BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Bullings Heath’

#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 Noir

Friday November 27th 2020 – I had been working from home but had to pop into work late afternoon for something that couldn’t wait the weekend out, so I grabbed the bike and went for it.

Returning in the early evening, I came along Green Lane and up the southern flank of the Black Cock Bridge at Bullings Heath, the tiny hamlet that was probably the genesis of the village of Walsall Wood – now a town of well over 10,000 people.

Bullings Heath, over a very high, daunting bridge from the rest of the urbanity it spawned still retains a bucolic feel and one of slight isolation at night; as you traverse Green Lane past Coppice Woods and Jockey Meadows where there are no streetlights, emerging into the sodium-lit hamlet is an almost cinematic experience, often replete with foxes, owls and bats.

Tonight, I stopped to hop on the canal and looked behind me in a moment when the moon was shielded by thick cloud, and there was very little natural light. It was really atmospheric and reminded me of a film noir.

It’s wonderful how moonlight, or the lack thereof can influence the feel of a place so dramatically.

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#365daysofbiking A dark chicken

January 9th – One of the more comedic things about curating this journal and blog is that I comment a lot about a geographical local feature with a very amusing name – the Black Cock bridge. Named after the pub nearby, the Black Cock has long been the source of much schoolboy innuendo and humour, but is actually a decent, old fashioned pub that always looks welcoming when I pass, particularly on a dull winter evening.

It does, of course, have a far cruder colloquial name I shan’t detail.

However, I do love the thought of sweaty-palmed people banging Black Cock into search engines, which then return multiple hits to this journal rather than the desired subject…

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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 Bridge to my heart

#365daysifbiking Bridge to my heart:

December 29th – Still busy doing other things (bike maintenance, mainly) I had to nip up Walsall Wood to Screwfix in that magical interregnum between the sun setting and it not being fully dark.

Bullings Heath on the flank of thelack Cock Bridge looked superb, as did Hollanders Bridge.

I love the quiet, sleepy feel of the days between Christmas and new year; like the world world is snoozing off its lunch.

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#365daysofbiking That sinking feeling:

December 13th – Struggling up the Black Cock Bridge due to tiredness and another late night at work, my phone rang and I stopped to answer by the junction with Hall Lane.

This little, discrete hamlet was years ago called Bullings Heath and sitting in the lee of the bridge flank, there are many legends about the subsidence here caused by minewovrkings below.

Whilst there was sinking, it wasn’t a bad as purported, and these things generally never are, but legends persist and they suggest the houses on the left were once level with the canal.

Tonight, Bullings Heath nestled in the darkness, and was keeping it’s secrets to itself, and looking for all the world like a somnambulant, rural hamlet.

A historic conundrum.

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#365daysofbiking Night falls:

October 29th – Travelling back home in the first of the end of British Summer Time commutes is always hard: I wasn’t late, but it was dark, and cold. I got passed by two gritters. Progress was slow. 

Winter is upon me.

This means rejigging the photography a bit, as it’s had to find subjects in darkness, so the activity tends to shift to morning, or during errands or trips in the daytime.

Oh well, it’s here. Let’s do this.

June 7th – Sad to note that the honeysuckle growing on the western rail of the Black Cock Bridge has again this year been hedge cut in it’s prime. I don’t know why anyone would do that, and it makes me sad – but it’s recovered well, and the woodbine still tumbles in a beautiful tangle into the meadow below the embankment.

A delight for bugs and bees. Clearly, someone doesn’t like it as much as I do.

February 14th – What an awful day.I battled into Walsall against an evil headwind. I had a hospital appointment that took forever, and when I came out there was heavy rain.

I arrived at work soaked and grumpy.

The way home was just as rain-soaked, but at least the wind was assisting me.

Cycling at the moment is a real challenge. I can see spring. I can taste it. It’s in the light, the flowers, the landscape. But this bad weather seems endless.

I will of course hang in there. But my goodness, this is hard going.