BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Cannock Chase’

#365daysofbiking A maintained tradition

Christmas Day, Friday December 25th 2020 – There’s normally a short ride on Christmas Day – maybe over to Shenstone, or Hints; more often than not it’s up to Castle Ring and that’s where I headed on a frosty, sharp Christmas lunchtime.

There were one or two people about. The roads were quiet. The message not to hold gatherings seemed largely to be heeded.

I love Castle Ring – it’s an ancient hill fort, and a Pagan place. Sadly, the views it has commanded for the last 20 years are now slipping away as the woodland planted below it gets taller. I suspect it will soon be coppiced again and visibility restored.

I know the derelict cooling towers at Rugeley are due to come down in January: Those coming up here to watch the spectacle may be disappointed – the station is barely visible from Castle Ring right now.

There was one tradition I could not maintain – that of having a swift Christmas lunchtime pint in a pub on the way back – all the pubs are shut.

Never mind, it’ll wait a year more. Merry Christmas, everyone!

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#365daysofbiking A quiet Chase

Friday, October 23rd 2020 – I had to nip over Penkridge Bank on Cannock Chase for business so I cut across Maquis’s Drive to catch the autumn colour – and wasn’t disappointed.

It’s always a lovely route, and being a Friday, wasn’t very busy. The Chase itself was quiet.

I was on the lookout for interesting fungi but sadly the only example I came upon of note was wooden…

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#365daysofbiking Over the rainbow

December 30th – Finally, a ride over the Chase. it started late, and felt very, very cold (although it wasn’t, particularly, just out of practice) but it was gorgeous.

Up over Rainbow Hill to Moor’s Gorse, up through Slitting Mill and Birches Valley to Penkridge Bank – from there the Ranges, Wolseley Plain and Abraham’s Valley to Seven Springs. All in the most gorgeous sunset.

The trails are mostly badly water damaged with large water channels washed into them; but it wasn’t as muddy as I expected and going surprisingly good. A lot of fallen branches, though.

Nice to see the deer at Penkridge Bank, if only form a distance.

Not been able to do much riding over the Chase this winter. I’ve missed it. Let’s hope for better weather for the rest of it.

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#365daysofbiking New forms

October 20th – Cannock Chase was full of really a interesting – it was the first time I’ve seen coral fungus since I was a kid, and there were a whole range of brackets, toadstools, slimes and balls to keep me interested.

Sadly the light was terrible, so few decent photos.

I’ve never known such a good season for fungus. I’m seeing things I’ve never seen before…

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#365daysofbiking Rainy Chase and Sundays…


October 20th – I set off mid afternoon for Castle Ring. It was spotting with rain, that wasn’t;t really forecast. By the time I got there feeling a bit sad, the rain had set in for the afternoon.

Something happened, though, and I found my happiness in the drizzle, getting wet and finding fungi at Stonepit Green and explored a boggy, muddy forest until darkness fell, visiting places around Beaudesert I haven’t been for years.

You can find peace and contentment on even the most horrid days if you stop looking for it and just get on with finding out what’s over the next hill.

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#365daysofbiking The night comes in

September 8th – Time at last for a ride out on a very pleasant, but distinctly autumnal Sunday afternoon. I headed for the Chase and Brocton Field, descending into Sherbrook Valley, then over to Milford for the restorative power of a Wimpy burger and chips.

On a whim, instead of heading back to Rugeley, I chose to return across the Chase up Abraham’s Valley and over the old ranges, and back through Hednesford in the gathering night.

The forest was as splendid as it always is is, and far less lonely than one would expect, with the sounds of deer, owls and other creatures scuttling around, it’s really quite busy.

A lovely ride reminding me that the nights really are closing in fast now.

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#365daysofbiking Taking a fence

August 18th – A ride up over the Chase to Milford for a much-needed burger meant a return via the A513 through Satnall Hills between Shugborough and Severn Springs. This fast stretch of road is sadly notable for its high number of deer-vehicle collisions.

I notice an electronic deer deterrent is being tried here. I’ll be honest: I’m sceptical of these things. When I rode past at dusk, the units were just beginning to activate as they only operate from dusk until dawn.

It seems that when they detect vehicles, they emit a weird bird-chirp style noise and flash blue lights. They charge via a small solar cell, and are spaced every 15 metres or so.

The manufacturers IPTE say on their website:

‘The flashing lights of the warning sequence are intended to capture the attention of the animals while the acoustic sound makes the animals feel uncomfortable and stop and leave the roadside area.’

Ignoring the painful tautology of ‘Acoustic sound’ it’s an interesting idea that was tried on the Chasetown bypass but the units were vandalised. I did see a stag in the scrub at the roadside here, but on my appearance he ran back up the hillside.

I guess unless we give it a try we’ll never know if it works. It’ll be interesting to see the results.

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#365daysofbiking The neighbourhood watch

July 14th – So pleased to see the cats out and about at last, as I noted last week. This ride was all about the cats.

As usual there are a whole variety in the feline watchers of life: From the lithe white puss resting in Kingsley Wood Road to the stately black and white overseer of the canal towpath. But the real star was Wilf, the ginger narrowboat cat who was helping his dad fishing.

I love to see cats out and about, it’s a real sign of summer and one I’ve really missed so far this year.

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#365daysofbiking The thrill of The Chase

July 14th – Working in the morning, I slipped out late afternoon for a fast ride over Cannock Chase and back through Rugeley via the canal and Longdon.

The sun, canal and golden hour were just the tonic after a hectic day, but my energy was low.

I don’t often visit the Chase in summer, as it’s usually crowded and bikes and dogs don’t really mix, but this evening – probably due to sporting excitement on TV – it was very quiet and away from the centres at Marquis Drive and Birches Valley I saw hardly anyone.

I note Rugeley Power Station is looking forlorn now: The desulphurisation plant has been removed and demolition continues with most of the ancillary plant no gone. It won’t be long now before the huge icon and photographic muse will be nothing but a memory.

It was a long, slower haul home but a lovely ride.

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#365daysofbiking Bimbling

April 22nd – Another tough ride but very enjoyable for Bank Holiday Monday – out for a potter to the floating market at Great Haywood at the back of Shugborough.

It was lovely: I must confess though, I was expecting a bigger, more varied event; although it was lovely it was pretty much the same as Fazeley had been a few years ago. It would me nice to see some different traders.

I took a tough route up through Goosemoor Green and Dollymaker Hill, then over George’s Hayes and Red Hill. On my return I came through Shugborough – which currently have a wonderful herd of longhorns – and back over Cannock Chase.

A great 40 mile bimble but I was still suffering.

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