Pictures from the Pelsall Festival of Water 2016


Oh no, looks like rain! Olivia the Owl goes to more local events than I do!

Despite a weather forecast that didn’t bode well, the first day of the three day Inland Waterways Association Festival of Water at Pelsall was pretty good when I called in, and the rain held off until the moment I left.

There’s loads to do, more boats than you could imagine, food, ale, entertainment and fun and games of all kinds – it’s fantastic thing to visit, and it’s free, to boot.

I shot the breeze with old mates, admired the narrowboats, stuffed my face and as usual, spent far too much on books and old maps.

My favourites, the Armitage Birds of Prey Centre were there with the rescue birds, and a local animal rescue (sorry, forget the name) had a rather wonderful skunk and a rather romantic pair of Bearded Dragons – but as ever, it was the characters who made it.


Who couldn’t adore this pair?

The event really brought back memories of the Pelsall Canal Festival which I hope returns once more – I love boat gatherings, and the ones at Pelsall, like the one at Huddlesford is always excellent.

The festival continues Sunday (28th August 2016) from 10am until 6pm, and Bank Holiday Monday (29th August 2016) from 10am until 4pm. I can recommend the curry mutton.

Thanks to all the organisers.

Posted in cycling, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, Local music, News, Panoramio photo discussions, Panoramio updates, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

See Walsall Wood FC battle Coleshill Town at home this afternoon!


Walsall Wood FC have a great reputation for entertaining football, and a keen, loyal and friendly bunch of supporters! Come join in the fun this Saturday and see some cracking football.

Saturday 27th August 2016

Walsall Wood v. Coleshill Town 

 Don’t break your Wood vows, be there, be faithful to your local heroes

3:00pm kickoff

Please come and get behind your local club

For The Good Of The Wood!

Hopefully match report to follow!

Check out the club website here

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

Beware: blue-green algae again found at Chasewater


The algae is a natural occurrence, but can be deadly for dogs and very unpleasant for humans. Photo taken 24th July 2016 at Chasewater, by me.

This is an important one for dog-walkers and users of Chasewater in general who may let dogs swim in the water – blue green algae has once more been found in the lake in the last few days after an earlier outbreak this year, and Staffordshire County Council yesterday (26th August 2016) issued a warning to park users.

While the naturally occurring algae is present, people are warned not to let their dogs swim in the water, and not to bathe there (although that’s never recommended) – signs have again been put up warning of the hazard.

Staffordshire County Council said:

Chasewater visitors advised on blue-green algae

Visitors to Chasewater are being advised not to take a dip or let their pets go in the water this Bank Holiday as a purely precautionary measure.

A small amount of suspected blue-green algae blooms have again appeared on the lake, and ecologists are asking people to follow advice on posters at the site while testing continues.

Blue-green algae is a common form of bacteria that occurs naturally in inland waters, estuaries and the sea. Blooms usually form in shallow water that is subject to strong sunlight, and are a blue/green colour.

If the blue-green blooms are swallowed, they can cause stomach upsets in humans and more serious illnesses in pets.

As the suspected algae blooms are only in small areas around the circumference of the lake, this means the sailing, water-skiing and Wakelake activities are unaffected.

County Councillor Gill Heath, Cabinet Member for the Environment said: “We have tested the water we suspect has blue-green algae blooms in it, but we won’t have these test results until sometime next week. Therefore, we think it’s best to let visitors to the site know we suspect its blue-green algae so they can take sensible precautions. It’s fairly common and tends to come and go itself, and we suspect the growth is likely just a natural result of the warmer weather we’ve had.

‘Chasewater is not a swimming lake and people shouldn’t be diving in for a swim at any time, but it does get popular on Bank Holidays when the weather is good. The algae will only cause upset if it is ingested, so we’re just advising people not to swim or let their pets swim in water where algae blooms obviously present.’

Chasewater rangers will continually be monitoring the situation, and signs will be taken down at the site once the all-clear is given.

The algae is a natural occurrence, common in outdoor waters at this time of year. The Environment Agency explains this organic growth:

Blue-green algae naturally occur in inland waters, estuaries and the sea. Blooms can form when their numbers become excessive.

