Keeping The 'McClean Way' A Greenway
Ryecroft To Brownhills/A5 Section

 (and to Lichfield as soon as we can start clearing it)

Please show your support by emailing us at

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Map of Track

Click on the RED hotspots and then on the photos to go back.
The photos show the track before we started in October 2017 and now
updated with access information August 2021

Click HERE to download a pdf file of the access points.

"What is a Greenway?"
"A greenway is a corridor of undeveloped land, reserved for recreational use and environmental conservation"

For a long time we felt the disused railway between Walsall and Lichfield should have a name like many other well known routes around the country and so we are really pleased to be told officially we can now call it "McClean Way" with this logo as a suggested way marker.
We'd like to acknowledge John Robinson McClean, a pioneer who was so instrumental
in establishing both the South Staffordshire Railway Co. and the South Staffordshire Waterworks Co.
( Thank you to Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society for the above link)
      McClean and Family
J R McClean, wife Anna M Newsam and their eldest daughter Mary Hall (Minnie) McClean
( Thanks to McClean's relative Nicky Hibbin for the photograph and Paul Baker for enhancing it)
Just to say a very big "Thank You" to all our sponsors.
  Wilko's Tesco B&M
  Smithy's Forge Brownhills CC Abcell
  Veolia Brownhills Peoples  Alliance
  Holland Park Co-op Rhini
  Spar Quattro
  Ramblers Sign Comm
Carnival Enovert Hickman
Scentsy Park That Bike GreenerGardens
  One Stop   Railway Inn   3JServices
Our Appearances on the Radio and Television

Letitia George from Radio WM popped along to visit us. Listen to the programme broadcast on 24/05/2022

For those who may have missed our TV appearance back in October 2018 here is a reminder.

 News Banner
    FEBRUARY 2024

Lichfield Live
   Welcoming  David Frost, the Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midland Lieutenancy.

Lichfield Live
Installing Mike's bench over looking Clayhanger SSSI
Lichfield Live
 Meeting up with colleagues from SUSTRANS to discuss progress on the track upgarde


Lichfield Live
Fantastic news we can now officially share, Lichfield here we come. Click HERE to read it.

Thank you to One Stop for their generous donation of a hamper of seasonal goodies.

The BTT Christmas meal at The Crown enjoyed by all.
Barry has constructed a memorial bench for Jeff which is installed in the the fairy glade.
We were very sorry to have to report the passing of Jeff, a founder member of BTT.
He was always happy and cheerful and will be very much missed.


We are pleased to announce The plans for the proposed upgrade have now been made public.















Spool table
Our latest 'spool table installed in the fairy glade.
The tracks have had a good weeding.
Simon has contacted us to say his totem is now on display in Malaysia.


WEndy Morton
Wendy Morton MP with Barry trying out his latest bench in the 'Fairy Glade'
We gave her a totem which she promises will be on display in her office in The Houses of Parliament.

Martyn Emma
Meeting up with Martyn and Emma from SUSTRANS to discuss possible future developments.

Spool Table
Installing another of our 'spool' tables with a great view over Clayhanger marshes

Simon Angie Marcus
Meeting up with Simon from Malaysia and Angie and Marcus from Germany to present a totem.

JULY 2023

Barry on His Bench
Barry sitting back on the bench he made to thank 'Brownhills Local Committee' for their ongoing support.

Our stall at the Sandfields Pumping Station open day to celebrate 150 years of the Cornish beam engine.
We look forward to the day, hopefully not too far away, when the McClean Way will reach their door.
JUNE 2023

Rob, Barry and Martyn came along to give the verges a good trim.

MAY 2023
Phoenix Walking
Rugeley Phoenix Walking Club, one of the many groups who use the track regularly, in all weathers.

Guy working hard, as always, to uncover more concrete channeling we use for drainage.

APRIL 2023
Doug Pullen
This article appear in the 'Citylife in Lichfield' magazine recently and last night BTT (17/04/2023) had a meeting with Doug to get an update. He is realistically optimistic hoping that if things go to plan we could be on the track from the A5 to Lichfield in the later half of the year. If this comes about it will stretch BTT's resources so we would be looking for more volunteers, especially from the Lichfield end. If you would like to help just drop us an email to and we will contact you when the time comes.

MARCH 2023

The letter currently being sent to all residents bordering the track prior to applying for  planning permission.

