BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘canal and river trust’

#365daysofbiking A thorn in my side

January 31st – I see with their usual subtlety and lack of attention to detail (more on that in a post on my main blog coming up soon) the Canal and River Trust have flailed the hedges along the canal towpath between Anchor Bridge and Brownhills.

This makes for a thorny hazard for cyclists with normal tyres as the flailed thorns are devils for causing punctures.

It’s right to do it this time of year, before birds nest of course, and lord knows, the job needed doing – but the tractor they used has again churned up the grass, and the aggressive mowing has continued, with nascent daffodils cropped along with the grass.

I have no idea what’s motivated the trust to carry out this manic bout of mowing everything to within a millimetre of living but I wish they’d tale a deep breath and think about it more.

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#365daysofbiking Life by water

January 28th – By the time I got to Whitehorse Road/Wharf Lane, things felt a bit better. My trepidation was still there, but night was coming in now and the light was altogether better, friendlier and more comforting. And the wind seemed to be subsiding.

There’s a current Canal and River trust campaign about life being better close to water. They’re not wrong, actually.

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#365daysofbiking Lily was here

October 11th –  On the way to work on the canal Walsall Wood, I noticed something one doesn’t normally see until early spring: This floating root, probably disturbed by Canal and River Trust efforts to remove the floating algae, is a rhizome of the water lilies that are so profuse here.

This remnant of the summer plant generally sinks to the canal bottom during winter, and when the water warms in spring, it becomes buoyant, floats with other detritus and then takes root, and when rooted, will grow that season’s lilies.

It’s a curious mechanism that actually works very efficiently.

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July 29th – Following all the brouhaha over the leak at Little Bloxwich and the dispute between the owners of Chasewater, Staffordshire County Council and the people who rely on it for water, the Canal and River Trust, it’s interesting to see the valves are open at Chasewater, resulting in waternflowing into a full canal and draining away via it’s overflows.

I guess they have their reasons, but it seems odd to be wasting the water at the moment, with conditions having been so dry. Perhaps they’re trying to keep up flow into the Ford Brook. The level of Chasewater itself is, of course, steadily falling now.

Nice to watch and listen to the water though – very relaxing on a dull, cool wet afternoon.

October 5th – This is an odd one. Drifting for a while on the canal around the Black Cock Bridge in Walsall Wood, this abandoned pleasure craft does seem to have been someone’s home for a while, with boards tied at a broken side window, and signs of recent life inside. There’s no boat registration visible, no apparent engine and the craft is just drifting.

I had thought the boat had originated locally, but I think that assumption is wrong, having studied previous photos.

I guess, if abandoned this can be considered flytipping, and I suppose the Canal and River Trust, the people responsible for the canals, have a procedure for this sort of eventuality, but it must be a real pain hauling it out of the water and disposing of it.

A curious thing indeed.

June 17th – This is joyous.On the banks of the new pond at Clayhanger, what I believe to be northern marsh orchids growing in profusion. The grass is not cut here, and there must be 40 or so of these beautiful purple flowers. They are doing well, and they’re just gorgeous.

The whole bank running down from the towpath is a carpet of wildflowers, and alive with bugs and bees.

There are usually a few marsh orchids on the towpath up towards Aldridge, but the Canal and River Trust’s ferocious and inflexible mowing schedule means that all the best specimens have this year been shredded to pulp in the name of tidiness.

Let’s hope the mowing zealots don’t spot these…

February 15th – This was a surprise, I must say; in the past couple of years, Chasewater has been allowed to fill overwinter to the point which it overflows, but apparently not this year. The water level has steadily risen to about 300mm (a foot) or so off full, and today, water was draining quickly into the canal from the reservoir.

I guess the Canal and River Trust must need the water for some reason – that is, after all, why Chasewater exists – but it does seem unusual. Hope they don’t draw too much down this time.

January 27th – It’s been over a year since I reported the brickwork n the local canals collapsing into the water – both on the bend between Pier Street and Catshill junction, and on the stretch between Catshill and Clayhanger Bridge.

The Canal & River Trust came out once, and erected safety tape, which the guys cutting the grass removed.

Since then, loads of other spots have deteriorated.

This cavity is large enough to trap a bicycle wheel or child’s foot. If you rode or stepped into it, you’d fall into the canal. 

Watch out folks – the C&RT don’t give a toss so you’d better be on your guard.

February 24th – I passed the boat yard at Ogley Junction as dusk was falling. I note with some disdain that the dredgers and associated butties and tugs are still languishing here,12months to the day after the blue machine toppled over in Anglesey Basin, it remains abandoned with the other equipment – including a decent tug – brought in to do the job. Behind them, the white and yellow frame of a brand new, unused dredger called ‘Hamster’, left here at least four years ago by British Waterways and never used. Such machinery is extortionately expensive. Just who can afford to purchase it and then let it rust away, unused, to nothing?

Madness. And they wonder why the Canal & River Trust is struggling.

September 1st – I guess it really is coming on to autumn now. I spun out around five o’clock and noticed the sun was already low in the sky. That was really sobering. I slipped up to Chasewater for a quick nose around, and then over to Walsall Wood along the canal. On the way back down the canal, I noted the basin at Ogley Junction was still host to the buttes and stricken dredger that had sunk during operations at Anglesey Basin earlier in the year. Somebody must own this equipment, and it’s been stuck here for months now. I can’t be cheap to buy this stuff, so I’m wondering what the deal is. You can’t just forget about such plant, can you?
Having said that, if you look closely, behind the blue dredger is a white one, just visible. It’s been there, in dry dock, brand new and unused for pushing 3 years now. It’s called ‘Hamster’, and British Waterways – now a charitable trust called the Canal & River Trust – seem to have completely forgotten it exists, too. Mystifying, and it says much about the shambles that is waterway management in the UK.