#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…