West Midlands
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SP200774 (1*) Irish Bridge
Sent in by Lee Chapman (Image 1 & 2: 27/07/2001), Chris Marsh (Image 3: 10/03/2003) and Simon Litherland (Image 4: 08/09/2008)

Just a part-time ford this one but in a delightful setting with car parking and a quaint wooden footbridge. It looks like it has a recent refurbishment and the local council have tried to make a real feature of it. However, during these works, I think the river has been culverted so that this one will only provide a splash-down after the most heaviest of rainfall.

'Image 3 shows Barston at the point of being breached. Note that the deepest water is therefore not on the ford crossing, but on the Knowle approach. I nearly came a cropper on this when I drove across the ford when it looked around 8" deep' Chris Marsh

'I have visited Barston Ford on numerous occasions and am lucky to have seen it in full flow. The ford will usually come to life when the Solihull ford has between 2-3 feet of water in it. The ford starts, at the Barston end, where the concrete does. At this point can be around half a foot in depth. The ford then engulfs the road for around 50m. It goes further than the edge of the 3rd picture. At its deepest point it is around a foot and is drivable but with a lot of care. I have driven it on three or four occasions when it is like this and have also cycled through it past a stricken motorist. It is well worth visiting after some very heavy rain.' Stephen Nicholls

SP245777 (1*) Irish Bridge
Sent in by Chris Marsh (10/03/2003)

'The ford is near Berkswell railway station where an underpass beneath the level crossing provides this little ford when there's sufficient flow.

Berkswell Station ford has now gone to be replaced by a new underpass!'

Canley Ford
SP313770 (2*) Restricted Access
Sent in by Mike Penny (19/01/2004)

'I remember going to the ford in the early 1970's as a child, whilst there were no vehicular access restrictions (that I can remember) I never saw a car use it although I remember my Grandfather saying it used to be a favourite spot for cleaning lorries! There also used to be a 'milk-bar' near by selling refreshments and it was a popular spot for families after a short day out.

The base it silting up but is still hard concrete and very smooth. Water was about 10 inches in parts. Seems to be mostly used by walkers with dogs and kids with mountain bikes. There has been some obvious management (by Friends of Canley Ford?) since my last visit a around 5 years ago with one of the outflows being blocked with large stones.'

Friends of Canley Ford

Hall Green
SP099821 (3*) Suitable for All

It doesn't look like it, but this one is genuinely deep in urban Birmingham and is well worth a visit. Again, take care for a flashy response in wet weather (Image 2 sent in by Neil Ensor 03/03/2007).

SP213800 (1*) Restricted Access
Sent in by Chris Marsh

'The mother of fords is still signposted "ford unsuitable for motors" as you go down Marsh Lane from Hampton in Arden. I've a book on the history of packhorse bridges and this quotes Jervois as mentioning that the ford alongside this particular bridge be dangerous. Solihull Council now have a Traffic Regulation Order on it.'

I visited Hampton to find the signs still there and a major refurbishment to the footbridge, but any recognisable ford is now long gone. Not even one for cyclists or horseriders i'm afraid! (14/04/2003)

SP018784 (3*) Suitable for All

Where would you least expect to find a ford? Next to the giant Rover plant in Longbridge, Birmingham is exactly what you would have said I bet! This 3 car-length ford is on an obscure and narrow road used mostly to access a small Indian restaurant and the local conservative club (which to reach you need to pass through a curiously narrow tunnel just after the ford). More often than not it is quite a timid splash-down, but be careful of the flashy response of this one in heavy rainfall (see mouseover: Sent in by Steve Chadney, 28/07/2007)

Oldwich Lane
SP214741 (1*) Irish Bridge

Another 'part-time' ford down a very minor (and bumpy) country lane. There was a small flow when I visited, but the height of the bridge indicates that this one doesn't get too deep. Image mouseover sent in by Chris March (10/08/2004)

Sedgemere (x2!)

SP222763 (1*) Irish Bridge
SP226759 (1*) Irish Bridge

Sedgemere plays host to a couple of simple part-time fords in quick proximity of each other. The source for both fords is the same brook, which requires substantial rainfall to produce a splash-down. Image mouseover shows the larger of the two in flood (Sent in by Chris Marsh, 10/03/2003)

SP181793 (1*) Irish Bridge

A curious ford in a truly olde England setting. On approach you are bombarded with signs which say 'deep ford' when more often than not there is no water at all! The ford is formed by when an adjacent pond overflows the road. However, it is indeed deep when it springs into action; nearly 3ft on the depth gauge! (Image mouseover sent in by Stephen Nicholls)

Another ford can be found on the nearby Ravenshaw Estate (Image 2: 14/04/2003), but motor vehicles can no longer get anywhere near. Where did the road go?

Solihull Lodge
SP102780 (1*) Suitable for All
Image 1 courtesy of VirtualBrum.co.uk, Image 2 Sent in by Matthew Evans (03/10/2007)

Details sent in by Chris Bertram
'The River Cole (yes, the same as at Whitlock's End, Yardley Wood and Springfield) crosses Peterbrook Road and runs next to Aqueduct Road under the canal. Peterbrook Road is on an Irish bridge, and normally dry, but after heavy rain the splash can be quite impressive, and in extreme conditions Aqueduct Road can be flooded too. Not marked on Landranger, but is on Birmingham A-Z. Temporary signs put out by Solihull council as necessary.'

Sutton Park
SP111958 (1*) Restricted Access

A simple and shallow ford with a concrete base which is open only occasionally to motor vehicles. The ford is located on an emergency access road which means this one is mostly for cyclists.

'This ford was used in the 70s as part of the very popular RAC rally stage and always drew big crowds. Nicholas Woollett'

Temple Balsall
SP208763 (3*) Off-Roaders Only!
Sent in by Chris Marsh (23/12/2003) with comments from fesuvious

'A deep ford (1-2 feet deep) with shingle bottom and easy access. Now a UCR and part of a greenlane that leads into Barston from Balsall Common. Its a bad lane. a high clearence 4x4 is a certainty. And even then its not easy. This lane took out a couple of panels, rear lights and my snorkel top!'

Woodgate Valley (x3!)

SO996835 (1*) Restricted Access
SP003834 (1*) Restricted Access
SP007833 (1*) Restricted Access
Sent in by Phil Price (02/10/2015)

'None of these are accessible by car as they are inside the country park although they will have been active fords in days gone by. '

Yardley Wood (x2!)

SP100798 (2*) Restricted Access
SP102794 (2*) Restricted Access
Images 1 & 2 courtesy of VirtualBrum.co.uk

These two fords have unfortunately been sealed off by Birmingham City Council to motorists. This is a shame as they are the longest fords in the area due to the river flowing down the road for a small stretch. Images 1 and 2 show the ford at Scribers Lane where as Image 3 is the ford at Slade Lane (Image sent in by Matthew Felkin (05/04/2008).

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