BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘church’

#365daysofbiking Windswept and happy

Saturday March 27th 2021 – The long rides of summer are underway now, fittingly on the last day before British Summer Time starts.

The day was characterised by a very strong southwesterly,

There was some sun from time to time as I and a friend headed up the A515 to Hoar Cross, Newborough and over Marchington Cliff to Woodroffes, the lonely church on the hill overlooking the Dove valley and Uttoxeter.

From there, down to Uttoxeter itself, along the cycleway to Doveridge and over Roston Common to Ellastone and that gorgeous bridge on the frontier.

From Ellastone, the weather turned grey and rain periodically joined the harsh wind. But it didn’t matter: Up over the Weaver Hills at dusk, down Star Bank into Oakamoor and along Red Road on the Churnet Valley floor by night, listening to owls and enjoying the oddly now warming up air.

Home was via Bramshall, Loxley and Rugeley. A terrific ride of more than 80 miles that was totally enjoyable. Great to be back.

Interesting too was the Peli case we found chained to the guard rail by the Trent between Kings Bromley and Yoxall: An Environment Agency water quality monitor, it had sensors in the water, presumably monitoring particulate and runoff pollution from the demolition site of Rugeley Power Station. Great to see.

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#365daysofbiking Golden

Sunday March 21st 2021 – I felt better, and the day was bright, if not actually sunny. I got the daily jobs out of the way and headed out in the afternoon through Weeford and on the A5 to Atherstone. From there, I pushed up through Pinwall and through Ratcliffe Culey to Shenton; after that, over to Market Bosworth, Bilstone, Twycross and I managed to hit Orton on the Hill just in time to catch the sunset.

As night fell I returned via Austey, No Mans Heath, Clifton and Darlaston.

The sun came out eventually and rendered a magical golden hour.

A ride of well over 60 miles, it was thoroughly enjoyable and it was so glad to be seeing those little villages and quiet lanes again.

And of course, the beauty of a dusk skyline with a church spire elegantly punctuating it.

Great stuff.

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#365daysofbiking Opening out:

Tuesday March 16th 2021 – One aspect of my behaviour changed by the pandemic has been my avoidance of public transport, meaning longer commuting rides.

I’m back in Telford again regularly now, and generally only use the train between Wolverhampton and Telford, cycling to and from Wolverhampton, which takes far less time than I would have thought, and isn’t a bad ride, as it happens.

I finished work in Telford on a sunny, bright spring afternoon at 4pm, and decided to ride all the way home, to see how it was. It worked out OK: It wasn’t much longer in duration than using the train, and allowed me to avoid the busy roads around Wolverhampton, and also gave me chance to enjoy the lanes and villages of the landscape inbetween – including the wonderfully grandiose church at Tong.

I think I could get used to this as the days open out.

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#365daysofbiking Roadside repairs

Sunday March 7th 2021 – Sometimes when your bike ails you, the only thing you can do is pack a big bag of tools, and ride it with an ear attuned to the sounds it may make in complaint.

I set off for a ride over to Hopwas, Syerscote, Clifton and Lullington, returning via Whitemoor Haye. Fortunately I nailed the problem with the bike at Hopwas.

In the shadow of that farmhouse-like, remarkable church, I found my rubs and rattles were due to a slightly loose brake calliper, which was mobile when braking but not loose enough to be obvious.

Secured and adjusted, I rode out with renewed vigour. After all, newly fixed up bikes always go faster.

Sadly, the light wasn’t with me, and spring still hadn’t kissed Syerscote or that gorgeous view back to Clifton from the hill to Lullington, where the Mease Valley separates you from it.

But it will.

In these strange times I am impatient for the comfort and openness of better days, as are we all. But for now, we must just press on.

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#365daysofbiking That’s more like it

Tuesday December 29th 2020 – The snow again came in in waves. Contrary to my expectation, it had become cold and clear and the previous day’s snow had not melted away. new falls in the morning – quite intense, as it happened – topped it up. It still wasn’t much, but it kept the fun up on the bike and I enjoyed riding in it more than the day before.

