February 16th – A truly dreadful day which saw a huge amount of rain and high winds. Overnight, lots of local roads flooded and there was much damage.
I ventured out after dark, and noted that the lower meadow at Clayhanger Common was doing it’s usual job. It had flooded, storing the water from the canal and local drains that would previously have swamped the village.
Instead, the landscape forms a lake that slowly and safely drains, keeping Clayhanger dry.
The noise and spectacle of this rushing water is a sight to see, but a remarkable bit of landscape engineering.
December 22nd – I’ve not been riding back from Shenstone or Lichfield much this winter, and the backlands are not the familiar haunts they were, so it was a shock to me on Bullmoor Lane and Cranebrook Lane that they were flooded, breaking up or deep in mud in quite a few places.
Going was tough and wet.
When this weather breaks there’s going to need to be a lot of cleaning and investment to fix the roads.
October 26th – As predicted, the Saturday was very wet indeed, with the rain not abating until early evening. I had business in town that couldn’t wait, and on the way I passed the overflow opposite Silver Street adjacent to the lower meadow on Clayhanger Common.
The canal overflow was barely coping with the torrent, and it was starting to overflow toward the meadow.
Holding this flood is what the meadow was created for, four decades ago: And it will work, admirably holding the excess and realising it slowly, preventing the village flooding.
It will, however, make the Southern Clayhanger Common footpaths impassable for a few days – a small price to pay I think.
August 9th – Back in Telford following morning rain, the new footbridge linking the railway station with the town centre seems to be confused about it’s role: is it a swimming pool or a ‘State of the art facility any town should be proud of’ as one fan of this bizarrely dysfunctional bit of civil engineering recently chided me on Twitter.
In recent weeks, someone has drilled holes in the bridge deck to drain the water. They just clog up and it still floods.
And besides, that water just swamps the platform below.
This bridge is an awful design and has no rainwater control measures whatsoever. And it cost 10 million quid.
June 15th – On my return, I crisscrossed the Trent and Tame at sunset. The rivers were very swollen and had risen onto the floodplains at Walton and Croxall.
I was amused but not surprised to see the outdoor education centre at Whitemoor Lakes had it’s climbing and activity equipment in several feet of water – although the centre itself was safe up on the bund. I guess they’ll be doing more watersports than planned this week.
I never cease to be fascinated and impressed with the rivers in spate. Such quite, constant power, a forceful but elegant reminder that the weather and elements still rule us.
May 21st – On a late journey to work following a meeting near home earlier, I tried to get on the canal at Smith’s Flour Mill, on the New Walsall Ring Road – but I was thwarted by…. A flood.
I’ve noticed this happen here before: Someone leaves both paddles open on the lock above and I don’t think the overflow sluice next down the line – the lowest in the Birchills flight – can handle it. As a consequence, the pound between floods under the bridge.
The cause appeared to be inexperienced boaters who were in the lock above, looking a bit helpless.
I contacted the Canal and River Trust local team who came and sorted things out.
At least it should clean some of the detritus of the path under the bridge…
May 27th – A terrible day with some of the worst rainstorms I’ve ever seen. The day was muggy and uncomfortable until late afternoon, when the thunder started; rumbling, continual, low and then a rainstorm of such ferocity local homes were flooded, roads were blocked into the night by flash floods and an elderly gentleman lost his life in Walsall when his car entered deep floodwater.
The skies cleared in the early evening and I set out to explore, and found that the lower meadow at Clayhanger Common, designed as a flood containment bund to save the village was filling from the swamped Canal overflow faster than I’ve ever seen it.
Fearful storms and damage on a really, really bad day.
April 15th I cut over Clayhanger Common to the takeaway, and noted that the waters here had almost totally receded now. The lower meadow here is designed to flood, defending the village, and works well. The problem is the path has sunk over the years and is now submerged in times of the meadow doing it’s job.
Thing is now, you’d not really know what had happened.
This really is a curious, well engineered landscape.
April 1st – A ride out to Hints and Hopwas for cake on a warm, but generally overcast but thankfully dry afternoon, that was much better than expected. Spring inches on in the reluctant winter gloom, with primroses showing well in Hopes Cemetery where the daffodils were also gorgeous, and a swan couple nesting near the social club up in the village.
The Tame at Hopwas was flowing well, and spreading into the flood margins. People downstream at Elford will be worried. Let’s hope the rain holds off.