Workdays - Archive

2017 - December - Friday 1st:

Todays workday was a bit different... mainly because no work was done, hence no photos this time! It was mostly down to the weather which was bitterly cold on the day. All was not lost though as Margaret invited the volunteers to have the meeting at her house.

So, Margaret, Mick, Pete and Bob all met at Margaret's house and settled down with a cuppa and nibbles. The meeting went well, the main topic being Pete's feedback from his meeting with Ed Healey about some proposed cycle routes in Lichfield. The group all felt that it was really good of Ed to ask the volunteers for feedback on the proposed routes.

As for the work that was planned to be done, that will have to wait for another day. Maybe next month or the one after that depending on the weather. Happily the only stretch left to do is between Beacon Park and Eastern Avenue. Lots of faded No 5 stickers need replacing on this bit of route but once that's been done the whole of the Lichfield Rangers section will have been completed in about 12 months!

2017 - November - Friday 3rd:

For November the group all met at Chapters Cafe in 'The Close' Lichfield. Jean, Margaret, Mick, Pete and Bob were all there along with Sue and fellow cyclist who came along to meet the group again.

After the usual refreshments and informal meeting the volunteers set off on their bikes and headed to the top of Abnalls Lane to carry on from where they left off last month. Like every workday this year there were lots of faded red route numbers to replace. In addition a few branches obscuring signs were cut back and lots of signs were cleaned thanks to Jean's handy gadget. On the way back to Lichfield Pete and Bob spotted a 'shared use' sign the group had missed on the way out. It took ages to get the marks (possibly paint) off it but eventually it looked like new again.

As winter is looming next months workday will probably start from Chapters Cafe again. The plan being to do the remaining bit of NCN 5 from the Beacon Park up to Eastern Avenue. Once this has been done it will mean the whole stretch of the groups NCN 5 route will have been completed in just under a year.

A very faded '54' in less than 3 years is about to be replaced by the new one at the bottom. The difference between the two can be clearly seen.

A bit of sign cleaning in Abnalls Lane

The missed 'shared use' sign in Beacon Park

Lots of scrubbing by Pete and Bob

And eventually it looked like new again

2017 - October - Friday 6th:

The Nelson pub was the venue for meeting up this month. Margaret, Mick, Jean, Bob all met there for another workday. Unfortunately, having so many other commitments, Pete couldn't join the group this time.

The weather was incredibly good for October, so much so that Margaret and Mick got to the pub early to have a meal before starting work on the NCN. Once refreshed everyone got on their bikes and set off for the Nags Head pub, no not for more drinks, to start the workday lol.

Once at the Nags Head work began, the first thing being a sign that was overgrown, dirty and had a faded 'No 5' on it. With everyone getting to work on the sign it was soon sorted and the the group set off again to the next one.

At the end of the workday the group had got as far as Abnalls Lane. Along the way they'd managed to sort out many signs, some needing a hedge cut back, some needing good a clean and many needing a new 'No 5' sticker.

All in all a very nice day work and weather wise but especially nice to be working with such lovely people.

The Nelson Pub - Preparing for the job in hand as we're always being told to drink plenty lol.

With the hedge having been cut back by the group, this sign was ready for a new 'No 5'.

And a good scrub to remove all the moss etc. It's as good as new now!

2017 - September - Friday 1st:

Volunteers Jean, Pete and Bob met up at the Nags Head pub for the workday this month. Unfortunately Margaret and Mick couldn't make it due to a special celebration. However, the volunteers had a surprise visit by a lovely lady named Sue who is a friend of the Pelsall Rangers and met up for a chat with the volunteers at the pub. With the weather being so kind everyone decided to have refreshments outside the pub in the sunshine.

After an hour or so of chatting away at the pub it was time to set off and check the route towards Burntwood. As usual, nearly every 'No 5' red sticker was found to be fading. So, it was out with new ones, lots of them! The group also noticed that every lamppost on the Boney Hay estate had been replaced in the last few weeks. Fortunately the metal cycle signs had been replaced too but not the temporary rangers signs of course. So, the missing ranger signs were replaced with new ones.

It was another lovely workday and a very productive one too. The group missed Margaret and Mick but having Sue come for a chat at the pub cheered everyone up.

