Birmingham’s ancient woodland walk with waterfalls, ‘castle’ and mystical well

From strolling around Serpentine Lake, through ancient forest, meandering under yew trees in search of waterfalls and the Gawton Spirit Well, you could be anywhere in the world. This beauty spot, just an hour and a half from Birmingham, offers some of the most exciting or soothing trails in the area, depending on what you’re looking for on the day.

Greenway Bank Country Park feels a bit secretive – we’ve been in the heat of summer and freezing cold of winter and found it to be quiet each time. As you travel along Knypersley Reservoir in search of the miniature “castle” that is the ancient Watcher’s Tower, you might be on a mission with Hobbits across Middle-earth.

It is a region steeped in mystery and intrigue. The castle is quiet, now home only to bats, and the aforementioned Gawton Well trickles down a stream. Some believe it to be one of the most spiritual sites in Staffordshire.

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The story goes that a man once lived as a hermit here, bathing and drinking the water, which would have healed him. You can also see the Gawton Stone, under which the man is said to have slept.

Gawton’s Well is steeped in mystery and intrigue

When we went we parked at Greenway Bank and walked through the woods and followed an easy to follow circular route along Serpentine Lake and then over the bridge and around Knypersley Reservoir looking for the well mystical.

You can just follow the reservoir, but the most exciting places are to the northeast – this is where you’ll find the turrets of the watchman’s tower, as well as signs leading you to the waterfalls. It is best not to visit them in the event of heavy rain, as some parts of the route may be closed.

The average walk to see everything will cover about two miles, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. The terrain is not too difficult, but you can struggle with a buggy in places.

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