There’s a wide range of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria). In fresh waters, they’re suspended within the water or attached to rocks and other surfaces. They include single- celled species and others whose cells are arranged in colonies and filaments. It’s difficult to see individual cells, colonies and filaments, but you usually can when they’re concentrated into clumps. These clumps can look like green flakes, greenish bundles or brownish dots.

Where high levels of phosphorus exist, and other requirements for growth are met – for example, adequate light, mixing, flow and temperature – then the numbers of blue- green algae can increase. Increased periods of growth are called blooms.

Blooms can have a negative effect on the appearance, quality and use of the water. It may become green, blue-green or greenish- brown and several species can produce musty, earthy or grassy odours. Blooms can also cause foaming on the shoreline – sometimes confused with sewage pollution.

During a bloom, the water also becomes less clear, blocking sunlight and stopping plants in the water from growing.

There’s nothing that can practically be done to counter this problem in the water, and caution is advised until the danger passes.

Blue-Green algae can be quite toxic to humans upon ingestion, and can be deadly to dogs. If your pet enjoys a swim, Chasewater should be avoided for the foreseeable future, and it’s definitely not good for human swimming (although it’s not for casual swimming at the best of times!)

If you suspect your dog has been made ill by algal poisoning, there’s a help guide here. for people concerned about wake boarding or other Chasewater based waterspouts, best contact the relevant club or operator for guidance.


There are lots of new ‘No swimming’ notices, but a few of the blue-green algae warning ones too. This one was on the life lifebelt post near the dam bridge and steps, a popular spot for dog swimming.

Posted in News | Tagged | Leave a comment

New Hall Mill open again this Bank Holiday Monday!


New Hall Mill is a splendid place, restored and run by wonderfully dedicated volunteers.

New Hall Mill near Sutton Coldfield is open again this Bank Holiday Monday (29th August 2016) and I can heartily recommend the place – It’s fascinating and I had a great time there on Spring Bank Holiday Monday 2015 – not enough people know about this wonderful building and the dedicated folk who look after it.

It’s free to enter too (although donations are welcomed). I should point out that dogs are not permitted (except assistance dogs), so probably best to leave Old Shep home…

Alan Dawson, Friend of the mill, wrote to tell me all about Sunday’s event:

Hi Bob,

The Friends of New Hall Mill are opening the mill to the public this coming Bank Holiday Monday (29th August 2016), a chance to see flour being produced from grain in the traditional way along with entertainment in the mill meadow

New Hall Water Mill is a fully restored 18th century mill which opens to the public on seven days each year. On open days the mill is operated by the Friends of the mill who produce flour and allow visitors to gain an insight into days past.

In addition, monthly changing events & displays will be undertaken in the mill meadow where you can go on a guided walk or enter our labyrinth, if so desired.

We attempt to cater for all interests and a full listing of events and entertainment can be seen on our Facebook page New Hall Mill  or on our website –


I totally geeked out over this wonderful place.

Displays & Demonstrations by:

– Street Organ
– Austin 7 car club
– West Midlands Wood Turners
– Against the Grain Wood Artist
– Walsall Spinners
– Sutton Coldfield Trinity Quilters
– ‘Time to write’ (writing equipment & B’ham pen display)
– Helens’ Handmade Crafts
– Erdington Historical society
– Beekeeper
– Steam Models
– Snuffles Hedgehog rescue
– Handmade Dolls

There is an exhibition room & gift shop and a small tearoom selling cakes and beverages along with a garden shop where produce may be purchased from the millers garden.

Entrance to the mill and car parking is free, collection boxes for donations are positioned at various locations. Donations from visitors are most welcome as the mill depends upon these to assist towards the costs of maintaining and running the mill for your pleasure and enjoyment.

The times of opening are 10.00 – 16.00 and this year’s remaining open days are as follows –

Bank holiday Monday August 29th
Sunday September 11th

Access to the mill is off Wylde Green road, Sutton Coldfield, B76 1QU, some 200 metres from National cycle route 534.

More details can be found on our website –

Best regards,
Alan Dawson – A friend of New Hall mill.

This is certainly one worth visiting – please do pop along if you can.  You can check out a gallery of my photos taken there last year below. I had a great time.

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

Coming soon: Community celebration street party at Brownhills Activity Centre!