 Meeting with Martyn from SUSTRANS to be given the good news about the future upgrade if all goes to plan.

A commemorative bolt for a rail chair presented to past Chairman
Brian Stringer for all his sterling work since the inception of BTT.


Martyn and Rob
Thanks to Martyn and Rob who came over to fix the broken step and missing handrail.

Barry enjoying the new bench we have installed looking out over Ryders Hayes Mere.

As the year draws to a close we were 'chuffed' to find we were included in inspiring volunteering stories in the UK in 2022.
Happy Christmas

Wintry Scene
The signal looking good on a cold bright December day.

Clearing leaves off the track on a wintry morning. 
Meal at the Crown
We had an early Christmas Meal at The Crown on the 5th which was enjoyed by all.


From the November edition of Lichfield City Life magazine. They are hoping to complete within six months.


It has been 5 years first started working on the track on the 22nd October 2017

Good to welcome the Phoenix walking group from Rugeley

Another gradient marker going in.
All the work to drain the track and seed it is really beginning to pay off.


Our new route map at Station Road, Pelsall, the second of several we hope to will install along the track

Our newly installed route map in Pelsall already attraction attention.
JULY 2022
Barry installing the first of several replacement gradient markers.
Pleased to welcome MP Wendy Morton (Rail Minister) to look at progress and see our new route map.

JUNE 2022

Nice to see we get a mention on the new information boards by Mill Lane nature reserve.
MAY 2022 
Letitia George
We were pleased to welcome Letitia George, presenter of the midday show on Radio WM, onto the track. She certainly seemed impressed with what she saw.
We would like to congratulate Martyn Brunt, Land Manager for the track owners SUSTRANS and Railway Paths Ltd as he is now a European Cycling Federation (ECF) qualified route inspector, which is about the highest qualification he can get in his chosen profession.

APRIL 2022

While working on tidying up the sign we chatted to Victor who was cycling from France to Scotland.

MARCH 2022

Repaired Steps
After a call out about the steps being broken Barry and Colin got busy and made a excellent repair.
Platelayers Hut
Excavating the platelayers hut south of Heath End Bridge

Spring has arrived on the track.
Boardwalk 2
The drainage channels are working really well as we uncover more each work day.
Boardwalk 2
Thanks to Resilient Communities and C&G for helping us get a bin at Station Road, Rushall



Boardwalk 2
Work continues to raise the track above the water level using ballast left behind when the track was lifted.

 Boardwalk 2
Removing the temporary boardwalk and replacing it with ballast, a real improvement.


Resurfacing work by Ryecroft Cemetery at the southern end of the McClean Way (point A on the map)

The installation of the first information board (point R on the map)

The Mclean Way is four years old!


It's hard to believe so much has happened in the last four years since the 22nd October 2017 when we got our first skip

 Click on the photo for fantastic news from the Lichfield end. 
Drainage is now the number one priority with the winter approaching and we are winning.

Andy Map
A circular 5.6 mile route thanks to Andy.

Andy Map
A circular 12.5 mile route thanks to Andy.
Milleniuum Milepost
Looking better with a coat of paint.
JUNE 2021
Milepost Moved
The Millenium Milepost, installed in the wrong place in 2002, has now been moved to a better home on Bullows Road Bridge thanks to Martyn from SUSTRANS. Although it's not on part of NCN5 it wasn't before!

MAY 2021

This sounds like really good news, fingers crossed.

Planting to enhance the platform at Brownhills Station.

Hard at work repairing the boardwalk.
APRIL 2021
Time Team
William in 'Time Team' mode uncovering the station remains at Brownhills.

MARCH 2021
The results from fly tipping on the embankment

 After a litter pick to Rushall
 We continue to 'exercise' as one plus one at a social distance leaf clearing, litter picking, cutting back overgrown vegetation and clearing the drainage channels. We are heartened to see how many users there are on the track and all with positive comments.
Lichfield Live
WMBC are making a bid for funding money in order to improve the section of path between the end of the McClean Way at Ryecroft Cemetery (1) and Mill Lane (2) If you have been along here you'll know how bad it is especially in the wet. What WMBC needs to do is show strong community support for this and all you need to do is like this comment on Facebook or Twitter We know we can count on you as in the past. The deadline is almost on us so time is of the essence.


Lichfield Live



With the current situation regarding COVID we are very much restricted as to what we can do so for the moment we will be following the SUSTRANS guidance as individuals or as one + one socially distanced.

