Walsall Wood slay Shepshed


Oak Park – witness to a hard battle last Tuesday evening..

On Tuesday evening last (21st March 2017), Walsall Wood FC faced Shepshed Dynamo at home, and the Woodmen proved themselves  superior to the visitors in what proved to be a tight, hard fought match, resulting in Wood’s first win in a long time.

Bill Shaw submitted the following match report:

Hiya Bob,

To the tune of the Brenda Lee hit of the 60s As Usual, I’ve changed the words a little bit to read ‘The Wood have won a match again – Unusual.’

It was a game full of tension, not helped by the 90 minutes of almost constant foul mouthed abuse aimed mainly at the match officials that came from the away team dugout. Throw in that Shepshed don’t know how to lose and you can imagine how the tension ratchetted up notch by notch, culminating in those interminable last four minutes of injury time – believe it or not I’ve still got nails left.

 As for the Wood, it would be unfair to single out any one player, there were 12 heroes out there who thoroughly deserved their first win in 80 days – strewth, Jules Verne’s hero got round the World in that time.

It’s no time to relax though as there’s still a lot to play for between now and April 29th, but this was a start and we build from here, take a bow everyone, you certainly earned it…

Walsall Wood 1 v 0 Shepshed Dynamo

A 17th minute strike from Richard Gregory was enough to give Wood their first victory of 2017 on a night of high tension, as the win moved them up to 13th place on goal difference over Quorn and Shawbury United all on 41 points.

It was the visitors who threatened first, a move through the centre ending with Liam Hurst firing a first time effort into the side netting on three minutes. Five minutes later a misplaced clearance by under pressure Wood keeper Adam Jenkins found Joel Carta 30 yards out, his first time drive pushed away by Jenkins at full stretch.  Matt Gardner first to the loose ball but under pressure from Sam Brooks he hit a first time effort just wide.

Wood started to settle down with some neat approach play but unable to make the final ball count.  That all changed however when on 17 minutes Drew Aiton won the ball on halfway before releasing Michael Williams wide right, his ball into the box found debutant James Spray, his low cross met by Richard Gregory to score with a powerful drive. On 31 minutes a ball out to the right by Joey Butlin was flicked on by Spray with an exquisite acrobatic ball inside to Aiton, who ran on and his low drive was pushed away at full stretch by keeper Dan Farrall.

Both sides huffed and puffed for the next 15 minutes but play was kept to about 30 yards each side of the halfway line as defences reigned supreme.

A minute into the second half a sweeping Wood move right of centre ended with a low drive from Spray bringing a full length save from Farrall. On 63 minutes a Williams right wing cross was headed out to Aiton to fire a first time effort wide.

The visitors first effort on goal in the second half came on 70 minutes, Josh Morrall racing onto a ball left of centre, his shot looped up off a defender and over the bar. From the corner Wood couldn’t get the ball away, defenders bravely blocking three attempts on goal with Kamikaze challenges before finally getting the ball clear.

Four minutes later a free kick for Wood just right of the D was fired in by Butlin, Farrall with a great save to deny Wood a second goal.

Then on 76 minutes a right wing free kick found Gardner in space, his low drive pushed around his right hand post by Jenkins at full stretch. From the corner it was Gardner again powering in a header that was headed off the line by Rikki Bains.

With the first win of 2017 in their sights Wood went into their shell, defending deeper and deeper as the visitors cranked up the pressure but couldn’t find a way through what was now virtually a ten man defence.  The tension was almost touchable and when the referee intimated there was four minutes of injury time the Wood faithful went quieter and quieter, letting out a roar of relief at the final whistle as they recorded the first win of 2017.

No star of the show tonight, just 12 heroes giving manager Harry Harris everything. Last night was only a battle, the war goes on, they aren’t safe yet but this result certainly lifted some of the storm clouds, for a few days at least, but it all starts again on Saturday at Coleshill Town.

Bill Shaw.

The Teams:

Walsall Wood – Jenkins, Williams, Adams, Bains, Brooks, Wood, Aiton, Juxon, Butlin (captain), Spray, Gregory, Molesworth, Taylor Boyce, Mansell, Deakin, Ricketts.

Shepshed Dynamo – Farrall, Adam Hohn, Morrall, Pheasant, Betts (captain), Miveld, Carta, Hurst, Woolley, Gardner, Read, Goddard, Dunn, Andrews, Pole, Andy Hohn.

