#365daysofbiking Finding what’s important:
October 28th – I was lost. The week had been stressful, Saturday had been a disaster in many ways and I felt beaten, down and hopeless.
I did what I always do at times like this – wrapped up warm, got on my bike and hit Cannock Chase.
I found rutting deer at Brocton Field; marvelled at the sunset over Sherbrook Valley, laughed at a retriever playing fetch in the water at Stepping Stones. I raced down to Seven Springs, listened to owls calling in Abrahams Valley and rode the night forest braking sharply for foxes at Brindles Heath.
Some days. the forest is all you really need, and it does just what you require.
#365daysofbiking Coo, gosh:
September 6th – I don’t know where they’ve been hiding, and they weren’t telling, but I was greeted at the gate to the water meadow in Green Lane by a nearly full compliment of coos, which numbered 9 I think (one remained stubbornly eating a bush some way off).
These lads, here to maintain Jockey Meadows by eating everything they can and churning up the damp soil will be here a week or two and are even tempered, healthy looking bullocks.
Nosey in the way only cattle can be, they came to investigate me but didn’t come too close.
A lovely sight.
#365daysofbiking Oh deer!
August 27th – Nice to see my deer magnet is finally working again. It’s been a while since I saw any deer close up, and it was nice to see them on the dam at Chasewater on my return.
It’s amazing how bumping into these lovely creatures can change your day.
August 12th – I didn’t find the deer, and it started to rain. But these guys really did cheer me up – the Chasewater North Heath coos. They were moving off the low heath up into the scrub for shelter I think, and didn’t give a toss who they held up, which is exactly how it should be. Their nosiness, and gentle inquisition charmed me as it always does, and I cycled on with a smile on my face.
Well done, lads. Mission accomplished.
July 29th – There have been mercifully few grass fires around our area in this tinder-dry hot spell, which has surprised me. Kids and discarded cigarettes, not to mention the awful disposable barbecue fad, seem to be causing a rash of fires elsewhere as they sadly usually do; but near Brownhills we have so far been impacted only lightly it seems.
One such fire was here on the heath between the dam and bypass at Chasewater; an apparently large fire when reported, it seems that quite a small area has been affected.
Whilst this is a pain, unnecessary and a scourge, it’s not the end of the world: The heath will quickly recover and for a time, smaller species should enjoy a boom, and it’ll soon there will be little sign the fire happened.
Better it hadn’t happened at all, but still…
April 29th – I made another call on my way home to check out the latest work on the heathland restoration on Brownhills Common between the Chester Road and The Parade, south of the Watling Street. Much local comment had taken of mass tree felling and carnage, so I was wary.
I needn’t have worried: The careful project continues to strip out most of the coniferous trees and saplings here, and standing upon a mound that was once a conifer plantation most of my view was now the varying greens of deciduous growth. Native saplings have been left, and the whole area opened up to the light.
Yes, there are tractor tracks on the main footpath, but other than that easily remedied damage, the work seems to be sensitive and in line with original plans.
You can already see the improvements in biodiversity and birdlife here, and that can only be great for the future of this wonderful heath.