Route and signage checks - reporting on any issues.
Small litter picks - collecting only as much as you can safely carry and dispose of at home.
Use a litter picker and your own carrier bags to collect the litter, do NOT use your hands.
(In Walsall you can leave a bag of rubbish by any council bin and they say it will be picked up)
Vegetation snip backs- focusing on light vegetation e.g. with secateurs.
Temporary signage updates- there may be restrictions on signage orders due to office closures.
Graffiti removal.
Wildlife monitoring

Hopefully with the vaccine roll out things can get back to 'normal' soon.

In the meantime feel free to use it to 'exercise locally' although wellies are probably best at the moment.


Be sure to let us know if anything is amiss at

On behalf of the BTT Team we would like to wish you all the best for the season.


Installing bench number 5 between Smithy's and the A5.

Scrapping of the mud and making drainage channels south of the signal.
Clearing out the drainage channels which seem to be working.

  Covid Sign
Due to the forthcoming lockdown restrictions we will have to curtail our workdays on the track. Rest assured you will find us there taking up the option to 'exercise' as individuals and if we just happen to have a litter picker or secateurs with us we so much the better. If you are out and about and want to litter pick feel free and please let us know if anything is amiss such as fallen branches, we'll still be watching out for all your comments. Stay safe, remember to social distance and hopefully we'll be back soon.

Three years Ago
*** Today is exactly three years since we filled our first skip (22nd October)  ***
Bench 4

Bench number 4 installed and tested by the aqueduct.
Bench 3 and Steps
Bench number 3 and steps now in place on the station platform.
(23/09/2020) Pelsall end before it got a trim.
(23/09/2020) Colin hard at work on the mower   
Looks like we have enough rail ties for several more bench backs!

Barry and Mike being inventive with some of the concrete ducting left lying around.

They hope to make many more planters like this.  

The Signal
A photo from H&A Bailey showing the track when it was used as access to the open cast mining (2006) 
Looking towards the A5 with the station on the right after levelling the track.

Digging new drainage channels towards Curlew Drive.

Carl at work removing the barrier that stopped the water draining away.

Levelling out the track following Carl.

Working on the drainage channels.


  Putting in the first of the four bike racks we were given.
The steps after some children thought it would be a good idea to make a slide!
JULY 2020
Cutting thegrass
Rob and Barry from SUSTRANS at work cutting back the verges.
Cutting thegrass

The track between Rushall and Pelsall after the mower went down.

JUNE 2020
Great News Update
 After a couple of months of enforced lockdown we have now been told by Railway Paths Ltd we can return as long as we are in small groups and still observe social distancing.
Railway Ramblings
We were pleased to see us as a news update in the Summer edition of 'Railway Ramblings'

We undertook a quick survey for a few hours on what turned out to be a dull and overcast Sunday during which time we counted nearly 350 users walking, cycling or on horseback.

MARCH 2020

Following current health advice we have, as several of us are now classed as 'vulnerable', reluctantly decided to suspend our group activities for the duration. We will now be 'Lone Rangers' keeping an eye on the track, litter picking, trimming back etc. Please keep using it.

Bullows Road Steps
Martyn officially opening the Bullows Road steps on behalf of Railway Paths Ltd. owners of the railway track. Also present on a very cold wet day was Dave the builder who has done a fantastic job, Steve and Dana from 'One Stop' and Beth from 'Clean and Green'
Norton Branch NCN5
As well as keeping the McClean Way maintained BTT have been helping out SUSTRANS in clearing back part of NCN5 which had lost half of its width.
   Thank you to Waitrose, Mere Green for including us in their green tokens scheme. Mick and Brian collecting the cheque from Sue.

Aqueduct Steps EandS
Express and Star report of the opening
Aqueduct Steps Opening
31/12/2020 The official opening by Wendy Morton MP

Aqueduct Steps
Andy posing in his Stretton Construction hi-vis
Aqueduct Steps
The steps from the towpath to the track bed have been started

Aqueduct Steps QR
  Look out for the QR Codes going up along the track

Brian and Barry with Artwork
Barry and Brian with the artwork by Smithy's showing north and south railway views in it's heyday

While work goes on at Brownhills the SUSTRAN section south of Pelsall has not been neglected

Barry and his bench
Barry had made this fantastic 'reversible' bench which is by the signal

    The temporary boardwalk is now in place between Smithy's and Curlew Drive

Pelsall Station
Clearing back from Station Road, Pelsall towards Ryders Hayes Lane


(23/12/19) The track after the team finished working towards Railswood Bridge, Pelsall
One Stop
(23/12/19) Meeting with staff from One Stop' who kindly donated the proceeds of their raffle
We were really sorry to say "Goodbye" to SUSTRANS ecologist Sim but before she went she gave us this award.  Thanks Sim we'll certainly miss you and hope you can find time to call in if you are over this way.

