BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Marsh’

#365daysofbiking On grey days, I dream in colour

June 23rd – A tired, grumpy recovery day. I set out mid afternoon to find something to cheer me up – no easy task in the grey and drizzle that prevailed: Such a shock after the bright, warm summer of the day before.

At Norton Bog, I found what I was looking for: The brightness of summer flowers around the small pool by the bypass.

Several varieties of orchid, devils paintbrush and birdsfoot trefoil mingled and competed to be the most vivid.

A lovely display that did indeed perk me up no end.

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#365daysofbiking Keep an eye out

June 17th – For some reason later than the canalside ones, the orchids in the grass on the bank from the canal to the new pond at Clayhanger are now coming out.

Thankfully unharmed by the Canal and River Trust mower, these lovely purple flowers are hard to spot at first amongst the tall grass, vetch and other wildflowers but they’re there – being beautiful and trying to get noticed.

If you go for a look, wear wellies or long trousers as the grass is full of cuckoo spit…

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#365daysofbiking Purple haze

June 4th – The orchid season is upon us, and two spotted miles apart: The tall purple one (about 12 inches high) is the one spotted in the patch by the canal in Walsall Wood last week: It’s developed beautifully.

The second is a random lone soldier spotted beside the cycleway at Telford station: In the lovely pink-purple colour you can really see the gorgeous patterns on the petals.

Both seem to be northern marsh orchids but I’m certainly no expert.

Beautiful flowers and some of my favourites – only here for a few short weeks so if you want to find some, get out now.

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#365daysofbiking Borstin orchid

May 30th – One of my favourite times of summer is when the orchids come into bloom.

There are many species of orchid in the UKL and none are particularly common – those we see around the canals and marshes of the local area now are a recent thing and a delight to see.

Varying in shade from a sort of lavender blue to very deep purple, the marsh orchids by the canal and over CLayhanger Common are just beautiful.

Let’s hope the mowers of the Canal and River Trust are held off until they’ve finished their lovely display for another year.

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#365daysofbiking Yellow peril

May 29th – Always nice to see the flowering of the beautifully yellow flag irises that grow in abundance alongside the local canals and wetlands.

Sadly, they really, really trigger my hay fever like nothing else.

So for the next few weeks every canalside ride will be punctuated by sneezing – but in such a good cause.

Such lovely blooms.

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#365daysofbiking The trains don’t run here anymore:

September 7th – The weather was still grey and unpleasant, cold with a sharpening wind and summer seemed a long way behind me. But I felt like a bit of an explore on the way home so I hopped up onto the old South Staffordshire Railway that carried freight when I was a kid.

Carefully restored and maintained by Back the Track as a cycling and walking greenway, it’s peaceful up there and as Vivian Stanshall put it, you’re nestling in green nowhere.

There are good views of the canal, Clayhanger Marsh and Ryders Mere, and plenty of birds and wildlife to spot.

It’s also home to one of the most mournful monuments to a lost railway I know: The solitary remaining signal post of Norton Junction.

Still, the ladder makes a great vantage point for photographing the marsh…

July 18th – Looking less green, but still beautiful, the farmland opposite Jockey Meadows, Walsall Wood has a beautiful colour at the moment. The meadows themselves have so far this year been untouched by cattle for the first time in a good few years, so the water meadow has tall grass and the scrub is clearly taking over, but here on the farmland, things seem a bit more ordered, but the marshy patch closest to the camera is still largely fallow.

The season’s jacket is gradually and steadily turning colour. Whilst it’s beautiful, it’s a bit sad seeing such a great season pass.

December 26th – I met this interesting fellow on the way back from Chasewater. I guess it was hunting frogs and amphibians in the marsh there, as there’s no real open water – but of course, an adult frog must contain plenty of sustenance for an adult grey heron in winter.

Whatever it was expecting for lunch, it was a handsome and healthy looking bird and totally unexpected there. A nice treat.

October 21st – A blustery, showery day, so I restricted myself to a short ride around the patch, washing through the leaves shaken free by the storm. At the new pond at Clayhanger, I noticed a healthy, beautiful holly bush with a dense crop of berries growing in the marsh at the back of the pool. That’s a sign Christmas is coming, for sure.

Autumn has been strange this year. It’s like we fell out of summer with a bump and kept bouncing off winter with no transition…

July 14th – Well, they’re definitely here at Jockey Meadows at last, my friends the coos; but the lads were far too busy eating to go look at the cyclist calling them from the gate. 

It looks like we’ve got seven as usual, probably Dexters as they’ll eat just about anything.

Oh well, perhaps when they’ve settled in they’ll say hi…