Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A walk down memory lane.


History of the old railway:

Smestow Valley Local Nature Reserve is part of the disused Oxley to Kingswinford line, originally owned by the Great Western Railway.

Tettenhall Station and Goods Shed, adjoin Smestow Valley.  The station was one of the last to be built by the GWR.  Construction began in 1913.

The station, though largely used for goods traffic, church outings and later, in the second world war, for the wartime ambulance trains.

This line only had a single track, which was used for both up and down traffic.

It was run as a passenger service for only 7 years, 1925 to 1932, and continued to run as a goods service until 24 June 1965 when it was closed following the Beeching Report.

The former trackbed and reserve runs parallel to the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. 

The canal is 74 km (46 miles) long, from Stourport-on-Severn and the River Severn to Great Haywood, where it joins the Trent and Mersey Canal. It was designed by James Brindley, and opened for traffic in 1772.

Smestow Valley extends from Oxley in the north, down to Castlecroft in the south.

We bought the reserve in sections, mainly during the 1970s.

By 1992 all the sections had been purchased, and was originally called Valley Park.

Valley Park was designated as Smestow Valley Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in April 1998 and is now a designated conservation area.

Smestow Valley is Wolverhampton's only nature reserve and is well used by local people for walking, cycling and the enjoyment of the natural environment.

Tettenhall station

Recent work to restore the Tettenhall Station buildings has created a room for use by small groups and other visiting parties and a base for the rangers and development of environmental outreach work.

The Station site is now fully accessible.  A new route for people in wheelchairs has been created so that some of the nature reserve is now fully accessible.

This project was financed by ERDF and ongoing work through 'Land Apprentice' team assembled by Black Country Groundwork, is helping to tackle some of the access and biodiversity issues along the valley and adjoining canal route.



It must be best part of 20yrs since I’ve been down this way and closer to 25 since I first found this place, things have changed and for once for the better despite never being too far from a road you rarely actually hear it. More than once I stopped to listen for traffic only to be greeted with birdsong and the drop of rain from the tree’s overhead to the puddles and foliage below.

Tettenhall Station:

Smest01  Smest02  Smest03


Someone has a sense of humour:



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1st Bridge and brook:

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Fond memories of this bridge across the canal, spent many a sunny afternoon sat on top of it drinking listening to music:

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Compton bridge:



Always time to stop and smell the flowers/ blossoms:



And onwards

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 Smest18 Smest19



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Badgers might be shy but this guy didn’t care:



Started to feel I should turn back I’d been walking for around an hour and didn’t really know where I was, although its hard (even for me) to get lost following a single track.

Smest25  Smest26


And then!

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Stopped for a coffee from my flask listened to the birds watched some horses galloping across a near by field then homeward bound:



A pleasant couple of hours, plenty of animal sign some of the fattest wood pigeons I’ve seen in a long while and a heck of a lot or memories.

I didn't realise just how close I'd come to one of our favourite country parks until I checked our route out on Google maps.

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