Steps at Bullows
Dave Watson at work building the steps and repairing the bridge at Bullows Road.

Fire Extinguishes
A nice haul from the undergrowth the other side of the Bullows Road bridge.
Leaf Blowing
What a difference the leaf blowers made.

The tractor hard at work cutting back the brambles between Pelsall and Rushall.

The Gang
For the first time a photo of all the gang including Martin and James from SUSTRANS.
Thanks to Chloe for 'PhotoShopping' Denis in as he was off running our taxi service!

The Gang
With Martin, James and Chloe from SUSTRANS looking at where we hope to start work on getting steps up to the canal towpath before Christmas. We also hope to paint this Grade 2 listed wrought iron aqueduct.

The Gang
An unexpected sight while clearing a section of NCN5 on an old mineral line.

Pelsall Cranival
Thank you to Pelsall Carnival Committee for including us in this years share of the proceeds. We were presented with a cheque for £100 by Page Boy, Kenzie. We'll use it to buy more bird and bat boxes.

NBarry and Sign
Barry braved Hurricane Lorenzo, strapped the ladder on tightly and installed out new sign.

John Morris
John Morris, Localities Manager (East) admiring our new gate signs.

Deer and Bat Boxes
  Sim, the SUSTRANS ecologist, joined us to help with our bat boxes and a few deer came for a look.

Raring to go
16/09/2019 A good turnout in spite of it being wet, lots of different jobs to do.
Waterways World )ctober 2019
The second magazine we appeared in this month.
(In case you are looking for it our donate button is at the top of this page - thank you)
Railway Ramblings
Martyn Arrowsmith's photo of our signal at sunset.

15/08/2019 The results of all the hard work with the scythe from Heath End to Rushall
15/08/2019 Denis and Molly supervising Bob with the scythe.

Showing Ian and Nisha the track as the M6Toll very generously gave us £1,500 towards a storage facility.

By Quattro
What a difference a few hours make clearing back by Quattro the path has reappeared.

JULY 2019
Ian Video
When Ian Henderson of 'Hendrone' asked if we would like video of the track we jumped at the chance to see it from a different angle. Click on the picture to go for a virtual flight along the McClean Way.
Tidy Up
On Sunday 14th July we are hoping to have a community workday to trim back encroaching vegetation so if anyone would like to take part we are meeting up at Smithys Forge at 10.30. If you are interested please bring tools like loppers, litter pickers, secateurs, hedge clippers, gloves, rakes and sturdy boots.
JUNE 2019
Bullows Road Bridge
FANTASTIC NEWS. We've just been told we have the funds from Veolia to repair Bullows Road Bridge plus build steps/cycle ramp up the side and it's all down to you and your expressions of support from the local community which swung it. We were told it was by far the most publicly supported application they had received and so a very big 'Thank You' to you, Veolia and Railway Paths Ltd for backing us.

We now have our powered scythe donated by the Co-op Community Fund.   

New Gates
Working on the 'new' gates by Smithy's Forge 

MAY 2019
After the ballast was levelled, now to see where the water goes!
Dumper Dumper
Dumper Dumper
07/05/19 We starting work on the muddy section by the Swan entrance. As we are not allowed to bring anything on to the track we are having to move existing piles of ballast around. Please bear with us while this takes place.
We would like to say a big 'Thank You' to the Midcounties Co-operative Community Fund who have awarded us £750 which will fully fund the cost of a self propelled powered scythe to help tackle the grass borders.
APRIL 2019
10/04/19 Tidy up the Vicarage Road Bridge before covering up the garffiti.

01/04/19 Looking towards the A5 with the track drying out, waiting for the leaves to appear. 

Signal at Sunset
Thank you to Martyn Arrowsmith for this stunning photo of the signal at sunset.

