2018 - February - Sunday 4th: A51 Western Bypass Cycle Path:

Success! Work on the NCN 54 cycle path along the A51 Western Bypass in Lichfield has finally been completed. SCC/Amey have removed the vegetation from the cycle path increasing it by about 3ft and restoring it back to its original width.

The Lichfield Rangers have been pushing SCC to do this since 2014, which involved two reports, two complaints and numerous phone calls and emails. Getting the work completed was almost certainly due to Edward Healey, the Sustrans Network Development Manager, who recently highlighted the problem to SCC.

The Lichfield Rangers can't thank Sustrans enough for supporting them with this issue. It's been of great concern to the volunteers for many years and having it resolved is a major relief for the group.

A51 Western Bypass Cycle Path - Before

A51 Western Bypass Cycle Path - After

2015 - AUGUST - Care with care signs in Beacon Park:

After two years or so and a lot of effort on Pete's part, the 'share with care' signs on the bollards in Beacon Park have finally been installed. So, well done Pete for spending so much time on meetings, emails and phone calls to make it happen.

Unfortunately the discs had to be the same size and the ones they replaced. So, this makes the wording and images on them a little on the small size but at least they have '54' on them now.

Oh and there's also a notice board by the Bunkers Hill entrance. It looks fairly new but perhaps it's been there a while and I've just not noticed it before. I think it's the same sort as the one by the cafe at the Bird Street entrance. Pity there isn't a notice board like these by the Registry Office entrance.

Looking towards Minster Pool

Looking towards Bunkers Hill Car Park.

The notice board by the Bunkers Hill entrance, complete with a map that's got NCN 5 marked on it.

2015 - JULY - Metal and Tarmac Signs on NCN 54 in Lichfield:

Pete contacted me today to say there was a new signs in Dam Street and the old signs on the lamppost had been taken down. Also a cycling group emailed us to say some cycle signs on the tarmac in Beacon Park had been burnt off. With this in mind i decided to cycle up to Lichfield and take a look for myself.

It seems Pete was right, unfortunately the new sign in Dam Street doesn't have Burton as a destination, only '54' and Lichfield Trent Valley Station! There's also another sign in St Chads Road showing LTV station to the right and off NCN 54.

Pete has now ridden the new 'local' route and has seen more signs from St Chads Road to the A5127. All of these other signs just show a 'bicycle' and arrow which might confuse strangers. Also no new signs have been installed from the A5127 where it joins the Sustrans link route. It's a shame we didn't know about this new 'local' route as we could have made some useful recommendations. As for who's built the new route, who knows, it's a mystery!

As for the cycle route road markings in Beacon Park... they have been burnt off! I'm not sure but i think they were ones which showed it as being a segregated use path, hopefully the have only been burnt off in preparation for new markings to show it as a shared use path, who knows, it's another mystery!

Dam Street - Old signs on lamppost (left) removed and new post and signs (right) installed.

Dam Street - The new signs.

St Chads Road - The new sign points away from NCN 54

St Chads Road - On a positive note we do now have an extra sign saying NCN 54 Town Centre

St Chads Road - The new signs here don't say anything about LTV so how will strangers to the area know which way to go!

Beacon Park - Road markings burnt off at the crossroads in the park.

Beacon Park - Road markings burnt off on the track from Western By-Pass to Bunkers Hill car park.

2015 - MARCH - Proposed re-route of NCN 54 in Lichfield:

After a lot of correspondence and background work by Pete K, things were looking positive. Pete K got approval from Edward Healey, gained support from a councillor and even got a tentative response from the Dean's office.

In January Pete K, Pete D, Mick and Bob all met up at Chapters. After a good old natter they walked the proposed re-route and took photos of the various places signs would be needed in order to compile the plan. The completed plan can be seen on the following link. Proposed re-route.

The proposed route is much safer than the existing one through a busy car park. Also with such an iconic cathedral along with it's cafe, a far more interesting route for NCN 54 too, we think!

The Close

Unfortunately the final verdict from the Dean's office was a negative one, at least for the foreseeable future. Oh well, you can't win them all but we did try hard to win this one!

2015 - JANUARY - Public awareness of Sustrans:

Bob put pen to paper again this month and sent a 6 page document to Sustrans HQ for the brand manager and director of communications to peruse.

