BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Brownhills’

#365daysofbiking All for the best

Wednesday March 3rd 2021 – Returning from work again in the middle evening, it was a much clearer night as I crossed the Pier Street pedestrian bridge back into Brownhills, a traditional homecoming when the canal towpaths are not too wet.

Thankfully, they seem to be drying out a little, at last.

I love the look of the new housing along the canalside here at night. This used to be such an empty, desolate area, especially in the dark. It looks so much more alive and inhabited now, almost cosy in the streetlight.

Definitely change for the better.

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#365daysofbiking Misty for me

Tuesday March 2nd 2021 – I was at work, and ended up working late. It’s really curious how working from home seems to mean you often doing pretty much the same hours in work, just squashed into less days…

I was heading home weary on a chilly night with a barely perceptible mist of the kind that catches street lights and renders a ghostly hue upon familiar scenes.

As I hopped off the canal at Anchor Bridge, I noticed it through the trees, and capturing it was irresistible.

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#365daysofbiking Glad to see it


Friday February 26th 2021 – It looks like I was right: The period of fine sunsets has commenced.

Some springtimes, it’s better than others, but that’s the luck of the weather.

I spotted it coming on, and powered up the canal on the daily exercise ride to Chasewater where it looked superb, and despite the biting cold, it was fabulous to witness. Catching the moon over my favourite tree at Sandhills on the way back was a real bonus, too.

We really do live in a wonderfully beautiful area.

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#365daysofbiking Well said

Thursday February 25th 2021 – The pandemic has been hard on all of us.

Locally, they area was plagued for a while by anti-inoculation, pandemic denial graffiti that was persistent and prolific.

I don’t know who finally snapped and replied to them in marker pen over the top of older conspiracy graffiti on Ogley Junction Bridge, but my respect to them.

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#365daysofbiking Glad

Monday February 22nd 2021 – As if to answer my prayer for colour, my working from home exercise ride took me out at sunset, and I enjoyed it more than I expected, finding myself heading toward Chasewater on the canal.

On the bend near Newtown, looking toward the Chase Road bridge I saw the sky reflected in the canal, and although nearly dark, it was most gorgeous golden red.

Usually about now we go through a period of getting decent sunsets. It doesn’t last long, two or three weeks maybe – and there is a similar effect for a while when the nights close in in Autumn.

It’s one of the markers of entering and ending the winter darkness.

The period in spring always makes me glad – I hope it’s started.

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#365daysofbiking An annual treat for the initiated

Saturday February 20th 2021 – Just north east of Chasewater dam, behind the houses that were once the homes of mine managers, there’s an early spring spectacle every year that’s a must see for the initiated – the annual snowdrop glade.

Sadly, in all the vears I’ve visited it, I’ve never caught it on a sunny day.

But even on a dull Saturday, these carpets of what must be tens of thousands of tiny white wildflowers are stunningly beautiful, on land that was formerly industrial.

And visible from here, people pass by on the dam and nearby footpaths without realising the beauty they’re missing not 50 years away.

It’s just a secret for those who know…

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#365daysofbiking A total bore

Thursday February 18th 2021 – Haring around Chasewater dam on a working from home exercise ride – for once in the daylight – I nearly came a cropper.

I was a shade off catching my pedal on this protruding piece of steel pipe.

It has a close fitting cap and is padlocked shut.

This erstwhile cyclist and walker boobytrap is not some idle lump of former mining equipment stuck in the ground, or a piece of scrap the local tatters have missed – but a monitoring well for the land around.

Ground engineers monitor the area around Chasewater Dam for groundwater pollution and signs that the dam may be leaking. To do that they have a number of these bores, drilled and sleeved, which are dipped and monitored regularly for changes in water level and the chemical composition of the water within.

These are a familiar sight around Chasewater, but also many of the public open spaces in the area that require ground monitoring – like Brownhills Common, Shire Oak Nature Reserve and Clayhanger Common.

So mind your step and watch out when cycling off road: They are quite sturdy and not very forgiving…

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#365daysofbiking Living on the skyline


Tuesday February 16th 2021 – Time for a favourite tree update.

The tree I love most of all is this particular horse chestnut, visible clearly on the skyline at Home Farm, Sandhills from the Wyrley and Essington Canal at Catshill, not more than 100 yards from Anchor Bridge.

I love it’s shape, the way it punctuates the rural landscape here, right on the very interface of the urban West Midlands with rural South Staffordshire.

It’s also my gauge of the seasons. I follow it’s colours as it weathers the the year: At the moment it is resolutely bare, but it will be in bud, and soon, from my distant towpath vantage point, I will see the familiar sheen of bright green emerge, before it comes into full leaf.

Usually it lags behind the fields and hedgerows, always the more eager neighbours, and so it is this year, with the field between us bright green with fresh crop growth.

I live for this view, this skyline. And that tree.

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#365daysofbiking Roadside delicacy

Sunday February 14th 2021 – The snowdrops are shaping up excellently this spring, I must say. I had thought the cold weather might stunt or harm them, but that’s not the case.

Coming up a very windswept and damp Barracks Lane, these delicate little flowers growing beside the vet’s paddock at Warrenhouse were just the beautiful thing I needed to see on a grey, late winter Sunday.

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#365daysofbiking Cervine suggestion

Saturday February 13th 2021 – It’s a fact that in the Brownhills and the wider South Staffordshire area, on the fringes where urbanisation becomes rural, red deer are now present in large numbers, and often become victims of traffic collisions.

This is particularly true around Chasewater, which has several large, itinerant hears of these human-tolerant beasts, so it’s been necessary to put up warning signs for road users.

I do wonder if, in a cruel twist of fate, this one on Pool Lane was knocked sideways by a leaping stag…

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