I’m a lucky hiker because although I don’t own a car, I have hiking friends who do.
If you’re into hiking and live in a city, it can be a bit difficult to get around, but there are public transport options that can take you to pretty good hiking locations within 30 minutes to an hour of the city.
Before I start though, it’s always a good option to check Apps like Meetup.com where you might find locals arranging a hike and offering places in their car – especially if you like meeting new people.
I’m gonna split this post into more hilly walks and then flatter park/wood walks that you can do closer to the city centre.
How To Get Public Transport For Cheaper
Train: If you are travelling in groups of 3 to 9 people, you can save 34% from off-peak tickets. This discount should be applied automatically when you buy your tickets.
Bus: On buses within the Birmingham area, the maximum you will be charged is £4 per day.
You can now use your credit or debit card to tap for each journey (just when you get on the bus) and the system will recalculate how much you owe not only by how many buses you use during the day but the whole month. This means that if a monthly pass would have worked out cheaper, you pay less.
Good Hikes From Birmingham
These are my favourite hiking areas accessible by public transport from Birmingham city centre.
The Malvern Hills
The Malvern Hills are about 38 miles south of Birmingham and are easiest accessed by train. The hills divide the counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire (where the sauce is from) and offer some stunning views of the beautiful Midlands countryside.
You can take a train from New Street or University stations which take you to Malvern in about 50 minutes.
Get the train to Malvern Link for hikes on North or Sugarloaf Hill.
Get the train to Great Malvern for hikes on the hills further south like Jubilee Hill and the interestingly named Perseverance Hill.
An Off-Peak Day Return train ticket is likely to cost you £12.50.
The Lickey Hills lie just 10 miles southwest of Birmingham which makes them very quick and easy to get to. They offer panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and 6 different peaks, the highest being Beacon Hill at 298 metres.
To get to the Lickey Hills from Birmingham, grab a train from New Street to Barnt Green. This takes 27 minutes and will cost you £4.30 for a return ticket.
You can also take the number 63 bus from Smallbrook Queensway outside New Street Station. This takes you to Beverley Rd in 50 minutes which is in the general area of the Lickey Hills but is still an hour’s walk away, so the train is a much better option.
The Clent Hills sit southwest of Birmingham (a little further west than the Lickeys) and their highest peaks are Walton Hill which is 316 metres high followed by Clent Hill at 309 metres.
The Clent Hills offer great views of Worcestershire and Birmingham.
Public transport to the Clent Hills is a little more difficult. The best way I’ve found to do it is to get a train from Birmingham Snow Hill station to Old Hill (18 mins) or Cradley Heath (30 mins) which will cost you £4.30 (return). You’re still then about 5 miles away from the hills, so the easiest way to finish the journey is with an Uber which takes about 15-20 minutes and will cost around £11 each way. If you’re not travelling alone, this still works out pretty reasonably and the total journey should take about an hour.
Shropshire Hills AONB
The Shropshire Hills are a great place to go hiking and are reasonably accessible by public transport.
Taking a Train from Birmingham New Street Station to Church Stretton takes about 1hr 30 minutes and will cost you £25.60 for a return.
Once you reach the area you can either walk to the start points or alternatively, there’s a shuttle bus that runs through the summer and will take you to various hiking trails. You can read more about it here.
Failing that, you could always try hitchhiking as there will always be various other hikers heading in the same direction as you.
The Long Mynd
From Church Stretton, you are only about a mile away from the Carding Mill Valley and Long Mynd hikes. “Mynd” comes from the word mountain in Welsh and the full name reflects the long plateau of the landscape.
From the Long Mynd, you can also reach Stiperstones (8.3 miles walk away) which is an impressive ridge that formed about 500 million years ago and sits 536 metres above sea level making it the second-highest peak in Shropshire.
Northeast of Church Stretton is Caer Caradoc, a hill made of volcanic rocks and rises to 459 metres above sea level. The hike starts just 2 miles from Church Stretton Train station.
Check out a hiking route here:
The Stourbridge area is great for walks and is most notable for Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses.
From Birmingham New Street Station, Stourbridge Junction takes 40 mins and costs £6.40 return.
Taking Bus 242 (which takes 30 minutes and goes every hour) from Stourbridge gets you to Kinver Edge which offers some spectacular walks with varying features such as views across the valley, forest trails and sandstone caves. The bus should be £4 for a day ticket.
Alternatively, you could walk 2 miles to Bunkers Hill Woods from the train station (taking a similar time to the bus above), for a closer start point which also passes through Kinver Edge.
Here’s a hike route for you:
Good Walks Within Birmingham
Sutton Park is located just 6 miles from Birmingham city centre and is one of the largest urban parks in Europe.
To get to Sutton Park, take the train from Birmingham New Street to Sutton Coalfield which takes 20 minutes and costs £5 for an off-peak return.
Woodgate Valley Park
Woodgate Valley Park is a 250-acre park which also houses an urban farm. There are several walking routes up to 3 miles.
Take the 23 or 34 Platinum bus from the Library Metro stop. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the park.
Sandwell Valley Park
This is one of my favourite parks in Birmingham. There you’ll find everything from woodland to mountain bike trails.
It’s a bit difficult to get to via public transport, but it can be done. You can get the train from Birmingham Snow Hill to The Hawthorns, 23 mins and £3 return. Then it’s a 1.5-mile (30 min) walk to the park.
Mosley Bog is full of history, most notably the childhood home of J.R.R Tolkein, the author of the Lord of the Rings. There are various walks through the Mosely Bog and Joy’s Wood area and you can also visit the Sarehole Mill.
You can get to Mosely Bog by bus number 2 or 3 from outside the Selfridges car park and it takes about 40 minutes.
Alternatively, you could get a train from Birmingham New Street to Hall Green and then walk 20 minutes (1 mile) through the Sarehole Mill area and Cole Valley to arrive at the southeast side of the bog.
In future updates, I’m gonna talk about how to walk the Peak District from Birmingham using public transport.