I went to Stonnall, once more calling at the church, then around Hilton (avoiding the flood), up to wall and down into Lichfield, returning up Cross o’ th’ Hand Lane which was gorgeous, as were Farewell Church and Stonewall.

It looked like I missed driver of the year at Bulmoor Lane, and one tends to forget the hardiness of sheep. I particularly enjoyed the tree growing from the remains of another in Farewell churchyard and the lovely flowers on Shute Hill.

More, please. I love real winter rides like this.

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#365daysofbiking The sisterhood

Thursday, October 8th 2020 – It’s coming up to the best time of year to view the twin sisters – the churches on top of the hill at the centre of Wednesbury.

Another of my favourite subjects here, these gorgeous but differing spires – of St Mary’s Catholic Church and St Batholomews Church of England – nestling above the leafy, urban slopes are a maker for me, and an illustration that the Black Country is not quite as outsiders might imagine.

Of course, like many urban churches, time has been kinder to these sisters than one would imagine: They once shook to the thump of drop hammers and buzzed with the huge amount of industry they overlooked, but now their parishes are quieter and, dare I say it, nicer places to live.

To see this lovely view from Kings Hill Park in Darlaston is a joy, and as autumn matures the view will only get better, reminding me that however far I might stray, this is my place, the Black Country, and where my heart and soul lie.

Hope they can sort the clock soon…

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#365daysofbiking Across the middle-distance

May 20th – I have featured the view over the Watling Street valley between the canal at Chemical Hill, Brownhills and Hammerich many, many times on this journal over the years.

It’s a view dear to me, and the skyline above the rolling slopes of Meerash, punctuated by that elegant church spire and former windmill make for a remarkable view from a former industrial town on the very edge of the Black Country.

I think what makes it special is indeed the in-between: There’s a busy dual carriageway, of course, a well hidden toll motorway too, and a former railway.

But this land also bore the Staffordshire Hoard and I’m sure is still holding on to great secrets.

It’s a fantastic thing to behold.

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#365daysofbiking Eternally connected

March 13th – Friday came as a day that was decent to start, and then gifted rain in the afternoon. When I left work, the rain had cleared leaving a bright, sunlit evening on which to admire my beloved Twin Sisters, the two church spires of Church Hill in central Wednesbury.

I love to admire this view from Kings Hill Park. I love the hill, the space, the rooftops before the tree-lined ecclesiastical summit. I love to think of the hundred or more years these lovely buildings have watched over the industrial landscape and it’s changes below.

And I also wonder how many people like me have stood in this place and done exactly the same as me over the years. I love the way it’s all kind of eternally connected.

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#365daysofbiking – Blown around

February 9th – Sunday I suffered for the ride of the day before, but it wasn’t too bad. The wind was heavy and Storm Ciara was heading in – I’m sure storms were not as bad before we started building them up by giving them daft names.

I remembered that the day before, I’d forgotten to visit the lovely grounds of St. Annes church in Chasetown, over the road from the cemetery. They always have great spring flowers, and that was just what I needed right now.

The easter primroses were well worth it, but sadly most of my photos were poor.

At least the wind buffeted me home.

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#365daysofbiking An awkward subject

January 26th – Like the village itself, Walsall Wood Church of St John is a quiet, understated gem. Originally a tiny church, extended massively by the Victorians, then again pretty brutally by the diocese of Lichfield in the 1980s, its personality has maintained surprisingly well.

It’s a lovely subject at night, has a great clock and presents a great aspect to the road. But for a couple of things.

The bloody streetlight just out of shot on the right, and the pedestrian crossing light in the foreground.

Any decent angle on the building includes one, the other or both, destroying the shot. It’s one of those frustrations that just make the character of a place.

But that’s Walsall Wood for you. Never less than quirky.

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