Finally, and uneventful day!
We cheated a bit and took the train over about 15 miles of hill bits in the middle, but all in all it was a nice day, The route was mostly on country roads and back lanes, almost all paved with just a few sections thru the woods.
We had a bit of consternation when we reached the outskirts of Birmingham -- the route we had planned (from maps and the Sustrands National Cycle Routes) had us following an old canal into town. But when we got where we'd join the canal there was massive construction going on and the signposts showing our route (NCR 5) went off in a different direction. We decided to trust the signposts. It took us on a route mostly thru parks and eventually got us to the city center from a different direction and it took us a while to figure out how to get there but we finally made it