Enjoying some sunshine outside the Nags Head pub

An old 'No 5' just two years old and very faded compared to the new one about to be stuck on top of it.

A new lamppost with a new sign, this one being very important as it's a staggered junction and confusing.

Oh a bit of cleaning took place too

A 'No 5' sign at Chasewater just three years old and about to be covered with a new one, faded or what!

2017 - August - Friday 11th:

This month saw Margaret, Jean, Pete and Bob all turn up. The plan was to check a bit of their NCN 5 section i.e. from Chasewater to Burntwood. So, the meeting place was Chasewater Heaths Station cafe of course lol.

After a quick cuppa in the cafe the volunteers set off towards Burntwood in the hope they'd get as far as the Nags Head pub. However, there were lots of faded No 5 stickers to replace (27 in all) most of which were only put up a couple of years ago. So, due to replacing so many faded No 5 stickers the group only managed to get halfway to the Nags Head pub. Sadly this meant no drinks at the end of an afternoons work this time.

In addition to replacing loads of No 5 stickers the volunteers also put up two extra signs, replaced a couple of missing signs, cleaned a few signs and cut back branches covering a sign.

Despite being overcast and not reaching the pub it was still great to meet up and work together. The volunteers even managed to have a few giggles along the way.

One of the very few old No 5 stickers, none of which have faded much even after 10 years or so.

We're wondering if the new No 5 sticker will last as long as the very old one did.

A sign in Burntwood that was dirty and looking old

The sign looks as good as new again

Jean and her handy gadget are a blessing to the group

2017 - July - Friday 7th:

It was another hot day for the volunteers today. So, Jean, Margaret, Pete and Bob just had to start the workday off in proper fashion... with drinks, food and even ice creams at the Kingfisher cafe lol. The group were also lucky enough to meet Joan and Eddie at the cafe, a lovely couple on their amazing electric tandem tricycle.

The main subject at the cafe was the long awaited Sustrans publicity material, which is now on its way to Margaret. Hopefully the posters etc will work and the group will find a new ranger or two from the publicity.

After the cafe it was off to work. The main task was to replace any faded '54' stickers between Fradley and Lichfield. There weren't as many faded '54' stickers as last month, just 12 in total. The main reason being this section had a lot of original 'reflective' '54' stickers on posts which don't fade, even after 20 or so years!

Along the way the rangers also cut back some hedges that always encroach on the signs. One walker commented "it's nice to see someone clearing the signs of overgrown hedges, especially as the council don't seem to care".

Another great day especially at the cafe which was a good laugh. Up's sorry, no photos this time, it was very remiss of Bob to forget to take any lol.

2017 - June - Friday 9th:

The sun was shining for the volunteers today and Jean, Margaret, Mick and Bob all met up at the Kingfisher Cafe for another workday. Jean came with her new electric bike which was great to see. Unfortunately Pete couldn't make it this month but hopefully he'll be able to next month at the groups new start time of 1pm.

The rangers had a lovely chat at the cafe along with refreshments of course! Then they headed off towards Alrewas to do a signing day. The main task was to replace all the faded '54' stickers. 

There were lots of faded '54' stickers, 24 to be exact. Along the way the volunteers also cleared back overgrown vegetation from four signs and cleaned another ten or so with Jean's brilliant window cleaning gadget. After several hours the volunteers had managed to check every sign all the way up to the A38 where their section of NCN 54 ends.

The afternoon flew by, it must have been all the laughs the rangers had while working away. However, with a job well done it was time to head back home. It was shame really because the sun was still shining and the company was brilliant too.

Fradey - A faded '54' and an overgrown hedge

Fradey - A new '54' and a trimmed hedge

Alrewas - A dirty sign

Alrewas - A clean sign thanks to Jean's gadget 

2017 - May - Friday 6th:

The weather was lovely for this months workday. It was a workday with a difference though, a workday of two halfs so to speak.

The plan was to meet up at midday at the Kingfisher Cafe in Fradley. However, Pete decided to do a bit of work before this and cycled along the route to Alrewas doing jobs along the way. All three then met at the cafe as planned and went though some items like the 'risk assessment' along with the 'A51 and Wood End Lane' issues. After the cafe Pete needed to head home but Jean and Bob decided to check the route from Fradley to Netherstowe.

