BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘closed’

#365daysofbiking This is not my homecoming

Friday November 20th 2020 – I’d been in Birmingham and returned early evening on Friday. It wasn’t late, maybe 7-7:30pm. Shire Oak Crossroads, a homecoming beacon for me for decades with it’s brightly lit pub, frenetic traffic and air of hilltop crossing has always been special to me.

For one thing, it means the journey from here is almost completely downhill and I can coast. But it also means I’m very nearly back home and I love to see the lights and busy but patient traffic at night.

Except at the moment, during the second lockdown, there is surprisingly little traffic and the pub whose welcoming lights I cherish sits in darkness, forbidden from opening.

This is not the homecoming I love. This feels desolate, empty and almost nightmarish.

I’ve talked a lot about steadying influences and anchors the last few weeks here. This is one I rely on usually that has sort of gone – well not gone, but been temporarily lost. And it affects me more than I would imagine.

It’s now like a symbol of the times.

Ah well, these days will pass. They have to.

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#365daysofbiking – Alone again, or

April 24th – It was a pleasant evening so I hopped off the canal near Aldridge and did a loop over Lazy Hill and back into Brownhills over Shire Oak.

People keep saying things are getting busier. Sorry, I can’t see it.

This is 6:30pm on a Friday on one of the main arterial routes in the area. I had to wait ages for a car to come the other way and change the lights for me. I barely saw a soul in a seven mile ride. I saw more wild animals than people.

I have never seen days like these.

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#365daysofbiking When the lights go out

April 5th – An exercise spin out at dusk unusually took my mood down. I wasn’t feeling great and this one scene made my mood nosedive.

I love the view of Anchor Bridge at night from the canal. It’s magical and beautiful and the light is normally gorgeous. Tonight, though, something was missing.

The incidental light from the adjacent Anchor Pub was absent: The pub lights normally add a warm glow to Anchor Bridge night photos.But the pub is dark, silent and closed in accordance with lockdown rules.

I hopped up the ramp to the pub. This normally welcoming place was in darkness, and looked forlorn.

My heart sank.

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#365daysofbiking Lost lanes

August 4th – A lane I’d not really ever registered the existence of disappeared a while ago, without me being aware. This is unusual, as I’m normally fascinated by these things.

School Lane, Little Wyrley was a quiet, winding, lightly used lane with no dwellings between the A5 Watling Street and Gorsey Lane. This whole area of scrubby, grubby not-quite countryside between Brownhills and Great Wyrley is plagued with fly tipping and other antisocial behaviour, but School Lane was particularly badly affected.

Having endured enough, in 2016 [Edit – It’s been closed much longer than this, from at least 2009 – Bob], Cannock Chase Council decided the best way to stop the problem was to gate the lane. Permanently.

This completely passed me by at the time, and I only noticed when it was mentioned in passing a few months ago on social media, so I made a mental note to ride it while I still could. As you can see, nature is now taking over and it’s an odd, but peaceful and wonderfully pollution-free byway disappearing slowly back into the landscape.

Like Dark Lane near Longdon, lost lanes intrigue me no end.

I’m glad I checked this out.

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#365daysofbiking Sleeping silence

February 21st – I’d been in Lichfield meeting friends, and came back late in the mild evening. Cresting Shire Oak ready to roll down the long hill into Brownhills, the quiet interested me.

Shire Oak junction was dark, the pub shut and almost eerily somnambulant. There was little traffic and nobody around.

Always strange to see such a usually busy junction deserted.

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June 2nd – Coming back from Longdon, this was a good chance to see what Dark Lane was like this days. Dark Lane runs from Borough Lane to Thorley’s Hill near Goosemoor Green, and was a lane that always suffered from storm silting, being a remarkably deep holloway.

The bottom end of Dark Lane serves a farm, but further up the hill, it’s closed, and for several hundred metres it’s now been reclaimed by nature and coated in thick mud and vegetation.

It was a lovely place to explore, and brought back memories of when it was open. But if you go and look, be prepared for the mud. It’s deep.

May 19th – At Pipe Ridware, the former St James church, closed in 1983 became the charming and well-loved Ridware Theatre for a further 20 years before finally shutting around 2015. This tiny performance space barely held 60 but put on some great shows.

Sad to see it closed and decaying. I hope a new use can be found for it.

March 10th – Another drizzly, grey day but thankfully the rain was more intermittent. I had much to do, and slipped out mid afternoon. Hearing the covers had come off the Ogley Junction footbridge, I spun up to take a look. It’s looking fine indeed.

The work on the deck has been far more extensive than I expected, and the paint job is lovely. I just hope they attend to the poor state of the abutment brickwork, but other than that, top job.

Beware though as the footpath hasn’t been made up yet and voids and tops exist both sides that could catch the unwary.

December 2nd – The Drunken Duck in Walsall Wood High Street is a sad case of a pub that’s been reborn so many times even the Dalai Lama would blush. A succession of landlords have had a go, and left; each time a new dawn predicted.

The pub shut again a week ago leaving drinkers to go elsewhere, and remains shut pending new management.

I noted with wry amusement the fact that the last band scheduled to appear her was ‘Broken Promise’ – how dreadfully appropriate.

July 2nd – Out on a long ride I was sad to note that the Meynell Ingram Arms in Hoar Cross – refurbished at huge cost after a previous closure – is still empty and gently decaying.

I thought it had closed relatively recently, but it closed without explanation in 2014, and has been vacant ever since. The last refurbishment was extensive, and must have cost a lot: outdoor ‘dining pods’ and other gimmicks apparently failed to pull the punters when perhaps more concentration on service and quality would have been more beneficial. A look at Tripadvisor is informative.

The establishment has had a chequered history and it’s current ownership and any plans for it are unknown.

This is a lovely country pub in a beautiful valley that would make an ideal real ale house with decent, basic food, and it’s so sad it can’t find an owner who loves it.

A real shame.