April 14th – Spring came today properly, and brought with her warm sun and the general population out enjoying itself in what seems like the first temperate weather since last year…
Interested to note as I rode out through Chasewater on a bike ride to Cannock Chase and Shugborough that the canal feeder valve from the full reservoir is now open quite some way, and there’s a strong flow of water into the canal.
Either the Canal and River Trust have sorted out their argument with Staffordshire County Council, or the latter have decided unilaterally to reduce the water level in the reservoir themselves.
I noticed that at the time of observation, the main lake was still overtopping the weir at the Nine-Foot so the valves can only have been very recently opened.
Always an interesting, relaxing thing to watch.
April 23rd – I popped out late afternoon – it was very cold with a lazy, biting wind that instead of going around you, just went straight through. It was periodically sunny, but with remarkably dark, threatening skies. I headed for Chasewater and noted that the willows were coming into leaf – always a good sign – and that the valve from Chasewater had now been opened and the water level had started to drop. This seems to be coinciding with the reintroduction of cattle onto the spillway heath, so I guess the authorities want that area to dry out in readiness.
I interrupted a small drama as I crossed Catshill Junction on my way back to Brownhills – the puss clearly fancied a little duck for supper, but was clearly out of luck – but if looks could kill…
February 21st – Another grim, grey and periodically wet day that had started reasonably well, but by the time I was able to escape, had descended into grey intemperance. I headed out to Chasewater and found the water level still rising, but the place was largely deserted and the lake very choppy indeed. This place was hostile today.
The only bright thing here was the gorse, which is strongly in flower all around the park. Such vivid, bright yellow. A real joy.
January 31st – Returning via Chasewater, the wind was building up and conditions were choppy. In many ways, the country park is at it’s best on days like this as you realise just how harsh such a wide open space can be.
I noted that the reservoir is about 150-180mm off full now (6-7 inches). This is interesting, as the reservoir hasn’t overtopped for a couple of years now, and it’ll be interesting to see if it’s allowed to again. One thing is for certain, though: the capacity used up by local brooks and natural drains filling up the reservoir has certainly relieved pressure on the Rivers Tame and Trent, which would have taken the burden had Chasewater overflowed – perhaps this demonstrates the sense of going into winter with a relatively low level.
The valves are currently still close and I watch with interest.