To summarise, it just highlights that Sustrans should be doing more to promote the organisation. I don't think that Sustrans staff have to work any harder to achieve this, just smarter.

You see, after being in existence for about 30 years most people have still never heard of Sustrans, so clearly something is wrong. Given that funding has been reducing for several years now, it seems obvious to me that the need to increase membership is more important now than ever. The only way this will be achieved is by promoting Sustrans better. Hopefully an increase in membership will result in improved finances.

Here a link to the document... Public awareness of Sustrans

2014 - DECEMBER - Change of route responsibilities:

December was not only the end of the year but also the end of an era for our group.

After several years of looking after NCN 54 between Lichfield and Burton it was decided the time had come to handover some of the route to the Burton group. Given that the 30 mile round trip was becoming a little too far for some of us in the Lichfield group the decision seemed a sensible one.

The section of NCN 54 that we've handed over is from the Albion pub in Burton to Mickleholme Drive in Alrewas. Liam Hudson of the Burton group is now going to look after this section. Given that Liam is a much younger and a very enthusiastic ranger we're sure he'll look after our old patch really well, in fact probably better than we did.

So, the Lichfield group are now back to looking after their original 9.5 mile section of NCN 54 Between Lichfield and Alrewas. Oh and their 0.9 mile link route to the LTV station and their 3.5 mile link route to the NMA. In total this is about 14 miles of routes to look after. Even so it's a big reduction in route mileage which does open up new possibilities, like taking on the 3 mile section of NCN 5 through Burntwood which is just a short ride from Lichfield. This would be good for Sustrans as there hasn't been a group looking after Burntwood for many years.

Anyway, good luck Liam and remember if you need any help or advice we'll be happy to support you in any way we can.

2014 - OCTOBER - Swan Road/Bird Street:

The Lichwheeled group have noticed a sign which they think is a little confusing. It's the 'shared use' sign at the junction of Swan Road and Bird Street in Lichfield. After a bit of digging Ed thinks it's an old sign left up from when the footpath was a 'shared use' one. That was before the road got re-designed we think. Anyway, Ed has asked SCC if they could remove the sign when they get the chance.

As the SCC highways are very short staffed these days it might be a while before they can remove the sign but having worked with them before i know they will do their best for us.

PS. The sign was removed by SCC just a few weeks later. Success!

2014 - SEPTEMBER - Beacon Park Signs:

I was cycling on NCN 54 through Beacon Park with a CTC friend the other day. Unfortunately my CTC friend was a little confused with the signing in Beacon Park and it was easy to see why.

Some '54' signs that had been out on 3 'share with care' bollards were missing. Worse still one of the 'NCR 5' finger posts was pointing the wrong way towards the pavilion and cafe instead of Bunkers Hill car park. It's bad enough that the finger posts show NCR 5 instead of NCN 54 but to have one pointing the wrong way is surely going to ensure people get lost in the park and get a bad impression of Sustrans and Lichfield in general.

The '54' signs on bollard is missing and the 'NCR 5' finger post sign is pointing the way. Not good!

2014 - AUGUST - Sign Fixing Options:

Having checked out the web for what types of sign fixing options there are, i found the ones below. Cost varies but £4 each on average. Here's a couple of places that sell them:

Universal Channel Clamps
Universal Channel Clamps
All Fixings

2014 - AUGUST - A38 Cycle Path Alrewas to Wychnor:

During the summer the UKHA actually cut the grass along the cycle path between Alrewas and Wychnor! It was probably due to Ed's efforts more than Bob's numerous emails and complaints to them.

Now Jill has taken photos showing that the UKHA have made a start on cutting back the grass. The photos show just how neglected it's been over the last few years and how wide it really should be. Again this is probably due to Ed getting involved, so thanks for that Ed.

Hopefully the UKHA will finish the job and not stop at cutting back just a few yards of it. It they don't finish the job i think the only option is for people to contact the MP so as to put 
pressure on them to do it.

2014 - JUNE - Beacon Park:

Just one month after being installed this sign at Bunkers Hill car park somehow had managed to turn itself around and point completely the wrong way.

