arden Way that further explores the region between Henley-in-Arden and Alcester.
Continuing to Mickleton we find the most northern village in Gloucestershire - and enter into Cotswolds country with such well known beauty spots as Chipping Campden (the Cotswold Way also passes through Chipping Campden), Bourton-on-the-Hill, Lower Slaughter and Bourton-on-the-Water...where you can join the Oxfordshire Way.
Alcester - Bidford-on-Avon - Bourton-on-the-Water
For more information get hold of a useful guidebook to the route from Amazon UK, the Heart of England Way from Recreational Path Guides.
Enthusiasts who think that 100 miles is too short will be pleased to note that at several points the Heart of England way crosses other English long distance footpaths and other trails that can be combined to increase the overall length, including the Beacon Way, Staffordshire Way, Arden Way, Cotswold Way, Oxfordshire Way, and Thames Path...