21km (Half Marathon) Run Loop Birmingham

A 21km (half marathon) loop along canal towpaths, out past Bournville and then back along the Rea Valley Cycle Route through Cannon Hill Park – a perfect “green run” for during the day, as not all paths are lit at night.

Pictorial directions:

Start at Council House. Cross Victoria Sq. Run down Pinfold St. Right into Navigation St.

Go under flyover. Turn right up path to Holliday St. Left along Holliday St.

Go under bridge. First left onto canal. Right at canal. Run for 7.5km to bridge with steps taking you across canal to other side.

Cross canal to other side. Continue along canal towpath. Exit canal on left after 150m. Follow Rea Valley Cycle Route No 5.

Keep following Rea Valley Bike Route No. 5 blue signs all the way to Cannon Hill Park, approx 4km.

Run anti-clockwise around park. Exit at MAC Arts Centre gate. Run ahead past Aldi. Left onto Edgbaston Rd. Right onto Pershore Rd.

Cross at pedestrian lights. Run up Sir Harry’s Rd. Cross Bristol Rd to continue up Sir Harry’s Rd. Cross Wellington Rd. Right onto Arthur Rd.

Keep running straight ahead. Cross Carpenter Rd. Continue along Wheeley’s Rd. Left at A4540 Lee Bank. Left down steps onto canal. Left along canal.

Run along canal to corner by The Cube/Mailbox. Run around corner following canal to the left.

Through Broad St tunnel, past Sealife Centre. Cross canal twice (by The Malt House pub) to run back.

Through Broad St tunnel again (on other side). Exit canal at James Brindley Canalhouse pub. Left up Bridge St.

Cross over Broad St. Right in front of Rep Theatre. Follow path back to city centre.

Follow path around Town Hall back to start by Council House.

Run NE past Council House entrance. Turn 1 st left into Eden Place . Turn 1st right into Edmund St.

Continue along Edmund St. Cross over Newhall St.

Turn right into Church St. Run to Cathedral Square. Turn left onto Colmore Row.

Run one complete loop around outer edge of Cathedral Sq.

Run part way round a second loop of Cathedral Sq. Turn left into Waterloo St.

Run to Victoria Square and back to start.

Verbal directions:

Start at the steps outside the entrance to the Council House in Victoria Square. Facing away from the Council house, run to the other side of the square to head down Pinfold Street.

Run along Pinfold Street and turn right at the end into Navigation Street (approx 250 metres from Council House).

Run along Navigation Street until you go under the flyover (approx 225 metres).

Turn right just after the flyover and run along the pathway to the first road on your left, Holliday Street (approx 100 metres).

Turn left into Holliday Street and run along, underneath the bridge, until you see the first turn on your left past the bridge onto the canal (approx 375 metres).

Take this turn onto the canal, turn right onto the canal network. Follow the canal for 7.2km until you go under a bridge where the path stops and steps take you over to the continuation of the canal path on the opposite side of the canal (before you get to this bridge you will pass The University Vale canal dock and humped back brick bridge (1.9km from entering the canal towpath), the University Train Station (3.5km from entering the canal towpath) and Bournville Train Station (6.4km from entering the canal towpath)).

After you have crossed over to the other side of the canal continue along the canal for another 150m to the small exit on your left.

Go though this exit to leave the canal and follow the Rea Valley Cycle Route back towards Cannon Hill Park (look for the blue cycling signs showing the route number 5). The full detailed route for this as as follows:

After coming off the canal, go through the barriers and head down the road in front of you (for approx 90 metres).

Turn right at the t-junction and run along Dacer Close and follow it round to the left until you see the sign for the Rea Valley Cycle Route on your right hand side (after approx 120 metres).

Follow this sign onto the path and follow the path until it comes out at a main road A4040 Fordhouse Lane (approx 285 metres).

Cross over the road and follow the path straight ahead of you until you come to the next road – Hazelwell Road (approx 350 metres).

Cross over this road to the pavement on the other side, turn right along this pavement and follow the Rea Valley Cycle Route round to the left until you come to the next main road – Cartland Road (approx 600 metres).

Cross over the road at the pedestrian crossing and continue straight ahead along the Rea Valley Cycle Route until you reach the next road – Dogpool Lane/Moor Green Lane (approx 750 metres).

Turn left here, cross over at the pedestrian crossing, and take the road on your right Cecil Road. Run along Cecil Road to the end (approx 265 metres).

Turn right at the end and follow the path straight ahead of you that bends round to the left into the park area. Follow this path past the first bridge on your right, and turn right over the second bridge on your right (approx 625 metres).