MARCH 2019

Enhancing the track
Not just extending but maintaining and enhancing with nearly 200 bulbs planted.

The 'McClean Way' signage going up along the track.

Rubbish to be collected between the canal aqueduct and the A5 Bridge.


Express and Star
We made the local papers again.
The Rails
Paul, Mick and Denis and a fantastic example of their hard work

Rails   Rials
Rails   Rails
Some before and after photos taken by the canal bridge.
A5 Bridge

Now we have had it confirmed that the stretch we look after ends just north of the A5 bridge (and not the canal as we originally thought) the team were out clearing under it plus filling the skip by Smithy's.


Thanks to a generous donation from Mike Rhodes we now have replica signs on the Vicarage Road bridge.
The team have been hard a work collecting rubbish and tyres towards the A5.

 Carl saved us hours of back breaking work up to Smithy's ready for the skip.

Now to start clearing the years of rubbish thrown onto the track to the north of Brownhills.

The canal bridge is in sight and easily accessible from Brownhills.

Brownhills Station
  Brownhills Station as it appeared in .....?
Due to the unauthorised removal of the posts at 'The Swan' end we have replaced them temporarily with something we hope will stop unwanted access but still allow walkers and cyclists to get through.

The Dam
Carl removing stumps to get to the dam.

The Dam
Working through the dam and to think we considered removing it by hand!
The Dam
Looking towards the A5 from the Brownhills direction at where the lake used to be.

Happy Christmas
Most of the BTT team are putting their feet up this week for a well deserved break but rest assured they will be back in action in 2019. If you are looking for somewhere to walk of the excesses of the festive season the McClean Way beckons.



"If you go down on the track today you're sure of a big surprise" Brian and Barry were on the Brownhills section of the McClean Way on Friday calculating how long it would take to put all the tyres in a pile to be collected when along came Nicola who asked if she could help? Well we thought we were going to get a team but what we got was Nev who with Nicola's help has got them all in one place in just two mornings! How far he must have walked and how much weight he must have carried we wouldn't like to calculate but it was a phenomenal task. So on behalf of BTT can we say a huge "Thank you" to you both but just wondering what's Brian going to do now?


We have contact with an artist who 'colourises' black and white photos and whose work has appeared in many national railway related magazines. Here is the result of one he did for us, a stunning image of "McClean"


The Signal
Barry hold the signal arm, Brian holding the crowning glory and the arm in place for all to admire.
Carl at work.

12/11/2018 Carl at work extending the drainage channel towards the A5

As part of a collaboration between BTT and Railway Paths Ltd (the land owners) we now have some excellent steps over the concrete barrier between Station Road and Ryders Hayes Lane, Pelsall.
Map of the Track
We are often asked about access points so here is a map to help.

On Tuesday 2nd we had a visit from Central TV who wanted to include us as an item in their 'Active Autumn' series. Click above to see the result. We think it does an excellent job of showing how far we've come since that first skip just under a year ago.
Brian in Hat

Action shot from Chris Halpen about to interview Brian who was looking very smart in his new hat.

Station Building
   Barry has been emulating 'Time Team' and has uncovered remains of the station building.
22/09/2018 Bending the channel round just passed the platform to join up with the existing drainage.

20/09/2018 Up bright and early to let Carl back onto the track under the miner to carry on the drainage channel. Unfortunately a rear tyre got a puncture but with everyone helping the tube was repaired and work recommenced in the pouring rain!


10/09/2019 We admit it, some of us may be gifted amateurs but we can't compete with the professionals. Yesterday Carl had dug as much trench in an hour and a half as we did in a whole day. Went down today and it shows it's working as we now have a flood where the trench ends at the moment. As soon as he's available we'll get Carl to carry on towards the A5 and the Cranebrook.


05/09/2018 Isn't it always the way, you start work on tackling the drainage problem and it pours down over night but it didn't stop the team cracking on and achieving 75 metres of trench at the end of the day. It started to fill from the word go and with a few more sessions we should reach the station.  
 AUGUST 2018  

Brilliant news and a huge 'Thank You' to everyone who voted for us in the TESCO 'Bags of Help' blue token scheme. We've now been told we came first but don't know how much yet. Rest assured, no matter how big or small the amount, every penny will be spent on making and maintaining the old railway track, the "McClean Way", as the fantastic community resource it is.

