Just a note here of thanks to Brian Stringer and pals at Back the Track who are still beavering away converting the old South Staffordshire Railway track bed through Brownhills into a wonderful cycling and walking greenway for us all to enjoy.
Since commencing work on the boggy, rubbish-filled cutting 2 years ago, the route is now perfectly traversable from Pelsall to Newtown Bridge, Brownhills where the end of the trail is easily accessible by a set of steps and track just off the footpath on the Burntwood side of the junction.
It’s a work in progress, and still muddy in places – but incredibly dry most of the way considering the awfully wet autumn and winter we’ve had. Mud and water in a cutting are to be expected, and the folks at Back the Track have come up with a variety of neat solutions to deal with the pre-extant drainage into the trackbed, including a new, easy riding and welcome boardwalk over the worst bit.
Where there is mud, it’s only 2-3 inches deep on top of a ballast base so rides easy once you sink in.
I rode from The Swan to Newtown at twilight, and I saw deer, foxes, birds and other wildlife, and the track was pretty smooth, perceptibly downhill and quite fast in places. It really is a fine thing.My thanks to all who have worked on this. Last week I pointed out on my 365daysofbiking journal that there was a new set of steps for access from Bullows Road by T&S – with a handy-dandy bike wheeling channel to easily get your steed up the bank.
There’s talk too of a new access being constructed soon between the cutting and the canal where it crosses via the listed Victorian aqueduct at Newtown.
You can find out more about the Back the Track project on the website here and their Facebook page here – there’s also a Friends of the McLean Way Facebook page here. In case you’re wondering, the way is named after John Robinson McClean, local engineer and pretty nice Victorian bloke who did so much in the area during the industrial revolution.
For those that say you can never have too much of a good thing here is the complete transmission of the Chris Halpen item for ITV Central. A very good interview with members of the Back The Track group showing the excellent work they have done over what was actually only 11 months.
Posted by Back The Track on Friday, 5 October 2018
I’ve covered the work of this great bunch of folk before – Brian Stringer and pals started in 2017 to clear out the old railway cutting under the miner island in Brownhills and convert it into a cycling and walking route for all.
Since then, the route has been cleared from the back of the Swan pub to the Smithys Forge, is absolutely beautiful and is a great asset to the community. Central News have been to see what these dedicated volunteers have been up to.
Back the Track is a wonderful project and Brownhills should be very grateful to the volunteers and all who have worked hard to make this dream a reality.