Secret Birmingham is our fantastic new project sharing cycle friendly routes for people to explore #BrumByBike and discover local green spaces, bike-friendly cycle routes and learn about some of Birmingham’s hidden heritage sites along the way. This is a self-guided digital cycling tour which is great to do on your own, with friends or as a family.
There are three interactive cycle routes to choose from, each with their own amazing hidden stories. The Tolkien Route, which follows the footsteps of the writer of ‘The Lord of the Rings‘, The Cadbury Route, which takes you through the sights and chocolatey smells of Bournville, and into the lesser known First World War prefab housing estate, Austin Village and our third and final route:
The Chamberlain route
This route is named after Joseph Chamberlain who played a big role in Birminghams history which is reflected at serval sites across the city. He was Mayor of Birmingham from 1873 – 1876, and later went on to become Secretary of State for the Colonies. As well as a renowned orator and municipal reformer he was also the first chancellor of Birmingham University.
This is a circular 16mile route which starts on the A38 Blue Cycle Route, Pebble Mill Road junction and begins with exploring the heritage sites around the University of Birmingham including, Old Joe, the world’s tallest freestanding clock tower and the Metchley Roman Ruins before heading towards Harborne Walkway. One Brum’s fantastic hidden green spaces. From there you will head towards Edgbaston Reservoir and Birmingham’s famous towers Perrot’s Folly and The Waterworks Tower, thought to be the inspiration for one of the Two Towers in J.R.R Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’.
The route then uses shared paths, quiet roads and canal tow paths heading into the Jewellery Quarter to see the clock tower, Warstone Lane Cemetery and back out to Port Loop where you can learn more about the history of Rotton Park before heading back to the start via the fountains in Centenary Square and the A38 Blue Cycleway.
This is a great bike friendly route that you can do in one day or choose one or two heritage sites to visit and use the route to help plan your journey.
Start: A38 Cycleway, Pebble Mill Rd junction.
Finish: Port Loop
Average Cycle Time: 2hrs 30min
Heritage Sites Along This Route – The sites are brought to life through great video content, you can view these by clicking the links below:
- Old Joe
- Metchley Fort
- Harborne Walkway
- Moor Pool Estate
- Perrott’s Folly
- Blondin Statue
- Waterworks Tower
- Port Loop
- Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock
- Jewellery Quarter Cemeteries
- For additional information about Joseph Chamberlain, his legacy and impact abroad, check out the ‘2 Visions 2 Legacies’ project HERE.
Viewing the route:
You can view the route in google maps or use route finding and navigation app Komoot to follow this route and learn about the heritage sites by watching the video content as you explore the route HERE.
As a city we are tackling the air pollution crisis through the Clean Air Zone as well as the council investing in a series of new cycle infrastructure throughout Birmingham and a pilot scheme of Low traffic Neighbourhoods. Cycling is used by many in the city to commute, but not always as a social mode of transport.
We hope that by Secret Birmingham will help improve access to the city’s heritage whilst engaging more people in social cycling and we would love for you to get involved!
- Tuesday 14th September – Heritage Week – Led Ride – The Tolkien Route
- Wednesday 15th September – Heritage Week – Led Ride – The Chamberlain Route
- Sunday 19th September – Heritage Week – Family Ride – The Cadbury Route
Explore Secret Birmingham independently
Exploring these routes independently is easy, the PDF tells you everything you need to know about Secret Birmingham including more information about the routes and the heritage sites as well as some fun games to play to improve your knowledge about local heritage along the way.
We hope you have fun and ENJOY exploring our ‘Secret Birmingham’ routes. We’d love to see what how you get on remember to use the hashtag #BrumByBike and tag @ecobirmingham when sharing your adventures on on social media.
We have some fantastic prizes up for grabs, these include super cute Loffi cycling gloves, bike locks, bells and vouchers to use at some of the local heritage venues you will discover along the routes. All you need to do is fill in our short survey about your experience using the ‘Secret Birmingham’ heritage routes for a chance to win. *Winner of the prize draw will be announced end of September* Keep an eye on our social media pages for updates!
Secret Birmingham is a digital guided cycling tour of heritage sites in the South of the city developed by ecobirmingham and C&T.
Supported by Heritage Lottery, Swire Trust, John Feeney Trust and Edward Cadbury Trust.