BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘derelict’

#365daysofbiking Primrose and proper

April 14th – Spotted on a morning errand, these primroses and scattered down the bank of the McClean Way, the cycle and walking route on the former South Staffordshire railway line through the heart of Brownhills, just below the Miner Island.

I remember as a child watching trains thunder through here full of coal, oil or cars. Now, the lines are lifted and after 30 years of decay, the wonderful Back the Track group led by human dynamo Brian Stringer have done an excellent job of reclaiming the permanent way for public use – and their hard work continues.

These primroses don’t seem much, but they’re a huge achievement. Take a bow, folks.

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#365daysofbiking Rising again


February 23rd – It’s not often there’s good news to share on pubs here, I normally note their closing but seldom their re-opening.

I had noted the sad state of the Meynell-Ingram Arms at Hoar Cross more than once, after its sudden closure in 2014. I genuinely thought it would never open again.

This charming old country pub was in it’s day a decent place and could, I think, be a great destination for a decent rural pint and a meal. It’s great that it’s being refurbished and revitalised.

You can find out more here on the website.

I wish the new owners the very best in their new venture.

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#365daysofbiking The rising

 

February 10th – A real four seasons in one day experience, with rain, snow, hail and bright warm sunshine that made for a great afternoon at Chasewater. From the snowdrop glade near the derelict dam house to the view over the fields from the canal to Hammerwich, they day was just bursting with spring.

The water level is rising fast now too, with Fly Creek and the feed from Jeffrey’s swag now enlarged by recent rains.

This spring thing. It’s happening. And most welcome it is too.

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#365daysofbiking An end to Police brutalism in Walsall

January 24th – There is a madness afoot in the country, and possibly the broader western world in the last 10 years or so, and I can see no solution in sight.

Governments come to power on the promise of austerity and cutting spending, yet close used and needed public facilities that took decades to be obtained – in a flash. And so we lost the police station in Walsall on Green Lane, built in the Brutalist period of the 60s, which was closed in response to spending cuts in 2016. Police now have to take suspects to Oldbury when arrested, which is impacting officer availability and causing great inefficiency.

The building itself – an unremarkable modernist structure – was sold to developers and is currently being demolished.

We will need a police station again. The situation as it is is not working.

And it will cost us far more than closing this one saved to sort the mess out.

And when some politician grasps the nettle and does it, they will be derided for financial profligacy.

But the real crime is cutting things communities need, in the interests of short term political gain.

It takes years to build communities, and days to destroy them with cuts. The recklessness seems in the axe-hand to me.

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July 12th – One indicator of an advancing summer I always have mixed feelings about is buddleia. This purple-flowering, profuse shrub, sometimes known as the butterfly bush is great for bugs and bees and lepidoptera of all kinds – but the one issue I have is it’s the shrub of urban decay.

This versatile plant will grow anywhere it can find – gutters, chimneys, soot-filled fissures in brickwork, and once it takes hold it will destroy masonry as it grows. It’s the sign of dereliction in summer, growing old disused rail lines, factory yards and edgelands of all types.

A fascinating, but destructive plant.

June 21st – I passed through Snow Hill Station mid afternoon, and noticed a little bit of lost local history that I’d totally forgotten about – the old Snow Hill tram stop.

When the Midland Metro opened in the late 90s, it originally terminated here at one platform of Snow Hill Station. The stop was dark, dingy and low level, with a notoriously unreliable inexplicably single escalator and a dingy, horrible spiral staircase. It was not a great bit of urban design.

When the Metro line was extended around the City Centre to Stephenson Place, the line was diverted to the side of Snow Hill station and up around Colmore Circus, leaving the Snow Hill stop cut off and replaced by a better, street level station. The lines at the old stop are no longer connected to the main line, and the stop, abandoned, unserviced and closed is gladly being reclaimed by nature and slowly fading.

It’s amazing how quickly such things decay when unused.

May 20th – Another late afternoon ride on a bad stomach – but this time, an absolute blast. Out mid afternoon through Wall, Whittington, Harlaston, Clifton, Overseal, Woodville, Hartshorne, Foremark Reservior, then back via Bretby, Swadlincote, Burton and Catton. 

The derelict cooling towers still loom over the remarkable Willington landscape, including the fascinating undulations in the farmland around; those towers were supposed to be demolished a year ago, but remain, a monument to a lost temple of power, as the station they were part of was demolished two decades ago.

Drakelow at sunset was similarly desolate, with very little evidence except a forest of pylons to ever say it existed. It’s now site of a very large solar farm.

Another wonderful ride that actually made me feel better.

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.

May 13th – Found on the outskirts of Wigginton, a lone cottage, derelict, in the bounds of another, occupied property.

It looks like the remnant of a larger terrace, and also like someone might be planning to, or made a start on renovating it.

It’s some way from the lane, and has a really strong air about it that it might be horrified.

One for the found faces pile, that one. 

I do hope this place is one day a home again.

March 7th – Returning via Shenstone, in the new-found evening commute dusk, I noticed that the tiny, log abandoned bungalow at Owletts Farm on Lynn Lane is now visible, before another summer’s leaf growth conceals it once more.

I don’t know why this tiny house, like several in the area is being allowed to decay, as I’m sure that before the rot set in it would have been a nice home for someone.

It has been empty as long as I’ve been cycling these lanes – nearly 40 years now.

A sad little tragedy.