My thanks to Bill for a great report – and for all those he selflessly writes and send to me after every match. They really are popular, and a credit to Bill and the club. Walsall Wood have a reputation for being a great, community spirited group of people and these reports demonstrate that – it’s an honour and joy to feature them here.

For the good of the Wood!

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Stationary travellers

The site causing controversy. Image from Google Earth, annotated by me.

There is a good deal of concern at the moment in Brownhills West about a planning consultation currently being undertaken by Cannock Chase District Council, regarding many aspects of local development, but in this case about future provision for Gypsy, traveller and show people sites in the Cannock Chase Council area.

The process being undertaken is consultation for formulation of the Council’s Local Plan which has to be created by law, and all local councils are undertaking consultations for various aspects of it. This process, which will take years, has previously caused concern at Shire Oak and Sandhills, when Walsall Council’s version of the document was being consulted on.

A local plan gives a framework around which future planning applications will be considered, and does not confer any development rights whatsoever, as any development at all will still need to go through normal planning procedures after that. All the plan does is create a list of sites where various developments might be suitable in years to come.

As part of the compilation process, anyone can suggest any site (whether they own it or not) for any of the categories – regardless of suitability or otherwise. However controversial the suggestion may be, by law the council preparing the plan has to consider it.

With this in mind, land north of the end of Albutts Road in an area known as Commonside which lies in the Cannock Chase District Council area has been suggested by owners Wyrley estates as  a suitable site to move an existing traveller family from elsewhere on their land.

The proposed site at Common Side is the blue hatched area on the map. Image grabbed from Cannock Chase District Council documentation.

The council have not suggested this, it is purely an opportunistic request from the owners of the site to delist it from Greenbelt so they might eventually be able to put in an application to create the site.

The site suggestion listed in the consultation document. Note the ‘no planning permission’ point. Click for a larger version. From a document published by Cannock Chase District Council.

You have an opportunity to object in the first instance by Monday, 27th March 2017 – send an email with your comments to planningpolicy@cannockchasedc.gov.uk or see this web page here for other options.

A list of frequently asked questions and other information about this process can be read in this document here (I’ve converted it from Office format to PDF for ease of use).

My opinion is that this site suggestion is unlikely to go anywahere as the end result is not increased provision for travellers, just existing capacity moved round. So strategically, it’s bollocks. The council would end up parting with money to not increase provision, just shuffle it, and the only gain would be for the landowner.

There are a number of issues with the site environmentally, too: Being next to the M6 Toll and Service Area, it will be noisy and air pollution high, a fact that’s defeated other such proposals elsewhere in the past, like this one near Barracks Lane in Brownhills rejected by Lichfield District Council a couple of years ago.

Parts of the land north of Albutts Road that lie in Walsall Borough have also been notified for wildlife habitat as a Site of Local Importance to Nature Conservation, and the road access is  very poor.

This is not a planning application and none has been made, contrary to circulating flyers on the matter. Any such application, if made at all, is a very, very long way off.

Scaremongering about this will not help, and will just serve to frighten people. Arm yourself with the facts, object if you want to, and follow the process.

Cannock Chase District Council are at the inviting comment stage at the moment. If you feel strongly about this suggestion, do comment. They are inviting your feedback, and it will count. 

If this site goes into the eventual allocation (several years away), a planning application *would still have to be submitted for the site* and it would be consulted on all over again. Even if it got that far, there are very good reasons I believe it would fail.

Councillor John Preece from Cannock Chase District Council said this:

The process is initially we have this consultation, Then the council will then assess the replies and submit an amended proposal which will then go to another consultation. The council will then draw up its final proposal, which will then go to a planning inspector who’ll make the final decision.

This decision will then go to cabinet and then a full council meeting for adoption.

From then that landowners are free to put a planning application in if – and it’s a big if – their land has been taken out of Greenbelt.

Petitions aren’t a useful tool to use at this stage as the council are looking for responses based on suitability to be kept in Greenbelt based against its criteria which is outlined on the website.

Take part in the process. Comment. Have your say. Remember, no Council are planning this site, it has been suggested to them – and there’s no cause for alarm yet.

Part of the problem is the lack of general understanding about Planning Frameworks in the public realm and combined with sensationalist journalism, the end result is fear.

On the matter of feedback to planning issues in general, petitions are a really, really bad idea. By all means take them, sign them but there is NO SUBSTITUTE FOR CONTACTING THE COUNCIL IN WRITING – and in your own words. Form letters are bad.

Write clearly and concisely, give valid reasoning, and try and be factual rather than emotional.

