#365daysofbiking Death throes:
November 20th – In Redditch, just like everywhere else I guess, Autumn is in it’s death throes now. Winter is on my shoulder and it was cold, and on the way home, wet too. It’s not yet frosty, but there’s a characteristic bite in the air that finds every sensitive tooth when you first step out.
Rolling along the Arrow Valley through the park to visit a customer, the river and meadows were still gorgeous. But you can tell it’s ending now. Another week or so and winter will be here.
But also, it’s only a little over a month now until the shortest day. A month. Then darkness will be in retreat once more.
Onwards. I’m ready now.
#365daysofbiking Chips with that?
September 10th – I notice the Canal and River Trust have contractors out at the moment cutting back canalside tree and shrub overgrowth, which is a job that’s been ongoing locally most of the summer.
Here at Walsall Wood they’ve been quite ruthless in removing the lower beaches of trees and scrub over what is a very wide canal, so the growth would not have impeded the passage of boat traffic.
It has, however, removed cover for kingfishers, waterfowl and the mamals that live and hunt alone the bank. Periodically, piles of wood chips will be good for bugs I suppose.
Concerning, but I suppose it’s necessary.
July 7th – Taking advantage of the quiet roads following England’s victory over Sweden in the World Cup, a lift was bagged to near Measham and an unintentional 87 mile fast paced ride up the Cloud Trail to Derby, then back out through Mackworth and the Needwood Valley, finishing long after dark, ensued.
I explored the trail over Sinfin Moor too where I’d never been before, which really was a nice ride.
Not really any time to take too many pictures, but Cloud Quarry’s view from the trail is still jaw dropping, and it’s fascinating to see one end of this immense quarry being filled while basting continues to remove limestone at the other.
The river crossing is always a delight, and the tiny chapel/church at Church Town is a real gem.
I was intrigued by the crop growing near derby – is that oats? Seems like it but they seem a bit – fulsome for that. You don’t see oats about much is Staffordshire come to think of it. Suggestions gratefully received.
A great ride on a hot, quiet Saturday afternoon.
June 17th – A much better day all around with a ride out in steady, fine drizzle to Cannock Chase – heavily pregnant deer were seen near Penkridge Bank, and following a treat at the Wimpy in Milford, aa bimble over Shugborough was just what the doctor ordered.
The lamb had escaped his paddock and flock through the fence, but defied attempts to recapture him, and his antics were entertaining, but left the cattle nearby unimpressed.
At the canal near Bishton, the remains of the boathouse on the river – one a grand affair but now just a Brik-lined caver and passage – were as fascinating as ever. You can find out more here.
June 11th – For the first time in absolutely ages, I found myself in Redditch on a business call, and for old times sake I rode through the gorgeous Arrow Valley Park that bisects the town, with the still quaint little hamlet of Ipsley in the centre of it.
I used to come here week in, week out but the customer changed hands and moved out fo that line of business, so I really find myself here now. But it’s still lovely.
But that climb back up from the south of town to the station is still an absolute killer…
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 2nd – Heading out on a dull but warm afternoon, the eventual aim was Draycott in the Clay steam fair at Klondyke Mill, but fate had other ideas. On the way, I called in at Chasewater to see if it was filling the canal. It was, the valves were open.
There has been a leak in the canal near Little Bloxwich that has lost a huge amount of water into a culvert beneath the canal, and the Canal and River Trust had said initially the drop in level was due to Chasewater’s supply being cut off by Staffordshire County Council, which was clearly arrant nonsense.
The Trust finally released an emergency stoppage notice and began damming off the leak that very afternoon.
You can read more here.
Chasewater is still very full, and when called upon will need to fill the five inches or more lost from the canal. An interesting situation to watch.