BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Chesterfield’

#365daysofbiking Slurry up

Sunday 8th February 2022 – I hadn’t been feeling very well, and the weather was awful but I needed fresh air. So I did what I always do: Went for a ride.

It’s been blowing a hoolie all weekend, and Saturday was grim. I’d felt dizzy and nauseous and gone to bed early, and awoken on the Sunday with a piercing headache. Having tested negative for CV, it had to be some kind of cold. The only thing to do was down the paracetamol, don the waterproofs and go for a ride in the rain.

Driving rain and a headwind are never fun. Add to this the mud dragged off the fields onto the lanes by farm machinery and it was chewy, thick going. But it did the trick and at least cleared my head.

At Bullmoor Lane near Muckley Corner, it was particularly bad. I’m not sure if they should resurface this one or just plough it.

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#365daysofbiking Lane’s end

Monday March 8th 2021 – I was discussing online the other day a local lost stub of a lane that used to be Bullmoor Lane. Bullmoor Lane ran from Raikes and Chesterfield, a mile or so north of Shenstone, shadowing the Watling Street, to a junction near Wall Butts at Hilton, where it met Cranebrook Lane and Boat Lane. As a kid it was one of my first local discoveries. I loved that quiet, undulating backway, and still do.

When the M6 Toll came through at the turn of the millennium, the last half a mile of Bullmoor Lane was diverted south, to meet Cranebrook Lane without building a second flyover, leaving the old stub abandoned.

It still exists, and is now gated, but when nostalgic one can push past the gate and ride the crumbling asphalt to the edge of the new motorway, echoing in my childhood tracks.

I always find these dead, divorced and orphaned lanes a bit sad: Dark Lane at Longdon is one, just closed as out of use, like School Lane at Norton. But other lanes were lost to the toll, especially around Hammerwich and and Shenstone Park.

It’s the feeling that they hold memories, which cannot be put back, I think.

A curious bit of melancholia on the exercise ride.

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#365daysofbiking A break in the weather

May 23rd – Over to Lichfield for some essential shopping and the closed state of the city was expected, but dragged me down. There was only one thing to rectify the gloom: A return via the country lanes of Wall, Chesterfield and Hilton.

On Bullmoor Lane I was caught in the briefest of short, sharp and intense showers, and it passed as quickly as it arrived, leaving nothing but sightly damp lanes and a beautiful partial rainbow.

Summer is fantastic.

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#365daysofbiking Sky watching

May 16th – A day with little wind, beautiful skies and clear air, bathed in beautiful sunshine. There was nothing for it but to saddle up and head for my favourite haunts in East Staffordshire.

Heading out of Brownhills up over Shire Oak, a favourite view was captured, then through the lanes of Chesterfield and Shenstone, Weeford and Hopwas. From there, Wigginton, Rickerscote and Syerscote for one of my favourite lanes of all.

There’s something gorgeous about a summer day lane with open fields and no hedgerows.

I went then to Honey Hill and No Mans Heath, Netherseal, Lullington, Coton in the Elms and back through Catton, Whitemoor Haye, Huddlesford and Lichfield.

Not a massive ride by any stretch, but the skies and villages were perfect, and I’ll treasure my hours on these lockdown traffic-free roads for the rest of my life. I hardly saw a soul.

Times have been very hard indeed. But the sun and constancy of my beloved countryside is healing me with every ride now.

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#365daysofbiking Taking a toll

December 22nd – I’ve not been riding back from Shenstone or Lichfield much this winter, and the backlands are not the familiar haunts they were, so it was a shock to me on Bullmoor Lane and Cranebrook Lane that they were flooded, breaking up or deep in mud in quite a few places.

Going was tough and wet.

When this weather breaks there’s going to need to be a lot of cleaning and investment to fix the roads.

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#365daysofbiking The villages of the evening

December 7th – Christmas is starting to ramp up now and I find myself increasingly on errands and trips to sort things out for the upcoming holiday, and so it was this evening when I had to visit Shenstone, to collect some stuff I’d ordered and check out a present in the huge, soulless garden centre there.

Shenstone and the lanes between there and home were gorgeous in the night, same as they ever were: From the welcoming dignity of the pubs to the beauty of the old workhouse. And then, the gothic horror of the church, which I’m still not used to seeing without it’s massive, stately yew.

It was nice to be in these lanes on a relatively dry night for a change. They made a pleasant contrast to the consumer hell of a garden centre that seemed to specialise in everything except … gardening.

Am I turning into The Grinch? I think I might be.

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#365daysofbiking Sunshine yellow

April 19th – Spring is mostly about yellow for me. Cowslips, daffodils, oilseed rape and dandelions, the latter two painting the fields different shades of gorgeous on a diving evening.

Near Chesterfield, Wall an untouched meadow of dandelions looked superb, and will make most wonderful hay or grazing.

At Sandhills, the oilseed caught the dying sun wonderfully and lovely as ever, smelled of Swiss cheese.

Glad to have better days here at last.

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July 15th – It was a gorgeous, mellow golden hour that caught the dry grass, hedgerows and crops safely afire. I was interested to see the sun rays from behind the clouds as I laboured back up over Barracks Lane. They put one in mind of a child’s drawing of the sun. I’ve never seen that before.

We’re having some remarkable weather lately.

March 11th – If you’re riding Bullmoor Lane between Hilton and Chesterfield, in the back lanes near Shenstone, beware of mud and … other stuff.

The farmland here has been up for sale for a long time, but now seems to have an owner and they seem to be improving the soil. Slurrey tankers appear to discharge into a large red mobile tank from which a crop sprayer is replenishing it’s supply before returning to it’s smelly, but important task.

Nice to see, but man alive it makes a mess on the nearly roads