On his ride, Pete cleaned a few signs and cut back vegetation, with the feedback that one sign in Alrewas still needs more vegetation cutting back. On their ride, Jean and Bob also cleaned signs and replaced 15 red '54' patches. Jean also cut back quite a lot of vegetation. Unfortunately Bob forgot to take any before or after photos but there is one below of the new local sign on the crossroads in Fradley. Its the sign that the volunteers re-erected last year after it had been demolished by a car.

Fradley Crossroads sign. The replaced sign, just the brown sign now though as the direction signs went missing!

Fradley Crossroads sign. This is what it looked like in September 2015 with its direction signs still attached.

2017 - April - Friday 3rd:

This month was a little different to normal as it was more of a meeting than a workday. Bob met Pete in Lichfield and cycled up to the Kingfisher Cafe in Fradley. Soon after they got there Jean, Margaret and Mick arrived.

At the Cafe the main topic was the 'Risk Assessment and Plan' that needs completing for workdays to continue. The other main issue was the 'rejection' received from SCC about the path in Wood End Lane. To help tackle these and other issues the volunteers inevitably needed some refreshments, nothing new there then lol.

After the meeting Pete, Margaret and Mick headed home. However, Jean and Bob decided to recce NCN 54 around Fradley. They found lots of faded Red '54' stickers on the route, a job for next month perhaps. 

On the way home Bob stopped at Wood End Lane to get photos of the path. Using a tape measure proved the overgrowth to be 850mm not 100mm which the SCC say it is and based their 'rejection' on. Bob also measured the total width of the path as 2 metres, which means the overgrowth is almost halfway over the path. SCC and the Local Council will be hearing more about this from the volunteers.

The shared use path at Wood End Lane - The tape measure says 850mm not 100mm.

And a close up proves its at least 850mm!

2017 - March - Friday 3rd:

It was a typical March day for the volunteers this month, wet, windy and chilly! Even so four rangers managed to make it, Margaret, Mick, Pete and Bob all met up in Chapters Cafe to decide their plan of action for the day.

After some discussion it was decided to go ahead with the suggestion that they had a closer look at the 'Shared Use Path' along the A51 Western Bypass. Fully kitted up with good waterproof clothing they set off. Margaret, Mick and Pete on their bikes, while Bob in his car loaded with tools to meet the others at Bunkers Hill car park.

When they got on site the rain was still coming down but not deterred the rangers got stuck in. The spade, rake and loppers came in really useful and after an hour or so the vegetation had been cleared back so that the full width of the path could be seen. The difference is quite amazing and made the path almost twice as wide!

Photos were taken before and after the work was done. Bob has sent an email with the photos to SCC in an attempt to chase up a report and complaint he made about this problem to SCC in 2014. The feeling is more people need to report this to get something done about it and with a bit of luck they will.

A51 - Before

A51 - After

2017 - February - Friday 3rd:

The Lichfield Rangers were back to a proper workday this month. Unfortunately only Pete and Bob could make it as all the other rangers were either away or busy doing something else. One ranger was extremely busy... celebrating her birthday, happy birthday Margaret!

The weather was good and so the plan was to take a look at the cycle path in Wood End Lane. The rangers figured they'd need a lot of tools to do this job so the only option was to use the car. Armed with a pair of edging shears, a rake, a yard broom and a litter picker, they set off towards Fradley.

Once on site the rangers got stuck into cutting back the brambles and grass etc. The overgrown vegetation was so bad that only 10 yards of it could be done. However, doing it did prove just how much the cycle path has narrowed over the years. As at first thought, this is too big a job for the volunteers and in any case it's a SCC responsibility, so a report has now been sent to SCC asking for something to be done about it.

While there Pete did a litter pick, all two big bag fulls of it. The litter is no doubt being caused by lorries parking up on the grass verge for long periods awaiting their turn to deliver goods to the nearby factories. The evidence of lorries parking on the grass verge is easy to see by the deep ruts in the grass they're making.

After a few hours work the rangers headed for... The Kingfisher Cafe of course, well you have to don't you

Oh well, spring will soon be with us and the volunteers will have nice weather for next months workday.

