BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Walsall Wood’

#365daysofbiking On the western skyline

December 1st – Looping around and back up Walsall Wood, I became aware I was in the midst of a gorgeous sunset. Chasewater would have been my place of choice to catch such a vivid one, but sadly I wouldn’t make it in time, so I headed up Shire Oak Hill.

The view downhill to Walsall Wood, Walsall and the wider Black Country is always stunning, and it’s a good while since I saw it in a good sunset. It was worth it.

This is one of the greatest local views and very much unappreciated.

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#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 Staying focused

November 5th – On the way to work I hit the canal between Brownhills and the Black Cock Bridge, and through the copse alongside the towpath, I could see a group of female red deer in the field between me and Clayhanger.

Sadly, there were just too many trees in the way and the deer were remarkably nervous today, so my attempts to  focus on them beyond the trees were thwarted.

I must get faster at that. Far too ham fisted at the moment.

Also fascinated by the zoom compression of the houses in the background, which aren’t anywhere near as close as that in real life.

Nice to see the ladies about though…

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#365daysofbiking Heavy weather traffic

November 2nd – Out again after dark for a supplies run to Walsall Wood, and on my return, I stopped on Walsall Wood Bridge as I often do in winter to admire the lights of the village that straddles the A461.

Walsall Wood is an interesting place. Unlike Pelsall and Aldridge, Walsall Wood actually seems a little like a village still: a smattering of shops, trio of pubs, a parish church all in a quarter of a mile, surrounded by housing and further out, factories and industrial sprawl.

In daytime this place is pleasant if unprepossessing enough.

But at night, it develops a really interesting feel: almost like a sort of semi-permanent Christmas. The lights of the shops, pubs and takeaways combine and make this place look bright and welcoming in the gloom, in a way most other places don’t.

In this period between rain showers, there was a lot of traffic for a Saturday and cars made that noise they always do on wet tarmac. But it all combined as it usually does and looked beautiful.

I always love this view and I think I always will.

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#365daysofbiking Garden ruin


October 19th – Originally featuring tennis courts, gardens and bowling greens, the original, once beautiful Oak Park has been pretty much abandoned and allowed to decay in recent years.

This is a crime, and a civic insult to the miners and citizens of Walsall Wood to whom this place was a gift.

Only the bowling club, with a well kept, securely fenced green still get the benefit of this sad, lost place.

I cannot countenance a world where there simply isn’t the money allowed to look after our civic amenities like this.

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#365daysofbiking Lily was here

October 11th –  On the way to work on the canal Walsall Wood, I noticed something one doesn’t normally see until early spring: This floating root, probably disturbed by Canal and River Trust efforts to remove the floating algae, is a rhizome of the water lilies that are so profuse here.

This remnant of the summer plant generally sinks to the canal bottom during winter, and when the water warms in spring, it becomes buoyant, floats with other detritus and then takes root, and when rooted, will grow that season’s lilies.

It’s a curious mechanism that actually works very efficiently.

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#365daysofbiking Suckback

September 30th – The first commute in darkness and bad weather of the autumn is always a shock, and this one was dreadful.

The Suck – the name for the gradually darkening, dangerous and unpleasant evening commutes up until Christmas – is a harrowing time.

A combination of bad weather, drivers unused to otherwise familiar journeys now in darkness and lack of patience make for a psychologically and physically difficult time to be on a bike.

It had taken a good ten minutes longer to grind home – and I was still a good way away. I was wet, cold and had a number of very close passes despite lights and hi-vis.

If I could just fast forward to Christmas when the light creeps back and people have settled down, that would be great cheers.

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#365daysofbiking Slightly unreal

September 23nd – Another late night at work and there was little for it but to grab a takeaway on the way home – and thin pickings on a Monday meant calling in at Walsall Wood.

The rain had been back and I managed to tuck the homeward commute in-between periods of rain.

I thought I’d give the phone a chance to display it’s prowess with it’s lauded night mode on St John’s Church, Walsall Wood.

Oh my goodness.

This is odd. I’m not sure if I like it. There’s a lot – and awful lot – of HDR there. It seems almost unnaturally sharp. But it’s visually stunning. I have no idea what to make of this at all.

Close up the quality is not great, I have to say. These images were ever destined for social media though, and I’m being way too critical.

But blimey, there’s a thing to experiment with…

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#365daysofbiking Crosstown traffic

September 20th – That evening, coming up from Stonnall as dusk fell I was, as I usually am, held at the lights.

There are few homecomings more significant to me that this small, triumphant wait – having climbed a large hill, all that’s left between me, a mug of tea, home and family – and often, the food in the pannier – is a long, pleasurable freewheel down the hill, over Anchor Bridge and into Brownhills.

Just got to wait for the lights, and I’m nearly there…

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