BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘land’

#365daysofbiking Pondlife

March 2nd – Over between Clayhanger Village and the canal, behind the big house the new pond – created by the removal of Walsall Wood Colliery’s spoil heap in the 1980s – is enjoying its annual but brief period of visibility.

In spring, before the leaves come, once can see the pond, and it looks healthy and full of life.

As the leaves grow, it will become impossible to see – but it will frequently be heard when the roosting waterfowl that love it so will squabble and bicker.

The fact that nature is thriving on this once very polluted, barren place fills me with joy.

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#365daysofbiking Tilt

February 22nd – Something that has got steadily worse over the wet winter has been the imminent collapse of the canal embankment bear the Pier Street bridge. Much of the wall here has been rebuilt, but the older section here has been tilting for years, caused no doubt by the creation of the mound on the common adjacent, settling and pushing it over.

At the moment the angle is perilous and I doubt it will be long before the brickwork gives – it won’t be disastrous but will require a lot of work to fix.

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#365daysofbiking Adopted

May 6th – In Norton – a lovely village if I’m honest – a treat: The local Brownies and Guides have adopted a public open space and bus stop in the old village and have created a wildflower patch, a bug hotel of proportions a certain pUs President would welcome, nicely planted beds and lovely sweet decorations on the shelter.

A joy to behold, and a great way of showing – and fostering – community spirit.

Thank you to all involved.

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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.

April 26th – Clayhanger Common,early morning, not long after dawn.

Yellow army I surreptitiously helped establish here is massing around the grassland. Standing proud, in defiance of the land’s former history as a rubbish tip.

These flowers are a symbol of great progress, undercover as bright yellow, beautiful spring sentries.

May their invasion recur every year without resistance being encountered.

March 8th – Passing again from Shenstone in daylight, I stopped to take in The Little Holms, the western end of Shenstone’s Lammas Land, a public space that runs along the whole upper side of the village from rear the pumping station to the Birmingham Road, along the Footherley Brook.

This lovely spot gives a great view of the Victorian pump house, still in use with twin 200 horsepower electric pumps. With a storage reservoir underneath, this facility feeds Barr Beacon reservoir, and keeps Walsall and North Birmingham fed with clean water from it’s boreholes.

Brought into use in 1892, it pumps water from a 131 feet deep, 12 foot diameter well, with a 597 foot heading. The steam pump was retired in 1957, and now a 60 horsepower submersible well pump tops up a 10,000 gallon tank under the pumphouse.

After treatment there, water is pumped by 200 horsepower pumps up to Barr Beacon reservoir for distribution. These pumps can supply 1,500,000 gallons per day, and are backed up by emergency generators.

The cottages were originally for the workers, but I think they’re private now. I love the attic conversion in the end one – that gable wind is gorgeous.

December 8th – A shock today, commuting on a cold, hard morning with the wind against me; I noticed today that the leaves had gone and winter was truly here. It was chilly, and I felt it in my bones.

The sun shone, though, and passing on the Ring Road, I noticed the site of the proposed new cinema between Tesco and Stafford Street in Walsall had been cleared of scrub and it looks like work might be about to start here.

It’ll be interesting to see what develops.