BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Valley’

#365daysofbiking Medicinal

Saturday March 20th 2021 – I wasn’t feeling so good and headed out with a friend onto Cannock Chase. I was down in the dumps and not feeling the love.

I was expecting the Chase to be crowded and the paths to be terrible, like they currently are at Chasewater, but to my delight it was very quiet and the trails were no different to normal.

I found myself cheered by the cinematic, wide landscape and open skies, despite the dull day, and found what I usually do – the best cure for the blues is a damn good ride.

Coming off the Chase at Milford, we rode through Tixall at dusk, Haywood and around by Blithfield and Admaston home.

Of course, the highly medicinal burger from Milford’s legendary Wimpy helped too…

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#365daysofbiking Getting the abbey habit

Sunday, October 25th 2020 – I’m enjoying the long rides this autumn, which is making the whole experience of the season much nicer, I must say.

This grey Sunday I wrapped up warm and headed back to the Churnet Valley, and caught the area in a lovely sunset golden hour. On the way I took an alternate route bypassing Willslock and Uttoxeter and found myself passing through Croxden, where the immense and beautiful ruined abbey took me fair by surprise: I must come back and spend time looking around it. I’ve never seen a lane actually run through a set of ruins before…

The Churnet Valley was as beautiful as it tends to be, but I had a different target in mind. Crossing the valley by Lord’s Bridge, up  the gorgeous Barbary Gutter and past the dreadful Alton Towers, I pressed up past Star Bank and Threelows, looping back over the Weaver Hills, to catch them just as night fell.

I returned via Ellastone, Marston Montgomery and Sudbury, blasting down the A515 for a fast run home.

Another beautifully autumnal ride that really lifted my spirits.

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#365daysofbiking The long valley road

Sunday, October 11th 2020 – My wish was granted: It was a great day when the sun shone and the countryside steamed in the warm October sun. Sadly I didn’t get out until late afternoon, but still managed 70 miles.

I’d been wanting to do the Churnet Valley in autumn for years: The cycleway from Denstone on the old rail line, and Red road from Alton to Oakamoor were made for the season. I came back down the valley via Farley and Wootton Deer Park to Ellastone which was an absolutely magical golden hour ride on lanes I’d never ridden before: Thoroughly gorgeous and captivating. I must return.

The Churnet Valley – best known for the execrable Alton Towers theme park – is actually one of Staffordshire’s most wonderful places and is so much more than the gimcrack fairground attraction and is almost – with that imperious castle overlooking – a mini Loire Valley.

I came back via Ellastone, Marston and Sudbury, then blasted with the wind behind me down the A515. I just wish there had been more time.

What a difference a day made.

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#365daysofbiking Happy valley

May 9th – A run into Birmingham the day before had me hankering for the Sandwell Valley. I had errands to do, and the park is on the route between West Browmwich and Rushall Junction on the Tame Valley Canal, so what better chance to pay it a visit?

It was on my return I chose to visit the park: With snacks in the saddlebag and a cooling alcohol free G&T I enjoyed a small, private picnic overlooking Swan Pool.

It was busy with walkers, runners, cyclists and promenading families, but everything was well distanced and pleasant.

And while I sat cross legged and munching, the late afternoon sun warmed my soul and the azure blue sky, reflected in the water, was gorgeous.

A very welcome afternoon of clarity and peace.

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#365daysofbiking The night comes in

September 8th – Time at last for a ride out on a very pleasant, but distinctly autumnal Sunday afternoon. I headed for the Chase and Brocton Field, descending into Sherbrook Valley, then over to Milford for the restorative power of a Wimpy burger and chips.

On a whim, instead of heading back to Rugeley, I chose to return across the Chase up Abraham’s Valley and over the old ranges, and back through Hednesford in the gathering night.

The forest was as splendid as it always is is, and far less lonely than one would expect, with the sounds of deer, owls and other creatures scuttling around, it’s really quite busy.

A lovely ride reminding me that the nights really are closing in fast now.

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#365daysofbiking Churnet up

June 29th – Since it was to be the hottest day of the year so far, I went for it again: Another ride out.

I rode up over Chorley to Armitage, and then up through Blithbury and Abbotts Bromley to Denstone, then up the Churnet Valley Trail to Alton, which always gives gorgeous views of the castle at Alton, evoking Bavaria or the Loire Valley.

From Alton to Oakamoor on the wonderful valley-floor lane called Red Road, then a quick break in the village and up Star Bank for a drink at the Old Star pub to cool down/ From there a loop round Windy Harbour and Caldon Lowe over the Weaver Hills, and back home through Ellastone, Marston Montgomey, Sudbury and Yoxall.

A fantastic ride on a perfect day.

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#365daysofbiking Only sleeping

May 1st – Horses are curious beasts.  Just off the McLean Way at Goscote, home to many a tethered horse, I saw this one fast asleep on it’s side.

Horses often sleep lying on their sides like this, and it’s perfectly normal – however, it’s something that unless you’re around the animals a fair bit, you don’t realise. Sometimes people not knowing think the animal has died. In the vast majority of instances, it’s just a horse, sleeping, like this one.

Lying there, I watched it for a while, until it grunted in it’s slumber and farted loudly. Bless it.

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#365daysofbiking Time’s Arrow:

December 4th – Once again in Redditch, I passed through Arrow Valley Park on a grey, unclear and cold afternoon. 

It was interesting to note the final vestiges of colour on the trees around the lake, and I was intrigued by the sailing club, as I don’t think I’ve ever seen a boat on the water here. I guess I just pass by at the wrong time – the club itself looks like a lovely facility.

The lake itself is also home to a remarkably large variety of waterfowl, presumably,y enjoying the peace undisturbed…

June 22nd – With the excellent weather we’ve been having, Friday night, post work rides into Brum have become a thing, it seems, and this evening I really needed it. Into the city by the main line from Darlaston to Great Bridge, then coffee, cake and out again vial Spaghetti Junction, Castle Bromwich and the Plats Brook/Newhall Valley cycleway – one of the finest, anywhere.

A lovely, gentle, restorative ride.