I popped up and fixed it the day after being spotted so it's sorted now. The fixing straps were fairly tight so I've no idea how it was turned around... It's too high to be reached unless on a step ladder and there was no sign of damage from a vehicle like a high sided van, so the mystery remains. While fixing the sign a Police Community Support Officer past by and had a chat with me about it.

If it happens again we'll probably have to use one of the signs with two fixing straps on them.

Within four weeks it was pointing the wrong way... but it's pointing the right way again now!

2014 - APRIL - Metal Direction Signs Needed:

During our April workday, we took this picture of the Abnalls Lane signs, the only signs in Lichfield which have destination names and distances on them. They measure 2 feet long by 6 inches high. It's something like these that we need more of around Lichfield. We thought that we might try and make a start near Pete's house between Tesco Express and Eastern Avenue.

Abnalls Lane signs = 2ft (60cm) long x 6in (15cm) high

These are the standard sign sizes that are given in the Sustrans handbook. The smallest size is about the equivalent so either this size or the next one up would be fine, i think. What would be nice is if they could be double sided.

This is something we could try and get from Trevor later in the year maybe?

Here are some examples taken from the Sustrans signing document...

2014 - MARCH - Mapping:

Just so that we can keep a track of things i thought it would be a good idea to make a note of where we are with the mapping issues:

Sustrans Mapping:

Jean's done a great job and got the Sustrans online mapping updated for Alrewas and Barton. Jean is also going to get the Beacon Park route updated shortly.

Google Mapping:

Bob's tried to update the Alrewas, Barton, Beacon Park and Chasewater sections.

- Chasewater changes have been approved and are now live

- Alrewas, Barton, Beacon Park updates are still awaiting approval

As James seems to have made changes to Google maps perhaps he could approve them for us.

OpenCycleMap Mapping:

Bob's now got an a/c and tried to update Chasewater section. If this works out Bob will update the rest that's wrong i.e. Alrewas, Barton and Beacon Park.

So, if nothing else, at least the Sustrans mapping will be up-to-date and as Sustrans interact with the Ordnance Survey mapping service all OS maps will also get updated in time. As for Google maps and OpenCycleMap we'll just have to wait and see.

It's a pity someone in Sustrans, even a volunteer, couldn't take this task on for all route changes. Perhaps an item for our next meeting?

2014 - MARCH - Netherstowe - The return of a sign:

Well to our surprise a sign in Netherstowe which had been removed has been replaced, not the post just a sign.

I asked for the post to be replaced with two signs on it along with destination names and mileages. What they have done is to replace a nearby post with a higher one and put a sign on that above the 'no through road sign' on the same post.

Oh well, at least we've got the sign replaced, something i didn't expect to happen. I think the best thing for us to do now is to put one of our spare direction signs on the post for people coming from the city to know they have to turn right at this location.



2014 - MARCH - Abnalls Lane - A sign of the times:

I'm really not sure what's happening in Lichfield these days but over the past few months we've had two signs knocked down and now a third one. Even worse is that we rangers don't seem to be able to get SCC to put them back up again. Frustrating or what!

Anyway, enough ranting, here's the story. The other day I decided to drive up Abnalls Lane at night to see what our new confirmation signs looked like and i was very impressed. As they are much bigger and there are twice as many of them as before they are now unmissable, especially at night being new and very reflective.

Unfortunately on the downside I noticed that one of the signs, the one by that farmers field near to the gated section, had been knocked down. It's the next one up the lane from the sign that the farmer accidentally 'ripped out' with his tractor a few months ago. I did think about reporting it to SCC but given the lack of success we rangers have had in getting the other two signs reinstated I decided against it. All that SCC would have done is to recover the sign and not replace it, just like the other two signs! So instead I went back up on Sunday to see if I could push the sign back into a vertical position. Luckily the ground was soft and so it was easy to do.


And after

The only good thing to come out of this is that i noticed this post needs another sign on it as it's the only one without a sign on both sides. It's particularly important on this post given that the next sign down the lane which the farmer 'ripped out' will probably never get replaced.

2014 - JANUARY - Netherstowe - The missing sign:

Unfortunately it's not good news for the start of 2014. While out checking for where some new signs could be installed this week, Pete and i found one was missing. We've reported it to SCC Highways but who knows when it will be replaced, that's the question.



