BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Shelfield’

#365daysofbiking No through road

December 1st – Green Lane is a major rat run between Walsall Wood and Sheffield, and has been closed for some weeks for drainage work. Theoretically supposed to be reopening the next day, I went to see how the works were progressing.

Oh dear, I don’t think that’ll be open for a while yet. I guess bad weather must have really held them up.

Since there’s no pedestrian way around, looks like I’ll be coming back along the A461 for a week or so yet…

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#365daysofbiking Don’t break the chain

May 20th – Laburnum is a beautiful tree. Of the same family as wisteria, with similarly structured but different coloured blossom, golden chain as it is often called was for many years was a staple of parks, gardens and urban public spaces.

Sadly, the seeds are very, very poisonous, and after a number of well publicised poisoning cases in the 80s many hundreds of these trees were cut down.

A few though, remain and this one at Shelfield was looking particularly fine as I returned from work on a grey evening.

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#365daysofbiking So, where were you?

May 16th – Such lovely days this week – sunny, but not overly hot, with a fresh breeze. The burst of early summer has jolted trees, wildflowers, wildlife and the community into life.

The roads are full of fair-weather cyclists, the countryside full of walkers. People taking the air, enjoying the beauty of the season. Here in Green Lane this evening I noted unfamiliar folk out and about – and what a fine spot, alive with greenery and birdsong.

Of course, it’s mostly beautiful all year around, even when in the darkest winter days. But it takes a lot of time and experience to appreciate that.

So for now, I greet those newly rediscovering the outdoors with a cheery ‘Hello!’ or wave, and resist the urge to ask where they were six months ago…

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#365daysofbiking In the meadow

May 14th – Spring generally comes late to Jockey Meadow, the site of special scientific interest between Walsall Wood and Shelfield.

This year however, it’s looking very green and lush in the water meadows and farmed fields either side of Green Lane.

You wouldn’t think you were surrounded by heavy industry and urban development here, just peace, quiet and birdsong.

A lovely, under-appreciated bit of local greenery.

Wonder if the coos will be here this year?

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#365daysofbiking Waiting for a fluff explosion


April 17th – On the way to work near Greern Lane, Shelfield, I notice the sallows are flowering now, and this is one of the more interesting blooms of springtime.

Sallow or goat willow is a member of the wider willow family, and grows profusely hereabouts. After the initial pretty male catkins have passed – pussy willows – then come the female catkins that were so well on show today. Once these peculiar green flowers pollinate, they generate wind-borne seeds in a few weeks: these evolve in the form of a large cloud of fluff that for a few days will coat the canal, towpaths, woodland paths, verges and road margins.

For now though in the spring sunshine of a warm, lovely morning – they look like something prehistoric, and in reality, probably are.

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#365daysofbiking Thank you Gordon

April 2nd – One of the delights of Walsall Borough in springtime is the huge amount of daffodils on verges, in parks and other open spaces, like here on the corner of Four Crosses and Lichfield roads in Sheffield.

They are a credit to Gordon Kinnair at the council, sadly no longer with us, who was responsible for their planting.

This post is dedicated to both Gordon and his good friend Kate Goodall.

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#365daysofbiking An unassuming house

February 19th – Passing through Shelfield on the way home, I noted that the Four Crosses pub was looking warm and inviting as it usually does, but is still, several years from its renovation not carrying any signage to tell anyone it’s a pub at all.

The pub, partially converted to bedsits, has always been a popular, traditional local, but like many pubs, suffered for lack of business. Following a period of closure it was purchased and renovated.

It remains a popular and well thought of traditional Black Country pub.

I’m not sure how not having any kind of sign helps with the business, though.

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#365daysofbiking Ice kingdom

January 23rd – The snow quickly petered out, and it went very cold overnight, with a small, further flurry in the early hours. I had stuff to do near home early in the morning, so left for work when the sun was well up and the sky a precious, azure blue.

Jockey Meadows in Walsall Wood and the Mystic Bridge in Darlaston were nothing short of stunning.

It’s not often we get sun and snow together like this. It was absolutely captivating, and a joy to be cycling in it.

For a while, my commute was like the kingdom of Narnia, and it ma=de me happy.

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#365daysofbiking Way over the top:

December 5th – A bit further towards home, the lavishly ostentatious nature of Shelfield’s (presumably civic) Christmas lights amazes and delights, as ever.

I have no idea who or why someone chucks a short string of colour-change lights over one single tree on the Four Crosses Road open space every year. It’s one tree in maybe 10. Seemingly random, this minimal festivity always amuses me.

Merry Christmas – but don’t get too excited, kids!

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#365daysofbiking Welcome to The Suck:

September 20th – It started with a bang: The Suck, the gradually darkening, menacing and psychologically hard commuting journeys from now until Christmas began today with a twilight, torrential rain soaked journey from Darlaston to home. 

Drenched in spray, nearly left hooked twice, perpetually on guard for bad driving this was the worst journey I’ve had in years.

At one point I just stopped and took refuge in a bus shelter to calm down. The sheer hard work of concentrating and being aware enough to survive in this conditions is a gargantuan effort.

But I made it home, and as I once again get used to this, it’ll be less of a trial.

Winter sucks you down.