BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Clayhanger’

#365daysofbiking Corny

June 10th – The rain was almost totally constant as I came home from work and hit the muddy canal to avoid the traffic.

With little inspiration in the grey, horrible day, my eye was caught by a single splash of blue and purple in the scrub by the towpath by Clayhnager bridge – a gorgeous, bedraggled and solitary cornflower.

I keep saying this but it’s true – there is brightness to be found in even the most awful days.

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#365daysofbiking Later and maybe greater

June 7th – A mystery that always makes me wonder: Why are blue-purple lupins always out weeks earlier than the light colours like the pink ones here at Clayhanger Bridge?

I think I prefer the pink ones if I’m honest although they’re all beautiful.

This curiosity does at least extend the visible presence of a beautiful flower…

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#365daysofbiking Kidney at stake:

June 7th – Kidney vetch is an odd little wildflower, which consists of tiny yellow flowers cluster around a fluffy, downy head. I always imagine it’s a plant of late summer for some reason, and it’s appearance in midsummer always surprises me.

It grows profusely on the grass around the top of the new pond embankment at Clayhanger, one of the few places I know it exist, yet every year, like the orchids, it’s cut down by Canal and River Trust’s mowing team who insist on obliterating anything in their path.

I preferred canals when they were more unkempt, if I’m honest.

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#365daysofbiking Just like mum

May 29th – Encountered just by Clayhanger Bridge, the Watermead swan family are growing fast, and the youngsters are growing in confidence and pottered over to see if I had treats, under the stern, watchful eye of dad.

Mum was grazing the bottom of the canal, pulling up choice strings of algae and offering them to her chicks – who obliged by attempting to copy her. This is obviously ja learning exercise only, as the tiny birds can’t yet reach the bottom.

Lovely to see the family growing and developing so well.

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#365daysofbiking Secret pathways


May 28th – I note the pathway on Clayhanger Common between the overflow by the bridge and the grassed area behind is nearly overgrown again.

Every season this delightful, overgrown desire path through the scrub very nearly disappears, but is kept in existence by whoever uses it regularly (and that appears to be sometimes, at least, deer.)

Right now it’s at the stage when any use involves breaking off bits of overgrowth. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

I love the almost secret garden feel of it.

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#365daysofbiking Until next year, my springtime companions


May 20th – On the subject of things yellow, a seasonal sadness.

I guess it’s coming on summer now, and the first flush of flowering is well and truly over: the daffodils and tulips are long behind us, and late spring flowers like bluebells are dying off – as is my personal favourite, the cowslip.

Cowslips for me epitomise spring and the optimism of a new growing year; bright yellow, delicate and prolific now, they were once rare and I cherish seeing them as I ride around the area.

The ones I set on by guerrilla seeding at Clayhanger are going to seed now and I’ll have to wait 11 months to see these jolly characters again. But it’s be oh so worth the wait.

In the meantime I’ll carefully watch the seed heads develop and dry until the precious seed within is ready to collect, and I’ll gather a fair amount and sprinkle it in places where I think we need more springtime joy.

Until next year, my springtime companions. Until next year.

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#365daysofbiking Lupin the loop

May 14th – On Monday I said there were new wildflowers every day now. As if to confirm it on the way home, by the new pond in Clayhanger, the first of the season’s lupins, which have been growing wild here since I was a kid.

Ironically I searched in vain for one of these yesterday in the same area, so the growth must be coming on fast now.

I love these beautiful, deeply coloured purple blooms; there are also a pink variety here that flower later.

Soon be time for the orchids, too…

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#365daysofbiking Mountain excitement

May 10th – One of the most unnoticed blossoms of all that decorate the hedgerows and waysides this time of year is rowan, or mountain ash. This pretty, nicely scented flowers are mostly little appreciated because they appear at the same time as hawthorn flowers, so it all blends into one.

Rowan has beautiful orange berries that are good for jams and wine, and are a lovely splash of late-summer colour.

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