After close up

2013 - OCTOBER - Tuesday 15th - Abnalls Lane - The knocked down sign:

I was cycling down Abnalls Lane on Tuesday 15th October when I came across two tractors that were blocking it. The tractors were trying to pass each other and had got jammed across the lane.

While trying to get past the tractors I noticed a cycle sign lying in the ditch. I asked two of the workers if they had knocked it down and they both said yes. I also asked them if they would make sure they put it back up for us, again they said yes and seemed genuine about this, really nice chaps I thought. I'm not sure if they have just forgotten about the sign or not but I checked to see if the sign had been put back up on Sunday 20th October and it hadn't, it was still in the ditch.

Anyway, I've reported the incident to the Staffs CC Highways and got a ref no for it to be fixed i.e. 13195021, the question is, will it?

Before the tractor

The tractor

After the tractor

The farmers field the tractor was working from

2013 - SEPTEMBER - Abnalls Lane - Re-use of a sign:

At the top of Abnalls Lane there's this double sided metal sign. It might be worth considering recovering this sign to use somewhere more useful and replace it with two single sided signs with stickers on the reverse sides

The sign

2013 - AUGUST - A38 Footpath - Vegetation:

I reported this to Staffs CC and was told it's being dealt with by the UK Highways Agency. The UK HA then told me that the work had been completed. Cut or not cut, that is the question? The answer it's not been cut and they don't know when it will be.

After a lot of chasing, the UK HA admitted it hadn't been cut back, well they had to given the photos. My question of when will it get sorted got the reply of "in line with their schedule" a schedule they couldn't give me the details of!

All a waste of time really. Unfortunately i don't have any power to make them sort this out, nor does Sustrans HQ to my knowledge. Perhaps it needs more local people to report it to the UKHA... People Power?

My ref no for the job was 135 121 51 in addition to the original ref for the job of 135 046 36.

2012 - NOVEMBER - Burton to Barton Cycle Route Project:

Helen Theaker, a lady who lives in Barton under Needwood, has put forward a proposal for a cycle route between Burton and Barton using the canal as the route.

In November, Lawrence Oats and Bob met with Helen at Barton Marina to have a chat about her plans. As Lawrence runs the Burton Conservation Volunteers group and a keen cyclist he was able to give Helen lots of useful guidance. Bob also gave his views from a Sustrans point of view and wished Helen well with her project.

2012 - JANUARY - Re-Number NCN 5 to NCN54 - Lichfield to Burntwood:

In 2012 rangers met and cycled from Lichfield to Chasewater with our Sustrans area manger Ed Healey and project support officer Renne van Baar to do a recce of the route. Ed agreed we should re-number the section between Lichfield and Burntwood as NCN 54. In March 2013 we were on the job and re-numbered this section of the route.

Ed also thought there would be some merit in the future of continuing NCN 54 south from Burntwood to Chasewater and making Chasewater the place to start the 'missing link' of NCN 5 to Stafford.

2011 - December - Beacon Park Re-Route:

Ed made a visit to Lichfield and met up with Sustrans ranger Pete and Beacon Park officer Lyn in order to discuss the re-route of NCN 54 through the park.

It was agreed to change the route from going around the fountain to going in a straight line from the registry office to Bunkers Hill car park.

The plan is for LDC to either remove or replace the finger post signs that incorrectly show NCR 5 and erect 'share with care' signs at either end of the park and replace the existing 'cycle' signs with 'share with care' signs too.

Map of the route through Beacon Park - Old route = RED - New route = Blue

Bird Street

Registry Office

Bunkers Hill Car Park

Beacon Park

We did this one using a rigid plastic one and 'no more nails'!

Finger post signs in Beacon Park incorrectly showing NCR 5


This isn't event news, though it will be if Sustrans act on it lol. It's just a personal thing between Sustrans and me. The image below is one which I think Sustrans should be using (or something similar) as their logo. Mainly because its more meaningful than their current logo of an arrow coming out of a box.

As for the current Sustrans logo below, I guess it's trying to say "Think outside of the box " but I'm sure very few people will associate it with sustainable transport - I'm also just as sure that people will wonder what "Join the movement" is all about. To me it sounds like join some sort of cult and probably puts people off. Much better i think to say something like "Promoting Sustainable Transport".