BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘environment’

#365daysofbiking Going with the flow:

Sunday March 14th 2021 – An errand over to Burntwood meant crossing Chasewater dam for a second day running. I note that the water level in the Nine-Foot pool is still high and overflowing into the spillway.

With the lack of boat traffic on the canals due to lockdown, there has not been the demand for water in the canals, and Chasewater has filled and been in overflow for most of the last twelve months. Over winter particularly, through very wet weather, releasing water into the canal to flood the upper Tame overflows would be problematic, so the excess has been steadily feeding the alternative path via the spillway to the Crane Brook, to some local consternation.

An odd effect of the pandemic, it’s worth remembering that when water is released in large volumes it doesn’t just affect us locally, but all the way down the drainage system.

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#365daysofbiking Clear waters rising

August 12th – Further back up the canal, on the way home, it’s pleasing to note that the thick mat of algae we’ve had all summer on the local canals is finally naturally receding.

I guess conditions have been perfect for it, so it flourished, but it has been an unsightly rubbish trap for a while now.

Of course, all that green matter is goodness and as it breaks down will be good for the waterlife – and below, the water is crystal clear now.

I’ve never seen a season like if for surface growth.

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#365daysofbiking Clear sight

June 20th – Again heading over Catshill Junction on the way to the High Street, I checked out something I’d spotted the day before: Some kind and community-minded soul has taken it upon themselves to clear the far side of the canal near the narrows on the way to Anchor bridge. I suspect the same for have also cleared the scrub away from the sculpture ‘Cycle of Life’ on the canal junction too, as the job is far tidier than the the one usually done by the Canal and River Trust, who seem to just leave the debris where it lands.

Whoever did this, thank you. It’s nice to see the brickwork at the narrows (formerly a toll point) as it’s a fascinating style.

I’ve always found it sad that when the new flats were built here to replace Bayley House, the various parties couldn’t get it together to sort out the scrub which must seriously shade the dwellings and impede their view.

Again, thank you.

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#365daysofbiking Making a deposit

August 29th – I travelled home through Aldridge early in the afternoon after visiting the bank, and I had stuff to wait in for. On the way past the brickworks at Stubbers Green, just where the marlpit fence runs near the towpath, I noticed this curious instrument.

It’s a temporary placement, for gathering data about but deposition from the quarry and brickworks. It’s called – I kid you not – A frisbee deposition gauge, and it collects dust from the air and rain, which it collects in the vessel at the bottom of the tripod. There’s thin crosswires to stop birds landing on it, and a course foam pad to stop large debris like litter and leaves clogging it up.

Several of these instruments appear to be positioned around the site, presumably to test compliance with relevant pollution law.

It’s a fascinating area of environmental science and engineering and interesting to see it in use locally.

March 25th – Lee Marston settling lakes continue to fascinate me. Created from old gravel pits in the early 80s, they are now more or less redundant as heavy industry is no longer polluting the Tame in Birmingham, and Minworth sewage works is a lot cleaner than it was; the dredging of the settled out toxic silt has now stopped and the site is becoming a haven for wildlife. 

It really is quite beautiful.

It’s still a live river, though, and where the weir carries the water downhill a notch, the plastic bottles and detritus still circle in the vortex here, a sign of our huge problem with plastic waste.

February 18th – One of the stranger legacies of the M6 Toll motorway coming through the area has been the drainage and pollution control lagoons that dot the countryside at intervals along it’s route. 

I think the idea is that surface drainage from the road is taken into these pools which can be isolated during instances of pollution, like diesel spills. The lagoons themselves seem to overtop into local drainage, so they also provide a sediment settling function.

The one on Bullmoor Lane has matured well, and is, in summer, alive with wildlife. Secluded and rarely visited, it’s a little enclave of peace and tranquility. Only the sign by the roadside gives you any hint of what’s there.

October 24th – Something out of the ordinary picked up by the ride cam as I hopped on the canal at Moxley on my way to Great Bridge on an errand at midday. 

Riding the canals, you get used to seeing rats occasionally, but this small one was absolutely frantic to get somewhere safe, and repeatedly tried to jump over the wall, but each time failed.

I understand people not liking them, but they really are fascinating creatures.

May 17th – I see the canals are looking pretty messy again – not to worry though, as this pollution is entirely natural and harmless.

Lots of reed detritus and airborne blossom debris is combining, as it does at various times of the year, to form a heavy scum in wind traps on the surface of the water.

It’s harmless and will decay within a week or so, it’s perfectly natural.

April 22nd – A rare break in the clouds saw the sun shine as I came up from the canal at Bentley Bridge on my way back from an errand at lunchtime. To left and right here, out of shot are massive scrapyards, yet running like a green vein through the centre, the canal; peaceful, tranquil, verdant.

I love the Black Country and this scene typifies the way it’s canals exist as magical green natural corridors through great sprawls of urban life.


May 18th – At Clayhanger on the canal, in a much more temperate commute than my journey to work, I stopped to watch the overflow, which was overtopping well. The canal seems to have been low for a week or two, and is now back to full. I always love to see how clear the water is, such a change from the polluted soup it was when I was a kid.

So full of life and such a valuable green highway these days.