Riverside Walk is a pleasant 3½ mile (5½ km) walk linking Leamington and Warwick. It follows the River Leam, Grand Union Canal, and River Avon.
- Start at the entrance to Newbold Comyn Leisure Centre. Facing the entrance, turn left and walk carefully down the steps at the side of the swimming pool. Turn right to walk along the back of the leisure centre.
- Follow the path through the wood, taking the path nearest to the river at all times. Take care crossing Willes Road and enter Jephson Gardens.
- Follow the main walk through Jephson Gardens. Look out for beautiful trees and sculptures. Leave Jephson Gardens through the main gates onto the Parade.
- Cross the Parade using the pedestrian crossing and walk into the Pump Room Gardens. Keep the Royal Pump Rooms on your left and then follow the river to the footbridge (York Bridge). Cross the footbridge.
- Turn right after crossing the footbridge and follow York Walk (not York Road) along the river. At Adelaide Bridge, go through the underpass into Victoria Park. Continue past the bowling greens, play area, skate park, and car park. Leave Victoria Park under the railway viaduct at Princes Drive.
- Cross Princes Drive using the pedestrian crossing. Take the footpath next to the crossing, signed 'Riverside Walk'. Pass the weir and Severn Trent Works.
- Follow the trip rail beside the river. Go through the kissing gate into Leam Field and follow the path up to the gate at the railway bridge (please note that the stiles on the map have been replaced by kissing gates).
- Keep the railway on your left and continue along the path to the canal. Turn right onto the canal towpath.
- Walk along the towpath and pass under bridge No. 45. After crossing the aqueduct over the River Avon, look for a black and white sign which says 'Waterside Walk' and carefully go down the metal steps. At the bottom of the steps bear right until you see the River Avon ahead of you.
- At the River Avon, bear right and walk under the aqueduct. Follow the riverside path past the Tesco Superstore to the railway bridge. Walk under the railway bridge and continue following the path along the river until you reach a footbridge (Charter Bridge) and Sea Scout HQ.
- Cross the cycle path into St. Nicholas Park, following the River Avon to the boat house and Castle Bridge. Congratulations, you have finished the downstream section of the walk!
Safety and accessibility information
Sections 1-2 and 6-9 of Riverside Walk are not suitable for wheelchairs or push chairs.
Wheelchair and push chair users can replace section 1-2 of the walk by using the cycle path between Newbold Comyn and Willes Road. Facing the entrance to Newbold Comyn Leisure Centre, head right towards Leamington town centre. Follow the cycle path along Newbold Terrace East to Willes Road.
There are no stiles on this route. Sections 1-2 and 9 have steps.
Some sections of the walk, especially 1-2 and 9-10, become very muddy or even flooded in some areas during the winter months. Please take extra care in these areas and wear suitable footwear. Don’t try to walk through flood water.
Take care crossing busy roads. Use pedestrian crossings where possible.
Riverside Walk improvement works 2020
The work undertaken along the Riverside Walk is a combination of safety work, habitat creation and restoration (the Riverside Walk having been cleared previously when the path was first installed).
The Riverside Walk is well used by pedestrians, dog walkers and college students (amongst others) and is expected to be used by some visitors to the Commonwealth Games in 2022. The path had become significantly overgrown in parts and the work undertaken increases light and visibility along the walk which will ensure a sense of safety amongst users of the path and deter anti-social behaviour.
With that said we are also sensitive to concerns regarding tree removals and perceived damage to the natural habitat, and can provide reassurance that the work will be beneficial to the local nature in many ways.
Coppicing of the trees will allow daylight to penetrate to the floor. This will allow fauna to establish and reseed in the coming years, and will also allow the dormant seed to germinate. This provides a plant range which will provide nectar and food for all manner of insects
The coppiced material and felled trunks have all been retained on site which will allow any overwintering eggs and dormant insects to re-emerge in the spring. The pile will also provide nesting sites for birds and mammals and the rotting process will provide habitat for fungi and insects which live in decaying and dead material. The cut material further provides a barrier to help dissuade people and dogs from the river bank, giving nesting birds some quite safe areas and a layup for otters.
The age structure of the path remains, the mature edges behind the works remain untouched in large areas, and the regrowth will re-introduce the new growth element with pollard trees also providing habitat niches.
In undertaking the work, we are protecting and supporting otters, birds generally and water edge birds nesting sites, butterflies and insects which all need our help. The flight and hunting areas of bats are also improved and native amphibians benefit from some additional quiet refuges under logs and brash piles. We also intend to undertake some over seeding, when the weather is appropriate, with suitable wild life friendly mix to help add some more biodiversity.
A future management plan is being developed with the plan to introduce a cutting regime that will ensure the growth of vegetation is kept in check whilst retaining structural diversity i.e. some short/developing/mature vegetation and 1m short mown areas to each side of the path.