BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Chasewater’

#365daysofbiking It’s all going on

Friday March 19th 2021 – Crossing Chasewater on a dull Friday with raindrops on the wind threatening a soaking that thankfully, never materialised, I stopped on the motorway bridge and looked down to the lake.

It was good to note the emergence of the leaves on the trees in the copses and hedgerows flanking Pool Lane. It didn’t feel like spring, but it was certainly coming.

Busily, quietly, the time of renewal is getting underway – it’s all going on.

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#365daysofbiking Going with the flow:

Sunday March 14th 2021 – An errand over to Burntwood meant crossing Chasewater dam for a second day running. I note that the water level in the Nine-Foot pool is still high and overflowing into the spillway.

With the lack of boat traffic on the canals due to lockdown, there has not been the demand for water in the canals, and Chasewater has filled and been in overflow for most of the last twelve months. Over winter particularly, through very wet weather, releasing water into the canal to flood the upper Tame overflows would be problematic, so the excess has been steadily feeding the alternative path via the spillway to the Crane Brook, to some local consternation.

An odd effect of the pandemic, it’s worth remembering that when water is released in large volumes it doesn’t just affect us locally, but all the way down the drainage system.

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#365daysofbiking Choppy waters

Saturday March 13th 2021 – The high winds continue, with the kind of blustery, cool weather one more expects in April than March, but without the warmth.

An evening run to Chasewater rewarded another decent sunset but the chill was biting. The noise of the water lapping against the dam was lovely, though and I stood mesmerised by it for a long while.

Through all the mess of the pandemic, Chasewater at this time of day has been a real anchor for me. However choppy the waters.

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#365daysofbiking Unfixed

Saturday March 6th 2021 – The bike was giving me problems I was finding it hard to fix, so I snatched a quick test ride to Chasewater as the sunset looked decent – I really wasn’t disappointed.

It was one of those brooding, dark evenings when you don’t expect much of the dusk but it surprises you – and so it did.

It was still cold though, as the smoke from the narrowboat moored in Anglesey Wharf attested. I know it’s only really just March, and not even too late for snow, but some warmth wouldn’t go amiss.

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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 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 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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#365daysofbiking Looking for peace


Saturday January 9th 2021 – I’d been busy getting financial and administration things in order and dealing with a tricky bike problem all day and slid out late on a fast, quiet circuit of town and ended up at Chasewater.

There was no moon visible and the photography was poor, if I’m honest.

But I did find the peace, fresh air and solace I needed in the quiet solitude of one of my favourite places.

Even in the dark, Chasewater captivates me.

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#365daysofbiking Seeing it out and moving on

New Year’s Eve, Thursday December 31st 2020 – I really hate New Year’s Eve. I’m so glad it’s curtailed this year – the forced jollity and camaraderie, coupled with the ‘we will have fun!’ attitude really kills it for me.

But there is one tradition I always uphold at the year end: A reflective ride to somewhere quiet, to think about the year and in my own way, see it out.

And like most folk, I’m bloody happy to see this one out of the door in person. With bare hands, if necessary, and a large blunt weapon. It’s safe to say it’s been a terrible year.

The pandemic has been awful for us all, and the future, at least until we get the population vaccinated, looks very uncertain. Yet all most of us want, me included, is things back to normal. To be able to stop at a country cafe or pub again. To meet friends. To be with family.

In the dead, icy calm of Chasewater, we rode up the frozen snow to the top of the pit mound as night fell, and waited in the still for night to properly come in. There wasn’t a soul around apart from me and my pal: From here, we could hear the terminal seconds of this terrible year ticking away. It felt good; cleansing.

Back down at the dam, on the way back it was very cold, but the lake so beautifully peaceful: Until a raptor disturbed the gull roost which must have been several tens of thousands strong. The cacophonous taking to flight of the flock was stunning, as was the similarly swift return to peace.

My word this year has been tough – but not as tough as it has been for many, I’ve been lucky. But it has affected me and I feel it deeply. And I’m sorry, readers, that I abandoned this journal for a few months in summer. I just couldn’t cope with it at that time. I’m sorry I let you down. I promise I will not waver again.

So here’s to a new year, with maybe better prospects. Hopefully we’ll meet again this time next year – with a full year’s photos between – and recall this year as a past, distant and very bad memory.

Here’s to that thought. Happy new year to you all: Let us not dwell on the past. We must move on.

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