Follow the main path round to the left from the other side of the bridge and follow the main wide path into the main part of Cannon Hill Park (approx 800 metres).

Take the main pathway up to the right, and follow this as it bends round to the left, and keep running ahead, past a bandstand on your right, and a cafe on your right, until you see some large metal entrance gates to the park ahead of you (approx 750 metres).

Stay within the park and take the path off to the left before you get to these gates and follow this path down to the MAC Centre (toilet in here!) – the main building within the park (approx 350 metres).

Turn right through the main gates just before the MAC, running out over the bridge over the River Rea, crossing straight ahead over the car park access road to follow the curved access road – The Boulevard – that runs in front of the apartment building ahead on your left to the Aldi supermarket access road – The Ashes (approx 200 metres).

Keep going ahead over The Ashes access road past Aldi supermarket to the main road – Edgbaston Road, with Edgbaston Test Cricket Ground straight ahead of you (approx 55 metres).

Cross over this main road at the pedestrian lights and turn left to run along the pavement, crossing over the entrance road to the cricket ground car park, along to the next main road – Pershore Road A441 (approx 140 metres).

Turn right at this crossroad and run along Pershore Road down to the first pedestrian lights, just after a row of shops on your left hand side (approx 285 metres).

Cross over at these pedestrian lights, turn right and then almost immediately left to run up Sir Harrys Road (approx 200 metres).

At the end where it comes out onto the next main road – Bristol Road A38 – turn right, and cross over the pedestrian crossing to the other side, turn left then almost immediate right to continue along Sir Harrys Road. Run all the way up Sir Harrys Road to where it finishes at the junction with Wellington Road (approx 575 metres).

Cross straight over the road here to continue running straight ahead along Ampton Road to the next junction with Arthur Road (approx 185 metres).

Turn right to run along Arthur Road. Cross over the junction with Carpenter Road to keep running ahead along what is now called Wheeleys Road all the way to the traffic lights at the junction with Lee Bank Middleway A4540 (approx 1km).

Turn left at this junction, and after approx 75 metres along the pavement, go down the steps on your left back onto the canal. Turn left onto the canal to run towards the city centre, until you reach the canal corner (approx 600 metres).

Follow the canal to the left around the corner. Keep running along the canal with the canal on your right hand side. Run through the tunnel under Broad St. Run on until you reach a corner with a small island in the centre of the canal, the Sealife Centre on your left and the Birmingham Arena directly ahead of you on the other side of the canal (approx 575 metres to this corner).

Follow the canal round to the left at this corner then cross over the canal on your right using the second footbridge (at approx 100 metres from the corner).

Turn right at the end of the footbridge to come down onto the canal towpath again. Run under the first footbridge. Come off the towpath over the second footbridge towards the Malt House pub. Start to head back along the canal you were running along earlier but on the opposite side and in the opposite direction.

Follow the canal back under Broad St tunnel (on the opposite towpath this time). As it bends to the left into the canal boatyard area, come off the canal up the ramp/steps by the James Brindley pub onto Bridge Street (approx 425 metres from Malt House pub).

Turn left onto Bridge Street and run up to the junction with Broad Street (approx 100 metres).

Cross over Broad Street and run up towards the REP Theatre. Turn right in front of the theatre and follow the pedestrian route all the way back to Victoria Square where this run started (approx 500 metres from Broad Street).

Run along the front of the Council House past the steps at the entrance to the Council House in Victoria Square (for approx 50 metres).

Turn left into Eden Place, the passageway between the Council House and Starbucks Coffee. Run along this passage way to the end (approx 85 metres).

Turn right into Edmund Street. Run along Edmund Street crossing over Newhall Street, passing Barwick Street on your right, until you reach Church Street (for approx 230 metres).

Turn right into Church Street. Run along Church Street until you reach Colmore Row (approx 120 metres).

Cross over Colmore Row and turn left. Run all the way around the outer green edge of the Cathedral grounds in a clockwise direction until you are back to this point (approx 500 metres).

Continue to run a second time around the edge of the Cathedral Grounds, going past Needless Alley and Temple Street on your left, until you reach Waterloo Street (for approx 175 metres).

Turn left into Waterloo Street. Run along Waterloo Street until you reach Victoria Square (approx 180 metres).

Turn right to run along the edge of Victoria Square back to the steps of the Council House (for approx 75 metres).


  • Download and print out the 21km A4 sheet to fold into a hand-sized mini-booklet with easy to follow maps and directions for this run.
  • Download and print out the 3km run A4 foldable sheet you will also need for this run.

[View instructions on how to fold these sheets here]



Map details © OpenStreetMap contributors