BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Newtown’

#365daysofbiking The grass is always greener…

Thursday, September 24th 2020 – This healthy horse has made me smile a few times of late. Passing it at Newtown, on the A5 Watling Street in North Brownhills, it dwells in a small paddock between the footpath and canal.

I often see it atop the steep bank, craning through the fence to get to the grass on the footpath edge.

The horse is friendly and always enjoys a nuzzle when you stop and say hello.

Gorgeous animal. But I’ll never understand horses.

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#365daysofbiking Across the middle-distance

May 20th – I have featured the view over the Watling Street valley between the canal at Chemical Hill, Brownhills and Hammerich many, many times on this journal over the years.

It’s a view dear to me, and the skyline above the rolling slopes of Meerash, punctuated by that elegant church spire and former windmill make for a remarkable view from a former industrial town on the very edge of the Black Country.

I think what makes it special is indeed the in-between: There’s a busy dual carriageway, of course, a well hidden toll motorway too, and a former railway.

But this land also bore the Staffordshire Hoard and I’m sure is still holding on to great secrets.

It’s a fantastic thing to behold.

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#365daysofbiking Supervision

April 17th – Near Newtown, just near the A5 bridge on the canal, another wonderful sign of spring on a grey afternoon: The swans are nesting here.

This is the first nest I’ve seen in this spot and I think it’s probably the mystery couple from last year who suddenly seemed to appear with hatched chicks, which I think had been incubated in a nest out of sight behind a moored boat.

I noted one bird was supervising while the other did the work. I have no doubt that if the one watching could have folded its wings, it would have done…

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#365daysofbiking Step on up


January 31st – Wearily plodding to Chasewater – not easy in the post-hospital condition in which I found myself – I stopped to note that the new steps between the McLean Way – the former rail line through Brownhills and the canal at the Newtown Viaduct were now complete, and had a lady feeling channel just like the ones at Bullows Road.

The steps are gorgeous and very well thought out, as I’ve come to expect from this volunteer, mainly OAP led project.

I never thought I’d see this come to pass but I’m so glad it has. My thanks and support go out to all involved.

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#365daysofbiking Ever falls the twilight

January 12th – I made it to Lichfield in good time, thankfully, and had a 30 minutes to mooch around the city at twilight with my companion.

The classic Stowe Pool twilight shot is always too good to resist, even though it’s a local cliche.I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it.

The heron on Minster Pool was a rare treat, as were the chimneys of Leomansley.

It was a day of dramatic skies, and until the English winter cold kicked in, a beautifully springlike afternoon.

Dare I dream?

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#365daysofbiking Beginning steps

January 12th – A better day to complete the errands I utterly failed at the day before.

I noted that on the Anglesey Branch Canal where it crosses the South Staffordshire Railway via an elegant Victorian cast iron trough aqueduct, contractors working for Back the Track had started to build a much needed and welcome stairway between the canal towpath and the cycle and walking route below – the McLean Way.

I’m glad I’m not building that. It looks like hard, precarious work. It also occurred that there’s no easy access to get the hardcore to the site, either.

My best wishes to the people building these steps, and thanks to the folk from Back the Track for dedicating so much time and effort to make things better for us all.

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#365daysofbiking Listed

January 5th – I went for a spin up the McLean Way – the rail to trail cycleway that Brian Stringer and Back the Track have been reclaiming on the old South Staffordshire Railway line that runs through Brownhills.

It’s a bit muddy in places but easily rideable on a mountain or off-road bike. The mud is shallow, and sits mostly as a 3 inch layer on top a solid ballast base, so once you cut into in, it rides well.

On the whole it’s brilliant, it really is and a credit to all involved.

This aqueduct over the former railway conducts the Anglesey Branch Canal from it’s terminal feeder point at Chasewater to Ogley Junction. The bridge is a nationally listed building, considered almost unique in construction and style.

It’s in a sorry state, and I think the Canal and River Trust will have to do a fair bit of maintenance before too long.

But it’s a beautiful thing, and incredibly well thought out.

Unusual to see if from underneath.

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#365daysofbiking Draining colour

December 8th – I headed back to Brownhills along the canal back towards Catshill Junction, which on the way passes the beautiful view of Hammerwich across the fields of Newtown and Ogley Hay.

I notice now the fields, trees and hedgerows are very brown and lifeless-looking although there seems to be a crop down of some sort.

It will be some months before the gorgeous green comes around again, which always makes me sad.

But this is a beautiful view, whatever the time of year, it has to be said.

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#365daysofbiking Family values

June 23rd – Another cheering sight was the swan family resting up en masse in a canalside garden near Wharf Bridge. Sadly slightly depleted in number now due to predation, the six remaining birds were content and sleeping – along with a cheeky mallard that clearly decided to join them.

What a lovely thing to have in your garden!

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