BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Walsall’

#365daysofbiking Baby, that’s neat


June 5th – I’ve been passing by this graffiti – if one can call it that – for weeks and only recently realised what it is.

I have no idea of the purpose or intent, but it’s very neat.

A baby, in the womb, on an otherwise unremarkable wall between Victoria Terrace and the shops on Lichfield Road, Walsall, just by the Mellish Road island in the Butts.

I really, really like it and would love to know more…

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#365daysofbiking Look closer

June 5th – On the wasteland, long unused at the junction of Bentley Mill Way and the Walsall Road at Darlaston, unexpected beauty.

Look once, and it’s a patch of unremarkable, but lush green scrub with gorse flower and a variety of trees – doing well despite last year’s grassfires here.

But look closer.

Lupins. Loads and loads of them. In the full colour range from creamy white to deep, deep purple.

I know this journal is all about the flowers at the moment, but with beauty such as this everyday just waiting to be found, how can it not be?

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#365daysofbiking Up the junction

June 4th – On the way home, eating at the Lichfield Street/New Ring Road lights at Walsall. The rain had stopped but road conditions were… challenging.

I wish I new why this awful junction and road held so much surface water: It’s not as simple as drainage – it’s something about the surface holding it.

Ah well, at least the downpour had passed. To be in England, in the summertime…

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#365daysofbiking Toeing the line

May 30th – For the first time in quite a while, despite the rampant hay fever I decided to ride home along the canal through Birchills in Walsall to Goscote.

Climbing the lock flight here is always a pain – not so much the climb but negotiating the many sets of anti-vehicle barriers, so it’s not one I do often; but today, I had a pleasant surprise.

The towpaths on the stretch I rode are all being resurfaced. This is good news: The runs through Leamore and Harden particularly have been deteriorating in recent years and this will make them much more viable in winter on dark evenings, which is when they’d be most useful to avoid the traffic in central Walsall.

At the moment, the route as far as about Leamore is surfaced properly with asphalt down, the rest is in various stages of excavation or restoration, and on anything less than a mountain bike will be very hard going, so if planning to ride this stretch, I’d wait a week or two.

Now, if only the authorities could be persuaded to re-lay Ryders Hayes to Blakenall and Aldridge to Rushall Junction we’d have a totally ridable local network, possibly for the first time ever…

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#365daysofbiking A tense situation

May 21st – Not many people realise, but one of the reasons we see so many herons on local waterways at this time of year is that these large grey dishevelled fishers will also take young waterfowl chicks – moorhen, coot, ducklings, hatchling cygnets and goslings.

It’s not nice to think about, but herons have to eat too, and it’s why waterfowl have large clutches after all.

Today, in Pleck, Walsall I watched from the towpath as a tense situation developed: A pair of Canada geese with three goslings were heading into the path of the watchful eye of a heron, who was clearly looking for lunch.

The heron stayed put, statuesque, but the parents had spotted it. They halted their progress, and after what seemed like a silent debate between the parents, Dad honked loudly and aggressively at the heron. Heron was clearly irritated by the attention and took flight – the geese shouting what must have been abuse after it.

But, being a heron it landed again, a mere 100 yards down the canal.

Poor goslings have to be lucky all the time, the heron? Only once.

Nature, red in tooth and claw.

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#365daysofbiking Locked out

May 21st – On a late journey to work following a meeting near home earlier, I tried to get on the canal at Smith’s Flour Mill, on the New Walsall Ring Road – but I was thwarted by…. A flood.

I’ve noticed this happen here before: Someone leaves both paddles open on the lock above and I don’t think the overflow sluice next down the line – the lowest in the Birchills flight – can handle it. As a consequence, the pound between floods under the bridge.

The cause  appeared to be inexperienced boaters who were in the lock above, looking a bit helpless.

I contacted the Canal and River Trust local team who came and sorted things out.

At least it should clean some of the detritus of the path under the bridge…

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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 A rose between two thorns

May 7th – Further up the canal at Bentley Bridge near Darlaston Green, another sign of spring: The roses are flowering on the edge of the canal – rather poetically between scrapyards either side of the canal, between which the green vein of the canal ambles, being beautiful.

The roses smell gorgeous and are a true joy to the heart in such grey times.

I don’t know where the warmth and sun are hiding but we could do with them back. But in the meantime, this is a wonderful burst of brightness for sure.

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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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