A great community event from a wonderful team.

A bit of advance notice that next week, on Saturday 3rd September 2016, there will be a wonderful community street party at Brownhills Activity Centre (the old Annex) in Brownhills, just off the Miner Island, from 12 noon until 5pm.

The party is being organised by the Avenues Community Association to celebrate their huge success of their Dreams in Action team, who do so much for local youngsters, after the team won the Central Region Award of Britain has Spirit.

There will be food, activities, stalls, bouncy castle and performances – it looks like it’s going to be a great afternoon for all the family.

The Avenues Community Association had this to say:

This is the Celebration Street Party for The Avenues Community Association Charity – Dreams In Action Team, for winning the Central Region of Britain has Spirit.

All are welcome. It is being held at the Brownhills Community Association Building (Old Annexe School) Chester Road, Brownhills. By The Tin man Island.

There will be stalls and entertainment for the children.

We anticipate a visit from the Mayor and Newspaper Coverage to promote our endeavour to become National champions of Britain Has Spirit.

Members of the team will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about the Dreams In Action Activity.

If you wish to have a stall please contact our facebook page for more information. If you are a community group who would like to perform please contact our facebook page

You can visit the event Facebook page here.

Posted in News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Festival of Water comes to Pelsall – all this weekend!


Pelsall’s canal events have always been brilliant.

Those who remember the excellent Pelsall Canal Festivals will be pleased to note that this weekend, there’s a similar three day festival taking place on the canals and common around Norton Junction in Pelsall, featuring over a hundred boats, stalls, displays, fun and entertainment for all the family.

The event is free to attend for those not on a boat, and runs for the whole three day weekend.

You can take a look at a programme for the event by clicking here.

Christine Howles from the Lichfield and Hattherton Canal Restoration Trust, who are playing a big part in the event, had this to say, and a request for help:

The annual IWA Festival of Water is coming to Pelsall North Common this weekend. Over 100 boats will be moored alongside the Common on the Wyrley and Essington Canal. There will be a huge range of attractions including classic cars, historic narrowboats, birds of prey, drive a digger, water zorbing, a ride-on steam train, live music, dance displays, hula hoop workshops and much more. Plus of course there will be opportunities for visitors to get afloat on board trip boats and canoes and you can shop the craft stalls and visit the artisans trading from their boats.

Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust will have our usual show stand – so come and say hi!

We’ve also agreed to supervise the public car parking on site and would love some extra help. If you could spare a couple of hours on Saturday, Sunday or Monday please get in touch. There is no money or ticketing involved, only directing drivers along the route to the parking area. Please email:

For more info about the Festival of Water visit the event site here.


There will be well over 100 boats in attendance, and plenty to see and do.

IWA Festival of Water 2016 comes to Pelsall
Saturday 27th to Monday 29th August 2016

The annual Festival of Water is coming to Pelsall North Common, near Walsall over the August Bank Holiday Weekend. Over 100 boats will be moored alongside the Common on the Wyrley and Essington Canal and if you would like to join them book your boat in now for just £35 which includes all evening entertainment.

Campsite bookings are also available for £35 and pitches are open from Thursday 25th August from 2pm through to Tuesday 30th August at 12 noon.

Parking is free and so is entry on the day. There are a huge range of attractions including classic cars, historic narrowboats, birds of prey, drive a digger, water zorbing, a ride-on steam train, live music, dance displays, hula hoop workshops and much more. Plus of course there will be opportunities for visitors to get afloat on board trip boats and canoes and you can shop the craft stalls and visit the artisans trading from their boats.

There is plenty of food to choose from and of course a Beer Tent selling local real ales.

For more information please contact Ivor Caplan or phone 07778685764.

Reserve your spot

Complete the boat and campsite booking form now to make sure you are booked in and ready for the Festival.

General enquiries
07811 253 242

Trade enquiries

Get involved

Posted in Brownhills stuff, cycling, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Local History, Local media, Local music, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Social Media, Walsall community | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Badger cull at Oak Park

Photos and captions generously supplied by Simon Evans

Last Tuesday evening saw Walsall Wood FC entertain Brocton at Oak Park – hoping for payback for their away defeat a few matches ago.

