May 8th - The one blossom that’s always overlooked, but is actually beautiful is Elder; elderflowers of course make great wine and soft drinks,not to mention the berries but the blooms look pretty too, and smell divine - all the more welcome as often elder grows in margins, edgelands and waste ground otherwise considered ugly. 

Here on the cycleway at Goscote there’s a prolific and strong showing of the creamy white blossom which most be a good sign for the home-brew types this year too.


May 24th - One of the more strikingly beautiful wayside flowers that grow pretty much as weeds along the cycleways and towpaths is Hawkweed. Ranging in colour from yellow to crimson, these are gorgeous flowers that some would view as invasive.

I love to see these every summer, and the Goscote valley is lined with them. They are a joy to the heart.

July 23rd - in the Goscote Valley on my way to work, as the day started to warm up, I was drawn to a continual crackling sound. This always fascinates me; it’s the sound of gorse pods popping open with a snap, and scattering their seeds.

The action is induced by the warmth of the sun, and makes for an interesting diversion on the way to work. I love how the pods rattle musically when you shake the bushes, too.

It’s the little things that make summer, really.


August 6th - I’d been in Darlaston, and returned home via the cycleway down the Goscote Valley. Despite small areas of tipping and litter, it’s lovely at the moment; the pastures and wastelands are bright with willow herb, wort, convulvulus and budleia, and the Ford Brook has tall swathes of Himalayan balsam growing tall. It’s an unwelcome species, but it is gorgeous to look at.

All the way through Goscote I watched two buzzards wheel and soar on the warm breeze. You wouldn’t think this area could be so peaceful and beautiful.

Walsall still has the capacity to surprise.