walsall wood

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June 3rd - I found myself riding home through Walsall Wood and on through Brownhills in a gorgeous golden hour. The coos of Jockey Meadows were waiting at the gate, and keen to investigate me as I stopped to take their picture. 

On the canal, the greens are still magnificent, and something about the light and water interacted and made the evening precious.

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July 27th - After a good couple of weeks trying to catch them at the gate, the Jockey Meadows coos were finally not too busy to meet me this evening. 

They’ve been released here much later than usual this year, and the meadow is clearly full of tasty stuff as whilst I’ve seen the odd bovine rump above the scrub, they’ve not been loafing much hear the road at all, and have seemed very busy in their work: that of maintaining the meadow by eating the fast growing plants, churning the soil and improving it’s fertility.

I love cows and tonight, they seemed to be convening a union meeting. There are more of them this year, I counted 12 I think, whereas they normally number around 8. It was notable, however, that whilst I was interesting enough to stare at quizzically, I wasn’t interesting enough to expend any effort in walking over to investigate.

It’s good to see these lads back and I look forward to meting them again soon…

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August 8th - I passed the Jockey Meadows coos in poor light and soft rain as I cycled home. They were near mostly near the gate having a project meeting and I felt sad for them in the wet, although that was utterly daft, as they don’t appear to care about, or even notice the weather.

They are doing a good job and the meadow is visible freer of scrub and tall grass now, and I guess soon the lads will move on.

Although one must always treat cattle with respect, I do love these gentle, inquisitive and sociable animals. 

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June 19th - Spotted in appallingly bad light way off near the back of the bean field at Jockey Meadows, I noted this small herd of red dear, three females and two of this year’s fawns. I was pleased to see them as I haven’t seen deer up here recently.

They were skittish, and probably displaced by the recent arrival of the cows. But they looked healthy and content and it’s good to see the little ones thriving.

Still can’t get over the fact that I see these magnificent beasts on my way to and from work. How lucky we are to have this on our doorsteps.

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April 28th - There are a couple of unsung hedgerow stars at the moment. For everyone else, right now it seems to be about oilseed rape, bluebells, and cherry blossom. But look around. Pretty much everything is having a great year so far. The dandelions - the yellow, beautifully delicate yet ubiquitous wildflower - are really, really prolific. The apple blossom too is astonishing in its density and clarity.

It might be about the spring classics right now, but look beyond them and there’s a whole host of other stuff just trying to get your attention.

These were all on a very short section of canal bank in Walsall Wood.

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June 25th - As the summer winds on, the next stage of the season begins; moving from the flowering, to the fruiting and seeding. In Walsall Wood’s Green Lane, there’s a patch of comfrey that’s going to seed, and I was intrigued by the way it forms from the flowers, another almost prehistoric-looking plant. Intertwined with it, the white bloom of mid and late summer, bindweed.

Soon, blackberries will be forming on the brambles, and there will be hips, haws and berries ripening aplenty, and time for a new palette of colours; but at the moment we’re passing from the purple into the white for a while.

The advancing summer makes me a little sad, but the weather is fine ad warm, and everything looks splendid. I’m in my element, to be honest.

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March 6th - Bloody hell Bob, not crocuses again!

Yes, crocuses. After the months of riding in dark, damp and cold, the brightness of the first spring flowers to me is magical, enchanting, life-affirming and beautiful. Like a hot shower after a long sleep, it’s awakening and you could enjoy it forever.

These are in Walsall Wood High Street, and remain, as every year I see them, a credit to those who planted them.

Thank you.

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January 29th - I love goats, and it seems we have a local herd now. In the field by Jockey Meadows in which I saw Mr. Fox in last week, I’ve been noticing the goats for a couple of weeks, but they’ve never been close enough for a good photo. Today, they were trying to get through the hedge at Green Lane. It seems there are seven adults and four or five kids, with a rather impressive ram. 

I have no idea who owns them, and I think they go wandering of their own accord sometimes; but on a grey, cold January morning seeing those little kids frolicking, jumping and having high jinks was a joy to the soul.

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July 21st - The lads are still working hard in a field further up Green Lane. The small herd of cattle continue to live in the watermeadow, which is looking noticeably more cropped than it was. The cows themselves are all looking in fine fettle - but I do have a soft spot for the brown and white one.

Is it me, or does he seem to be smiling?