The football and result didn’t disappoint, which came as a welcome relief to Bill Shaw after Saturday’s somewhat lacklustre performance.

Bill wrote:

Hiya Bob,

A revenge win over the Badgers that puts us top of the table, albeit for only 24 hours as Quorn and Westfields can go above us if they win tonight’s easy looking home games.

Swanny went for experience, bringing in new signings Richard Huckfield, Lee Parsons and Nick Wright who opened his Wood goalscoring account with a 25 yard deflected effort on the stroke of half time.

Louis Harris is in contention for a starting place on Saturday here against Coleshill Town but the luckless Ashley Jackson is looking at three months out. We are at Sporting Khalsa on Monday as we try to score against them after failing to do so in four and a half hours last season.

A far more confident performance last night but the next two games are a real test of how good we are, watch this space, you know I’ll give an honest appraisal whether it’s good or bad.

It was good to see an old friend of the Wood there last night as Mick Roseblade put in a welcome appearance.

Walsall Wood 3 v 1 Brocton

Wood gained revenge for the opening day defeat by the Badgers, two goals by Joey Butlin in the first 15 minutes put Wood in the driving seat but they let the visitors back into the game before Nick Wright opened his goal account for Wood right on half time.

Wood started confidently, after only three minutes Lewis Taylor Boyce swung a cross into the centre of the box, a scramble developed, the ball falling eventually to Nick Wright to fire a first time effort high and wide. The first goal came on 12 minutes, Luke Adams marauding down the Wood right, his far post cross fired into the roof of the net by Joey Butlin. They combined again 3 minutes later, Adams again racing clear wide right crossing into the centre to find Butlin who calmly brought the ball down 10 yards out and under no pressure fired home past the exposed Aiden Stone in the Badgers goal.

Wood then retreated into their shell and on 25 minutes were nearly made to pay when visiting skipper Dan Lomas powered into the left of the Wood box, his vicious low cross shot well held by keeper Curtis Pond. On 34 minutes a ball over the top of the Wood defence saw Pond race from his area to kick clear from David Berks. It was Berks who reduced the deficit seven minutes later, Michael Williams crossed from wide on the right, the striker reading the ball perfectly to run past Wood defenders and tap the ball home.

Wood restored their two goal advantage right on the stroke of half time, a right wing corner was half cleared to Nick Wright 25 yards out, his thunderous first time effort deflecting off a defender and flying into the net.

Five minutes into the second half Butlin was fouled as he ran through right of centre, the free kick delivered beyond the left hand post, Richard Huckfields header back across goal going harmlessly wide.

On 59 minutes Jack Edwards raced through the Wood defence and from the right edge of the box hit a rising drive just too high.

Wood were content to keep the game low key but went to sleep on halfway after 70 minutes, Dominic Green intercepting a sloppy pass and racing for goal, Shawn Boothe saving Wood with a superb last ditch tackle.

The fright woke Wood up and a minute later substitute Corey Currithers cut in from the right before cleverly setting up Wright, he hit a rising drive that brought a brilliant full stretch save from Stone.

Close on time a Badgers left wing corner found its way to Lomas 25 yards out, his first time rising drive superbly saved by Pond at full stretch.

In the dying seconds a long ball forward was chased down by Currithers, Stone saved bravely at his feet but the ball ricocheted sideways to Currithers who ran on to fire into an empty net, the ball hitting the inside of the right hand post and staying out.

Wood two-nil

 ahead after 15 minutes relaxed instead of pressing home their advantage and almost paid the price, but Nick Wrights deflected goal right on halftime settle their nerves and they comfortably held the Badgers in the second half.

It’s another banana skin at home on Saturday with Coleshill Town the visitors before Bank Holiday Monday sees them at the Aspray Arena against Sporting Khalsa.

Bill Shaw

The Teams:

Walsall Wood – Pond, Adams, Deakin, Boothe, Huckfield, Parsons, Williams, H. Harris (c), Butlin, Wright, Taylor Boyce, Hayles, Birch, Aiton, Currithers, Edwards.

Brocton – Stone, Williams, Wilson, Taylor, Flowers, Davis, Edwards, Jones, Berks, Wilson, Lomas (c), Green, Devoir, Head.

Thanks to Bill for the report, as ever. Onwards and upwards!

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