BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘lost’

#365daysofbiking Garden ruin


October 19th – Originally featuring tennis courts, gardens and bowling greens, the original, once beautiful Oak Park has been pretty much abandoned and allowed to decay in recent years.

This is a crime, and a civic insult to the miners and citizens of Walsall Wood to whom this place was a gift.

Only the bowling club, with a well kept, securely fenced green still get the benefit of this sad, lost place.

I cannot countenance a world where there simply isn’t the money allowed to look after our civic amenities like this.

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#365daysofbiking Stumped

October 19th – Nipping over to Walsall Wood on an errand, I crossed the sadly fading old Oak Park – not the leisure centre of the same name, but the formerly ornamental park that gave the centres their name.

Near a bench by the old waterlogged bowling green, an amazingly vivid colony of what I think is honey fungus.

There was a fair collection of disparate fungus here, to be fair. About the only thing that seems to be doing well in this sad, lost park.

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#365daysofbiking Lost lanes

August 4th – A lane I’d not really ever registered the existence of disappeared a while ago, without me being aware. This is unusual, as I’m normally fascinated by these things.

School Lane, Little Wyrley was a quiet, winding, lightly used lane with no dwellings between the A5 Watling Street and Gorsey Lane. This whole area of scrubby, grubby not-quite countryside between Brownhills and Great Wyrley is plagued with fly tipping and other antisocial behaviour, but School Lane was particularly badly affected.

Having endured enough, in 2016 [Edit – It’s been closed much longer than this, from at least 2009 – Bob], Cannock Chase Council decided the best way to stop the problem was to gate the lane. Permanently.

This completely passed me by at the time, and I only noticed when it was mentioned in passing a few months ago on social media, so I made a mental note to ride it while I still could. As you can see, nature is now taking over and it’s an odd, but peaceful and wonderfully pollution-free byway disappearing slowly back into the landscape.

Like Dark Lane near Longdon, lost lanes intrigue me no end.

I’m glad I checked this out.

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#365daysofbiking Late night feelings

July 26th – All hell broke loose in the afternoon. I had to travel out to investigate an unexpected job. I returned at near enough 11pm by train to Bloxwich.

The night was warm, and the train and station quiet.

I prepared the bike and looked down the line. I was tired, no, worse than that, exhausted. But stood there  in the LED light, feeling the night air and listening to – well, nothing – I felt I was near home.

For the first time since last winter, I had those late night feelings again.

What is it with me and railway stations at night?

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#365daysofbiking It must be yew

May 5th – Still suffering, but a cold, grey ride up through Weeford, Whittington and Croxall to keep moving. Passing Shenstone Church on the way, something was missing.

I had an attachment to that old Yew: shelter in rain when I was a child, shady in summer and totally imperious, I’m sure it was felled for good reason, but it’s still sad.

And the mock gothic, dark and foreboding church of St John now looks even more harsh.

A great sadness, but everything must pass I guess.

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#365daysofbiking A lifetime away

March 17th – On Lea Lane, between Newton and Admaston, a nice country house. Rambling, large, with half its garden oddly over the road, it’s a curious building.

What casual passers-by don’t realise in many cases is that this house, up until very, very recently, was actually a pub called The Wicket. In the middle of nowhere, I guess the pub had a hard time surviving, and closed like so many others. And now, you’d never know.

I went in there once. It was nice enough, but quiet as you’d expect. It seems odd now that I sat with a Guinness in what is now a total stranger’s lounge.

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#365daysofbiking Here I stand:

November 6th – One thing I forgot in the years I hadn’t been coming to Redditch is a small rule that also applies to fellow new town Telford – never risk an unknown shortcut when in a hurry.

I was dashing for the train. I took what I thought would be a route around by the bus station and under the subway to the station. Instead, I lost all sense of direction totally and ended up on a ringway flyover overlooking it, a good 10 metres above where I needed to be with no easy way back other than to retrace my steps.

Urban design on such an inhuman scale does not make for intuitive routes.

Redditch should come with a decent cheat sheet for those on foot and cycling….

#365daysofbiking Dead and buried:

September 16th – A grim, drizzly afternoon and a late escape. I went to see if there were any remnants of an ancient burial mound called Offlow near the hamlet of Swinfen, trapped in the A38-A5 interchange triangle, just south of Lichfield.

Apart from a rise in the general landscape, there was nothing but a cellphone transmitter, but I expected that as history says that Offlow was lost over a century ago to farming.

I returned via Lichfield over the Bridleway over the A38 up past Harehurst Hill, near Wall. The main road – pretty much a motorway in all but name – has left a much larger impact on the land than Offlow ever did – which is a bit sad.

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.