September 27th - Having visited the farm shop, returned via Weeford and Little Hay. Autumn is really kicking in now, and even on this very dull, overcast day, the colours were lovely. By the drainage lagoon at Thickbroom, you’d never realise you were less than 15 metres from the A38.

The rooftops of Weeford - John Wyatt’s exemplar village, built as an advertisement of his architectural prowess - still fascinate me. From the high cemetery near the community hall, the view is commanding and beautiful.

I noted that the land north of Park Lane, between Shenstone and Little Hay is now almost totally given over to free range pigs, snorting and rooting through the brown earth. They must outnumber local residents by a healthy number, and their produce - a quantity of which I’d just bought - is fine and tasty.

I couldn’t help thinking though that if they ever got together and rose up, we’d be under porcine rule within a matter of days… perhaps Animal Farm wasn’t a satire after all.


December 18th - the weather got progressively worse, and on my return I crossed the Alan Woollatt memorial bridge over the A38 at Thickbroom. I had to be back for an appointment, and it was raining steadily but I couldn’t resist long exposure photos of the rush hour.

Before this bridge was built - again, a side effect of the M6 Toll - I used to negotiate that road between here and the turning for Little Hay. It was murder.

Alan Woollatt was a great cyclist and a fine man who fought for this crossing. I think of him every time I use it, and gaze from safety at the traffic speeding beneath me.


November 24th - I enjoyed today’s ride more than I was expecting to. When I left home, it was cold and the air was murky. For some reason, the chill didn’t seem to get to me today - I just wrapped up warm and went for it. The leaves are beautiful now - this is the kind of scene I always expect in late October, but doesn’t seem to happen until later. I shot around Hilton, Wall Butts, Chesterfield, Shenstone, Weeford and Hints. From there, I dropped onto the canal at Hopwas and returned via Whittington and Wall. Between Weeford and Hints, I cycled Dog Lane, a green lane I try to ride at least once a year. The colours were great, and had this been a sunny afternoon, would have been stunning.

If you get chance this week, go for a walk in your nearest countryside, before the next big winds. It’s gorgeous.


Septeber 7th - Escaping late afternoon, the sky was dark, but the cloud broken. I’ve started exploring Hopwas Hayes Wood, and I aimed myself in that direction, through Shenstone and Little Hay, then up Knox’s Grave Lane. At Shenstone Park, the heavens opened for about 10 minutes, then the sun came out. The pattern continued, and at Weeford and Tamhorn, it resulted in fantastic rainbows. The warm sun was never far away, and Hopwas Hays Wood was fantastic, too. 

The only note of concern was the distinct chill in the air as evening fell. I don’t like that; it caressed like winter.

December 18th - a half day, and chance to nip on an errand to Whittington. The weather was horrid - drizzly, hot and very windy, so I wound my way through the backlanes of Shenstone and Weeford. Heading up Jerrys Lane, i stopped to look east over the A5 bypass to Tamworth. One of the few decent road projects to spin off the M6 Toll, it has cured the traffic issues on the nearby old A5 and A51 beautifully. 

I rode on this just before it opened, but never took any photos. I wished I had - the views from the brow of Rock Hill over Tamworth are extraordinary, particularly at night. But this road is more of a motorway than the M6 Toll, and I wouldn’t dream of cycling it now.


November 19th - A grim day, really. A pleasant but chilly 50 miler around Weeford, Whittington, Harlaston, Lullington and Coton-in-the-Elms, but the mist never lifted once. I also, for the second time in a week, forgot my trusty little camera, so had to really on a phone for photographic support. The day really was this grey, but Staffordshire was a gorgeous as ever; large houses at Shenstone and Thickbroom, near Little Hay always enthral for their wonderful architecture, and the view over John Wyatt’s model village of Weeford from the elevated cemetery always enthrals, however grim the conditions.


May 15th - Further into the same ride, I dropped through the lovely village of Weeford. It’s proximity to, and isolation caused by the nearby A38 puts many cyclists off coming this way. A new cycle & equestrian bridge and cycle route were constructed in 2005, yet few realise as it’s not on many maps yet. It really is a dream, and you never have to deal with the dreaded dual carriageway.