Remember that any action we take to object to something carries weight in proportion to the effort we make: if something takes seconds, like signing an online petition, it’s generally not worth much.

Don’t forget, you can mail your comments to planningpolicy@cannockchasedc.gov.uk before March 27th, 2017.

I will recap:

  • The flyer I have seen is plain wrong. There is no planning application. It’s a long way off from that.
  • The land is not the decaying park at the Wilkin end of Albutts Road, it’s at the end of opposite the farm by the toll road, beyond the track to Bettys Lane.
  • Cannock Chase DC/Cannock/Staffs are not ‘planning a traveller site’ – the suggested use has been put forward by the landowner, Wyrley Estates. By law, Cannock Chase Council has to consider it.
  • Writing to Walsall, Lichfield or Staffordshire Councils won’t do any harm but it won’t make any difference. They have no legal power to moderate the plan of another council.
  • Likewise, the odd belief in some quarters that Walsall Council would have to approve the setting up of a camp on Common Side because the only access is through Walsall is utterly specious. But neighbours would be properly consulted if any planning application was made.

I hope that helps clear some things up a bit – and do feel free to comment here or mail me on BrownhillsBob at googlemmil dot com, but feedback is better sent to Cannock Chase District Council here.

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There’s going to be a jailbreak…

Hey folks – you all know that here on the blog I’m very keen to support charities, particularly ones working so hard to combat cancer and support those enduring it’s effects.

As Phil Lynnot said, there’s going to be a jailbreak, somewhere in this town. Usually Phil, that’d be the jail, but this weekend, it’s at the University of east Anglia…

Today, I’m asking you to support local lad Nathan Le-Moine and his friend Georgia who are taking part in in the Livewire Jailbreak 2017 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, starting at midday this Friday, 24th March 2017, and running for 48 hours until noon on Sunday, 26th March 2017.

The Jailbreak sees teams sponsored to get as far away as the can from the University of East Anglia Students Union building in 48 hours, without spending any of their own cash.

You can check out the work the Teenage Cancer Trust do here – they’re wonderful.

Nathan is a great lad, a nature-head and is the son of old friend of the blog Julie Le-Moine. If the family could get that huge monster of a pram to Blackpool on a day trip, anything is possible – so please do sponsor Nathan and Georgia via their JustGiving page here – it’s safe and quick.

You can also check out Nathan and Georgia’s Facebook page for the event here.

Nathan and Georgia’s JustGiving page is here and says:

Image from JustGiving.

Hey guys!

We are taking part in Livewire Jailbreak 2017. We will be competing against other teams at UEA to get as far away from the Students’ Union building, in 48 hours, without spending any of our own money to raise as much money as possible for Teenage Cancer Trust (this could be interesting, we know…)

Every day, around seven young people aged between 13 and 24 get told the devastating news that they have cancer, and the Teenage Cancer Trust provide an amazing service to these people so that they don’t have to face cancer alone – this is why we have decided to take part this year.

We will be keeping you all updated with our efforts through facebook. The event starts at midday on Friday March 24th and finishes at midday on Sunday 26th March. Please give whatever you can, it all adds up and will be going to an amazing cause!

Thank you so much!
Much Love,

Nathan and Georgia

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Models at the museum – a great event happening this Sunday


Aston Manor Road Transport Museum events are always popular – and it’s only up the road in Aldridge. What’s not to love? Image from the AMRTM Facebook page.

I see from the events list that Aston Manor Road Transport Museum in Aldridge have a ‘Models at the Museum’ event this Sunday, 26th March 2017 -It starts at 10:00am and should be just the thing for modellers, transport enthusiasts, petrol heads and big kids of all kinds.

There will be loads of modellers stalls and layouts, live steam outside the museum, kids activities, films and all the usual goodies for all the family to enjoy.

Entry is a pocket pleasing £5 for adults, £2 for kids and just £13 for a family ticket.

There’s a free bus service operating all day between Walsall and the museum in Shenstone Drive.

While you’re there, you can check out all the great stuff in the collection, and talk to the volunteers, who’re doing a fine job.

This is sure to be a great event – please do pop along. The collection needs the support of the public to survive, and it really is a wonderful thing. The 2017 events schedule for the museum is any the foot of this post.

Why not check out the museum website or their Facebook group?

A great event for anyone who loves transport models.

A packed schedule at the museum for the 2017 season!

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where does the water go? Find out this Sunday!

Chasewater’s dam is a remarkable, and often overlooked piece of Georgian engineering. Image kindly supplied by Pete Hummings.

