BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘Black Cock’

#365daysofbiking Abridged

Friday January 15th 2021 – Just hopping on the canal on the way home from work, I turned to look behind me at the bridge whose challenging climb I was avoiding by taking the towpath of the canal it crosses.

The Black Cock bridge – comedically named after the nearby pub – has suffered subsidence in the early part of its current incarnation and is still monitored closely for cracks and fissures. It’s approaches are now dangerously steep, and a later footbridge has been added alongside to accommodate pedestrians.

I don’t think in it’s current form this sore abused, but not yet dead bridge will survive long now. I suspect it’s fate may be similar to Hollanders Bridge further up the Line in Walsall Wood – renovated in the 80s with a lightweight metal deck and blocked to vehicular traffic.

It’s a fascinating bridge with a remarkable history, it really is.

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#365daysofbiking Halfway up the junction

Tuesday December 1st 2020 – As you come up Green Lane from Shelfield at night, through the darkness of Green Lane, you come to a small hamlet at the foot of the Black Cock Bridge, the bridge itself being named after the pub on its southern flank.

The hamlet is one of the oldest parts of Walsall Wood, once known as Bullings Heath, but now just part of the greater township. Bullings Heath itself stretches on up Hall Lane, and ends at the junction with the Lichfield Road in an area of factories and industrial units that were once the site of a sprawling slum formed largely of canal workers and ex-navvies.

The junction between Hall Lane and Green Lane sits somewhat oddly halfway up the slope of the bridge, now accentuated due to mining subsidence, but always pronounced.

Looking down it at night gives a wonderful village feeling, and you could be in almost any rural community.

I often thought about the dairy farm in Hall Lane, whose buildings and great barn are still extant – and how the carter must have cursed at having to drive his horse uphill to go back down immediately when going to Shelfield with his milk.

I often wonder how much milk got spilled there…

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#365daysofbiking Ducks deluxe:

April 19th – Another first for the year on a short afternoon ride out to test the bike and legs. I’d had a go at sorting a creak in the bottom bracket, but it was still grumbling.

Although bright and sunny, there was still a chill in the air.

On the canal in Walsall Wood, my first ducklings of the year – seven balls of mallard fluff squeaking and doing their best to stick with proud mum.

This is always such a joy to see. Look forward to more of it, and goslings, too.

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#365daysofbiking – Better days

February 5th – My energy didn’t give out so I went full circle and attended to an errand in Walsall Wood.

I passed under the Black Cock Bridge, named after the nearby pub. A familiar if ramshackle affair, the bridge has been lifted several times due to subsidence and now exists in a sort of limbo: It’s not got much life left, yet replacement of the structure, on a notorious rat-run, would not be easy and due to the aforementioned subsidence, would probably be better and an under bridge with and aqueduct above.

I suspect eventually it will be closed to through traffic and left, like Hollanders Bridge further up in Walsall Wood.

It’s seen better days, as have I, but I hope there’s a few more to come yet for me. For the first time in weeks, I feel like there might actually be a summer eventually, and wellness might once again be mine.

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#365daysofbiking Staying focused

November 5th – On the way to work I hit the canal between Brownhills and the Black Cock Bridge, and through the copse alongside the towpath, I could see a group of female red deer in the field between me and Clayhanger.

Sadly, there were just too many trees in the way and the deer were remarkably nervous today, so my attempts to  focus on them beyond the trees were thwarted.

I must get faster at that. Far too ham fisted at the moment.

Also fascinated by the zoom compression of the houses in the background, which aren’t anywhere near as close as that in real life.

Nice to see the ladies about though…

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#365daysofbiking A taste of honey

July 3rd – As expected, someone has flailed the beautiful, tumbling honeysucklle on the southern flank of the Black Cock Bridge, as they do every year when it’s in bloom. it’s ad, but it’s their hedge, I guess. But I’ll never understand it.

Now, i’ll have to make do with the other honeysuckle growing hereabouts – and there’s a lot of it, to be fair: Another think now profuse that wasn’t really about much when I was a kid.

This example, mingling beautifully in a tangled, glorious mess of brambles, lupins, cow parsley and bindweed, is growing on the embankment above the big house at Clayhanger, just on the edge of the canal towpath.

And thankfully, I’ve never seen anyone trim this one…

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#365daysofbiking A taste of honey

June 6th – On the way home, I noticed the handsome, sprawling honeysuckle that grows along the railings on the southern flank of the Black Cock Bridge in Walsall Wood are in full bloom now.

Sadly, someone will be along to clip this back like a hedge soon, they always do when in flower and that always puzzles me.

It remains lovely though, and it tumbles down the embankment in the pasture below, a haven for bees, bugs and passing cyclists who adore the scent.

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#365daysofbiking IC


January 18th – A very cold, hazard-ridden commute as I got used to riding on ice – all be it with ice tyres – again. It takes time to reassure yourself that they actually work.

The road gutters and towpaths had some lurking black ice and it was rather cold.

Still only an IC1 on the fabulous Dry Marland canal ice scale though….

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#365daysofbiking Downhill carefully

January 16th – I was tired, it was late and cresting the Black Cock Bridge wearily I suddenly realised there was a hazard about: Hitting the higher ground towards Brownhills coupled with the semi rural nature of Green Lane, I could see in places the familiar sheen of frost.

The road was gritted well. But towards the kerbs and in places the grit hadn’t yet reached, ice lurked.

A warm winter has made me complacent. Time to be careful.

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