BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘meadow’

#365daysofbiking Here comes the flood

October 26th – As predicted, the Saturday was very wet indeed, with the rain not abating until early evening. I had business in town that couldn’t wait, and on the way I passed the overflow opposite Silver Street adjacent to the lower meadow on Clayhanger Common.

The canal overflow was barely coping with the torrent, and it was starting to overflow toward the meadow.

Holding this flood is what the meadow was created for, four decades ago: And it will work, admirably holding the excess and realising it slowly, preventing the village flooding.

It will, however, make the Southern Clayhanger Common footpaths impassable for a few days – a small price to pay I think.

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#365daysofbiking Ladies who loaf

August 18th – After a dry few weeks it’s great to see the deer at Anglesey Basin, near Chasewater.

I’m sure I’ve seen this pair of ladies – either close pals or mum and daughter – many times before. The younger one is inquisitive and not easily spooked, whereas the older one seems a bit eccentric, is quite vocal and can be nervous.

I watched them for a while loafing in the meadow, amused at their green chins from the lush meadow they’d been browsing.

Such lovely faces and they look in very good condition considering how scruffy they looked during the moult a couple of months ago. They will be regrouping back into herd groups in coming weeks in preparation for the rut.

Welcome back, ladies.

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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 Sunshine yellow

April 19th – Spring is mostly about yellow for me. Cowslips, daffodils, oilseed rape and dandelions, the latter two painting the fields different shades of gorgeous on a diving evening.

Near Chesterfield, Wall an untouched meadow of dandelions looked superb, and will make most wonderful hay or grazing.

At Sandhills, the oilseed caught the dying sun wonderfully and lovely as ever, smelled of Swiss cheese.

Glad to have better days here at last.

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#365daysofbiking Regrouping:


February 10th – there were a very large number of deer on the north heath – loafing in the marsh, and up in the woods towards Fly bay. There must have been 45 or so.

Of course, they always regather in herds in spring, and the animals were content to browse the scrub, meadow and heather and doze in the copses.

I still can’t believe we have these wonderful animals right here on our doorsteps. They are so beautiful.

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August 20th – The coos of Jockey Meadows have clearly been here again. But there is no sign of them now.

I’ve been wondering if they’d be here this summer, as the meadow is lush and  full of stuff they’d love to eat – but up to now, no sign of them.

But the feeding troughs are out, the grass is trampled down. But where are they?

I love to see them. I hope they come back soon.

July 3rd – Growing along just about every lane, track, cycleway and footpath at the moment, a very much overlooked purple wildflower.

No, not thistle, but knapweed. Similar, knapweed is not hostile or prickly, but flowers similarly in strong purple, a favourite of pollinators and a great source of high quality nectar, it’s seeds feeding many songbirds too.

Sometimes the best flowers fly under the radar.

May 27th – A terrible day with some of the worst rainstorms I’ve ever seen. The day was muggy and uncomfortable until late afternoon, when the thunder started; rumbling, continual, low and then a rainstorm of such ferocity local homes were flooded, roads were blocked into the night by flash floods and an elderly gentleman lost his life in Walsall when his car entered deep floodwater.

The skies cleared in the early evening and I set out to explore, and found that the lower meadow at Clayhanger Common, designed as a flood containment bund to save the village was filling from the swamped Canal overflow faster than I’ve ever seen it.

Fearful storms and damage on a really, really bad day.

April 15th I cut over Clayhanger Common to the takeaway, and noted that the waters here had almost totally receded now. The lower meadow here is designed to flood, defending the village, and works well. The problem is the path has sunk over the years and is now submerged in times of the meadow doing it’s job.

Thing is now, you’d not really know what had happened. 

This really is a curious, well engineered landscape.

July 27th – After a good couple of weeks trying to catch them at the gate, the Jockey Meadows coos were finally not too busy to meet me this evening. 

They’ve been released here much later than usual this year, and the meadow is clearly full of tasty stuff as whilst I’ve seen the odd bovine rump above the scrub, they’ve not been loafing much hear the road at all, and have seemed very busy in their work: that of maintaining the meadow by eating the fast growing plants, churning the soil and improving it’s fertility.

I love cows and tonight, they seemed to be convening a union meeting. There are more of them this year, I counted 12 I think, whereas they normally number around 8. It was notable, however, that whilst I was interesting enough to stare at quizzically, I wasn’t interesting enough to expend any effort in walking over to investigate.

It’s good to see these lads back and I look forward to meting them again soon…