 Any Old Iron?
  Thanks to Donna and Paul donating a skip we started work on filling it with all the rubbish in the undergrowth. The junk was pulled out to the side of the track, a team of two with barrows collected it to take to the trailer which was then was emptied into the skip. What organisation.
JULY 2018
Tim man Island
Very interesting morning on Wednesday (25th) looking at the police drones on Tesco's car park in Brownhills. PC Chafe kindly sent us a shot of the miner. Looking at the 'McClean Way' you can certainly see why it is a Greenway.

Highbridge repair
  Denis met up with Andy from South Staffs Water yesterday. Andy had an electronic map where the 24" water main built by John Robinson McClean is shown even though it fell out of use about 1972. The position of the pipe through the station area is on the side of the doctors and then comes across towards B&M with a small section missing. Andy thought the water coming up between the bridges was more or less where the pipe was. We need to investigate further but interesting to speculate that a 165 year old pipe may still be carrying water albeit not to where it's wanted.

It was a red letter day today with our first informal 'walk through'
Grand Opening
Grand Opening
We were not sure how many people had seen Brian's comment about the path now being walkable but quite a few did and joined us on the track this morning when it was looking at it's best. We were very pleased that Wendy Morton managed to juggle her diary and fit us in before dashing off back to London.

Clean it up
Clean it up
The track, the 'McClean Way', is a safe and valuable environmental resource for schools to use and we were really pleased when Sim, the SUSTRANS ecologist, organised a session with a local school. They all had a great time apart from one thing, the amount of dog pooh in the grass. To try and remind owners of their responsibility to 'Clean it up' we were given a stencil by SUSTRANS which we used seven times yesterday. If you follow them up from Rushall you'll see it was a learning curve with Bob's at Pelsall nearly perfect.
Putting in the barriers at the 'Swan' pub end

Mowing the grass towards 'Smithy's'
The sign we are putting up at points along the track which goes someway to explaining why we can only do so much at this time.
JUNE 2018
  Trimmed back
After a few mentions from active users of how long the nettles and brambles were getting on the section between the canal bridge and Bullows Road a group went out and trimmed back just enough without disturbing the wildlife.

MAY 2018
 After Ian visited from Canada a few weeks ago when gave us an excellent talk with photos from his soon to be published book he has very kindly sent us a few 'preview' images.
Ian Molesely
Ian Molesley
Ian Molesley
Ian Molesley
Ian Molesley
Ian Molesley
We'll keep you posted as to when the book will be available which should be fascinating with so many never seen before views of the track.

Fairy Glade
  Last week opened up a whole new vista, a fairy glade which wasn't wet! The sunny aspect was much appreciated by group members. This week we are starting to clear the ramp up to Smithy's Forge gate which will provide the missing link.
We are very pleased to find we are included as a choice in the TESCO's blue token charity scheme in the Brownhills store. So if you feel you would like to support our local community project, as they say, "Every little helps. The winner will be announced at the end of June.
Before he left to go back to Canada we met up with Ian on the track so he could point out all the bits and pieces he remembered from 30 years ago. We managed to locate the edges of the concrete channelling which may have acted as drainage but unfortunately most of it has been destroyed or has been lifted and is lying around in piles. Ian also pointed out the plate layers hut. We'll make sure he gets an invite to the official opening.

We had a great meeting with Ian (on left) yesterday, May 2nd. He currently resides in Montreal but is in Brownhills visiting his Mother. He had heard of our drainage problems even in the colonies and emailed to say he had some photos of the track and drainage channels, were we interested? Ian is writing a book about the line from the mid 80's and showed us some fantastic pictures he has in the book and has promised us ones we can use when he gets back to Canada. They must be unique as he took them when was he was a schoolboy and show a detailed account of the track being lifted and the bridges being built.
APRIL 2018
Bird Boxes

Bird Boxes

Bird Boxes
Sim and Martyn from SUSTRANS came along and we made bird boxes to go on the Greenway

As part of their 'Helping Hands' Scheme Wilko's kindly gave us some seed for the track


Down by the access ramp built to help with the track removal which blocks the drainage through to Cranebrook. We're deciding if we can break through and stop the lake forming.


Meeting up with Vic and Simon from the Burntwood Action Group on a cold damp morning yesterday. They are as enthusiastic as we are in getting the track accessible especially in their area north of the A5. We also got the skip, kindly donated by Donna and Paul at Abcell Ltd , collected.

