BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘mowing’

#365daysofbiking A thorn in my side

January 31st – I see with their usual subtlety and lack of attention to detail (more on that in a post on my main blog coming up soon) the Canal and River Trust have flailed the hedges along the canal towpath between Anchor Bridge and Brownhills.

This makes for a thorny hazard for cyclists with normal tyres as the flailed thorns are devils for causing punctures.

It’s right to do it this time of year, before birds nest of course, and lord knows, the job needed doing – but the tractor they used has again churned up the grass, and the aggressive mowing has continued, with nascent daffodils cropped along with the grass.

I have no idea what’s motivated the trust to carry out this manic bout of mowing everything to within a millimetre of living but I wish they’d tale a deep breath and think about it more.

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#365daysofbiking Unkind cuts

November 17th – The Canal and River Trust are still doing their best to piss me off, their talent for which is so prodigious I doubt they actually have to try.

After grumbling a couple of weeks ago at pointless towpath grass cutting up on the Anglesey Branch on the way to Chasewater, I see they’ve been up on the canal through Brownhills too.

They are cutting grass that the hungry waterfowl would have grazed overwinter. a colony of earthstar fungus has been destroyed. Grass mulch now is all over the paths, bunging up the bike and folk’s shoes. Parts of the grass that were formerly lush and verdant are now a cropped mud bath.

Why? Who the hell cuts grass in winter? This is sheer, pointless, piss-poor grounds management, and an utter waste of desperately needed cash.

Please stop!

A canal towpath is a wild place. That’s it’s charm – a rough cut twice a year would be more than enough.

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#365daysofbiking Is there any need for that?

November 7th – I see that the Canal and River Trust continue with their madly frequent bank mowing schedule with the towpath grass clearly just having been cut near Chasewater on the Anglesey Branch Canal.

There is no reason to cut this grass in November. It’s left a muddy, rotting mess behind and won’t be good for the grass, wildlife of anything else over winter.

The C&RT are always moaning they have no money, yet seem to have plenty to pay for this ridiculously frequent exercise in cosmetics.

It defies any logic.

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#365daysofbiking Kidney at stake:

June 7th – Kidney vetch is an odd little wildflower, which consists of tiny yellow flowers cluster around a fluffy, downy head. I always imagine it’s a plant of late summer for some reason, and it’s appearance in midsummer always surprises me.

It grows profusely on the grass around the top of the new pond embankment at Clayhanger, one of the few places I know it exist, yet every year, like the orchids, it’s cut down by Canal and River Trust’s mowing team who insist on obliterating anything in their path.

I preferred canals when they were more unkempt, if I’m honest.

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June 21st – It’s good to see that one place the Canal and River Trust mowers didn’t go is the meadow and embankment alongside the new pond at Clayhanger, where orchids, ribwort plantain, birds foot trefoil, ox-eye daisies, buttercups and many species of grasses are thriving, much to the appreciation of the bees, bugs and birds that rely on them.

Long grass and meadows are not some untidiness to be dealt with: They are essential to our ecosystem.

June 20th – To my dismay, the agressive and pointlessly regular towpath mowing schedule continues on local canals, to the detriment of wildflowers growing there, like the poor orchids.

In recent years, the canal management have insisted on having the canalside grass mown every month – not only is this unnecessary, it inhibits the growth of some wonderful species and destroys others in their prime.

The mower had been through today, and although the operator was mindful of some orchids, many more were destroyed.

If the grass had been left another month, it would have been to no detriment and huge benefit.

Frustrating and pointless.

June 6th – There’s a splendid display of orchids this year in the meadows, wetland margins and by the canal – but sadly many have been destroyed – or stunted – by the agressive local towpath mowing schedule by the Canal and River Trust.

Can they not tolerate a bit of uncut grass for a few weeks while these bee-attracting beauties thrive? Perhaps they could use the manpower to fix some of the leaks and failing infrastructure instead…

June 17th – This is joyous.On the banks of the new pond at Clayhanger, what I believe to be northern marsh orchids growing in profusion. The grass is not cut here, and there must be 40 or so of these beautiful purple flowers. They are doing well, and they’re just gorgeous.

The whole bank running down from the towpath is a carpet of wildflowers, and alive with bugs and bees.

There are usually a few marsh orchids on the towpath up towards Aldridge, but the Canal and River Trust’s ferocious and inflexible mowing schedule means that all the best specimens have this year been shredded to pulp in the name of tidiness.

Let’s hope the mowing zealots don’t spot these…

June 12th – They missed one! Thankfully, here are still one or two marsh orchids the mower didn’t slay; I spotted this healthy speciment on the opposite flank of the Clayhanger Bridge opposite the towpath. I still can’t forgive the buggers for mowing the others down.

These are gorgeous blooms. Look out for them.