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Monday, 26 August 2013

Rural Idyll.

The rock music from the pub 200yds away was loud but actually wasn't bad at all. I'm glad I wasn't in front of the speakers through. We thanked the Landlady as we passed this morning. As we set off we saw two herons squabbling in flight and then straight  after my first little grebe. What a place to see them. It is obvious that there is not much traffic on these canals as the ducks fly off when they see us coming. On the other canals they flock to the side as you pass to see if they get any bread or stuff!

Not the world's best photo but I thought it was interesting that the Walsall Top Lock had won a National 3rd Prize for best kept lock in 2006. I don't think anybody would even enter it now. Which is a shame as it would be a great place as the rings from tethering horses are still at the wall.

This is the worst we have had the canal so far it is all lillies. I did have to stop and clear the weed hatch today as we had picked up a bit of wire but it was soon gone.

Despite dire warnings of a passage through Goscote it was pretty good all the way. There was a section where there were loads of pigeon lofts but there was loads of green spaces that had been left when heavy industry had gone. There are some great names around too. New Invention, Coal Pool, Triangle, Clay Hanger, Hill Top and Pleck!

View to the East from the Wyrley and Essington Canal near Goscote.

Pelsall Works Bridge built by the Horseley Coal and Iron Co. in 1824. Not bad nick for nearly 200 years old.

Just past the bridge we turned left at Pelsall Junction onto the Cannock Extension Canal. This canal went all the way to Hednesford at the foot of Cannock Chase to access the coal mines there. It was built in 1863. In the hey day about 50 boats a day would meet at the junction and as so many were on the arm at a time the water level would be lifted by about 6"! Subsidence closed the top end and the canal ends now at Norton Canes just at Watling Street. We went right to the end and then found a lovely mooring on the way back.

One of two basin arms that were once the Brownhills Grove Colliery loading moorings and now make a nice quiet spot.

After lunch I headed off to find some blackberries and Helen got stuck into a book. I walked on to Pelsall Common that was the site of an iron and spelter works. There is a area of heather heath so I should think that it is a valuable habitat.


Pelsall Common heather heath.

I came back with 4lb of brambles and relatively few scratches. On the way back I saw the biggest fish ever in the canal it was very close to the bank and must have been close to 2' long. I assume it was a carp.

The lily pad was about 5" across to give some scale. Not the best picture but hopefully you will understand why I was so impressed.

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