MARCH 2018
After abandoning the litter pick in Silver Street, Brownhills on the 19th because of snow we couldn't have asked for better weather on the 26th. We collected 27 bags which were kindly collected by 'Clean and Green'
Cutting Back
Cutting Back
Cutting Back Cutting Back
While we've been working on the Brownhills end SUSTRANS have got in contractors to tidy up and prune down the Pelsall to Rushall section which is all part of the 'McClean way'
The Lamp Arts
The charity event for 'Back The Track' at The Lamp Theatre in Brownhills on Saturday 10th March at 7:30 pm was a sell out and enjoyed by everyone there. Thanks to the Aldridge Ukulele Band, Follow Spot Productions and The Lamp Theatre for the generous donation of their time and the venue. We raised over £400 towards materials to enhance the area under the bridges.

Under the island where we see we are not the first to  go down today 03/03/2018

One source of the water, drainage holes in the bridge!


After the digger had been at work, just a pity there is still quite a lot of water to deal with.

We have managed to get a digger down on the track and as can be seen in the video what a fantastic difference this has made.
The Pioneer
We've started off the New Year with an excellent article in the January edition of 'The Pioneer' magazine. Many thanks to Emma for the write up.
Intrepid members started the New Year by clearing out the existing water channel and then set about extending it well past the point where the ramp behind the library is going to be. They lopped branches off trees that have fallen across the track. which allowed the water to flow better and will make cutting the trees up much easier. They also did another mini litter pick and collected a few more bags of rubbish. The good news is that the water is flowing freely now to about 50 yards past where the ramp will be so it seems there is a continuous gradient right through the station and no level bits which was feared might be the case.
The Letter
Having spent a couple of hours clearing leaves off the track in Pelsall this morning (6th) we went, rather appropriately, to The Railway Inn for a most pleasant lunch very kindly paid for by Sim and Martyn from SUSTRANS. It was while we were there Martyn gave us our excellent early Christmas present in the form of this letter at long last making us officially 'official' It states exactly what we are aiming for plus we like the reference to working with third parties, something we've tried to do all along.

Live Life Local
We were surprised to find we featured in this months edition of 'Live Life Local' We hope they don't mind us reproducing the page here.
Crane Brook
It's always useful when we come across people with local knowledge especially when it comes to matters of drainage. We know the track falls towards Lichfield from the highest point where the surge stack used to be next to the canal in Clayhanger. We've been told from the Miner roundabout (1) water drained by gravity into the Crane Brook (2) If we can move the years of silt then, hopefully, nature will take over.
Photo Shoot
SPOILER ALERT If you don't want a sneaky preview of Brownhills Asphalt & Tarmac's Christmas card don't look at this photo. We met up with Barry and Shaun from BAT who were having a photo shoot but then took time out to chat to us. They are very knowledgeable about the drainage by the park and sports field as they put a lot of the drains in. They've offered to do a survey for us but then had to dash off for an emergency leak (in a pipe I hope) but we'll arrange to meet up under the bridge ASAP.
What a difference there is between these two photos. The top one is from November 18th 2017, the one below taken by 'Dawntreader' from August 2009
A souvenir of the railway, a rail anchor.
At work on November 13th trying to uncover one source of the water flow, a vintage cast iron pipe which seems to be a bit of a mystery. Does anyone recognise it?

Under the Miner Island in Brownhills, Monday 30th. We had all the 'big guns' with us namely Martyn Brunt, Midlands Land Manager for SUSTRANS and Railway Paths Ltd and Huw Davies, National Cycle Network Director for SUSTRANS and Chief Executive of Railway Paths Ltd. Huw was previously a Consultant Railway Civil Engineer for 5 years so he is ideally placed to give us advice on the flooding. Having said that the tranches dug last week have made an amazing difference under the bridges as can be seen, just glistening mud.
It was a 'red letter day', Sunday 22nd, with the litter pick under the Miner Island in Brownhills happening at last and what a difference a day makes! We had nearly 30 volunteers starting just before 10:00 with some stalwarts still working away at 3:00 and in total we probably had around 75 work hours. The idea of digging drainage channels has really paid off with the water level under the bridge dropping substantially. Just look at the photos to see what an outstanding achievement so it's a great big 'Thank You' to all the volunteers of all ages and Holland Park Surgery for paying for the skip, we couldn't have done it without you. The press came and we made the front page of the Express and Star - again!
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