An interesting history walk is taking place this Sunday, 26th March 2017 at Chasewater, entitled ‘Where does the water go?’ which takes a look at how the dam infrastructure functions, and some of the industrial history of Anglesey Basin and surrounds.

Sunday 26th March 2017
Where does the water go?

Join the Rangers for a stroll along the Dam and learn about toes, spillways and valves. Look inside the odd shaped buildings, manholes and drains, and find out where the water goes, how the Reservoir works, and learn about Chasewater’s Industrial past.

Walk is approx. 1½ miles, meet at The Innovation Centre at 9.30am.

please pre book on 01543 370737
£2.50 per adult, children free.

The walk takes place from 9:30am – meet at the Innovation Centre. You are requested to pre-book by calling 01543 370737.

This looks like a fascinating event – if anyone attends, I’d love to hear what you learned. Comment here please or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Posted in Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, cycling, Environment, Events, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local Blogs, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Walsall community, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If you go down to Coppice Woods today…

I’ve been contacted by a few people lately who’ve been worried about the woodland management and scrub removal ongoing in Coppice Woods (formerly Goblins Wood) just off Green Lane, between Walsall Wood and Shelfield.

Over a period of weeks, workers have systematically cleared the holly and birch scrub, and cut back on some low tree growth, and the result, to anyone used to visiting, is quite a shock.

I understand the work – sanctioned by Natural England – is necessary for the long term health of the wood which is of great environmental importance to the area, being as it is the last trace of oak and holly woodland that once dominated the area. This is a habitat for many species, including owls and mustelids, and I know many locals, as I do, feel greatly protective towards it.

To put folks minds at rest, I contacted local nature expert and environmental wise owl Chaz Mason, whom I know wouldn’t support anything unnecessary in such an important habitat on his patch.

Chaz said:

The woods were becoming almost a monoculture of Holly with a substantial amount of rotting birch. I know that it looked like ‘Narnia’ but it was not a healthy or vibrant environment. The changes that have been made should allow for a much richer ground flora as well as increasing the diversity of insects and breeding birds.

All wildlife conservation is about management, if we don’t manage it, it will naturally progress to a climax vegetation. Brownhills Common is a perfect example. We should be supporting one of the rarest habitats in western Europe (lowland heath) but as there was no management after the fires in 76 it has been allowed to develop into scrub woodland and in places is already passing through the primary (birch/willow) stage and young Oaks are developing.

I am an old git and don’t like change myself and also understand that to people with only a casual interest in the eco-system, the removal of trees can appear to be heresy but the truth is that the more diverse a habitat is, the healthier it becomes so – for good or bad the work gets a ‘tick’ from me.

Thanks to Chaz for that – for more of this good sense, do bookmark his blog and read it regularly: nobody has more knowledge of Clayhanger Marsh and it’s environs than he does. And he’s a top bloke, too.

Chaz has recently expressed a very strong view on the abuse of Ryders Mere and Clayhanger Marsh by particular parties and I support him in this wholly: whilst I also support the riding school and the work it does, the environment we all share has to be respected.

For what it’s worth the work being done at Coppice Woods is of a very high standard and it’s nice to see the bug and small mammal habitats that have been made from cut brush on the ground. Also, when visiting yesterday, I noted a rookery on the eastern edge of the wood which I’ve not noticed before.

The wood will soon recover and will, I know, be improved in the long run.

Thanks to Chaz for his help, and I hope this alleviates some of the concerns readers have expressed. If you have anything to say, please do comment: either comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

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You were earnestly invited… in 1935

At last, I’m getting caught up: Over on 365days there’s just been a huge update (sorry about the lag, back to normal this week) and I’m working my way through the email mountain.

While I go get some other behind the scenes stuff done (hopefully involving cake of some kind), I have here another gem from Tony Portman via the wonderful David Evans: A Walsall Wood Parish Magazine – from October 1935.

Look at the names. Then the advertisements. Some wonderful memories there – adverts for two Chemist’s and a cycle shop. Ah, how wonderful would it be to have seen my beloved lanes as they were then, on one of those new steeds?

Also, note the sophistication of the typography, which I find surprising. Wonder who designed it? It’s very good quality.

Thanks, as ever, to Tony Portman for his continued and wonderful generosity, and to David, for all his hard work, without whom over the last couple of months I’d have been absolutely sunk.

Spot anything? Feel free to comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Fill your boots.

Click on any page for a larger version.

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