Wood End Lane - Before

Wood End Lane - After

2017 -January - Friday 6th:

It wasn't a proper workday for the Lichfield Rangers this month, more of a get together. Jean, Margaret, Mick, Pete D and Bob all turned up at the Kingfisher cafe in Fradley to have a good old natter. Unfortunately Pete K couldn't make it due to a pre arranged meeting.

As well as chatting away the rangers also went through a few Sustrans issues that needed discussing. Oh and while doing that, refreshments were a welcome distraction lol.

The main reason for no work being planned was the weather, after all it's winter time and there's a whole year ahead to do the work. It will depend on the weather as to if any work gets done February. If its nice there's a chance if its not the cafe will be favourite again!

DECEMBER 2016 - Friday 9th:

This month it was decided to meet up for more of a get together than a workday. The venue was the NMA, in part to see what the new building looked like and in part to try out the cafe! Pete K, Jean, Margaret, Mick and Bob all turned up for the last time this year.

The meeting started on a sad note... Pete K announced that he was standing down as group coordinator due to personal commitments. All agreed Pete had done a sterling job in his role over many years and thanks to him lots of improvements had been achieved, far too many to list here. Everyone felt that Pete's positive outlook, calm approach and wise words had served the group well in the past and was something that will be sorely missed in the future. The rest of the meeting went well with the food and drinks going down very nicely!

After the meeting Pete and Bob cycled back to Lichfield checking the route along the way. They replaced a few NMA signs on the link route, re-aligned the sign post in Fine Lane and did a bit of hedge cutting around a sign in Netherstowe Lane.

Overall, a good day but a very sad one due to it being the end of an era regarding Pete K standing down as its coordinator.

Onwards and upwards!

Barley Green Lane, Alrewas - Old sign

Barley Green Lane, Alrewas - New improved sign in upper case

Fine Lane, Fradley - Before (having been hit by a hedge cutting machine)

Fine Lane, Fradley - After

NOVEMBER 2016 - Friday 4th:

The team were back to normal this month and had a proper workday which started by meeting up at the Chasewater Heaths Station cafe. Jean, Pete K, Pete D, Bob and Mick all came along. Unfortunately Mick could only stop for the meeting as Margaret who didn't come wasn't feeling well. After a short chat in the cafe the rangers were off on their bikes. The plan was to check the route out up to the Nags Head pub and cut back vegetation obscuring signs along the way.

Although there wasn't any hedge cutting to be done, the rangers found plenty of other unexpected work that needed doing, namely signs! The rangers had only got as far as Morrisons when they noticed that the old Pelican crossing had been replaced by a Toucan crossing. The problem was that two metal NCN 5 signs had been taken down and not replaced. So, it was out with the stick on rangers signs to fix the problem and stop people getting lost on the route. The rangers also improved the signage even more in that area so that it's better than ever now.

Further up the route on the Ogley Hay Road the rangers were pleased to see the that the hedge had been cut well back from the sign. Similarly at Nether Lane the hedge had been cut back hard by the council. Cutting back around the signs done by rangers this year stopped the hedge cutting machine hitting the signs and encouraged them to cut back further than they normally would have. So well done you rangers, your efforts paid off in the end!

Unfortunately on the way back home Pete K noticed that there were lots of signs between the Nelson Pub and Abnalls Lane that were obscured by hedges. This is despite rangers clearing the branches around them this year. It just goes to show it's an ongoing job and one for next year when the rangers will have to cut back more vigorously so that the job lasts a bit longer.

Burntwood A5190 - After

Burntwood A5190 - After

Burntwood A5190 - After

Burntwood A5190 - After

Burntwood, Ogley Hay Road - The sign can be seen now

Burntwood, Nether Lane - Another sign no longer in the middle of the hedge

OCTOBER 2016 - Friday 7th:

Well it's been a funny old summer and with one thing or another the group haven't managed to have a workday for the last couple of months.

On a brighter note, although this month still didn't result in any work being done it did result in meeting with Dan the new volunteer coordinator. Dan came all the way from Nottingham to be with us and the group felt it was well worth missing a workday to meet him.

I think it's fair to say that Dan's enthusiasm and attention to detail gave the whole group a lift and renewed motivation. The meeting covered lots of items, far too many to list here and happily Dan is going to help the group with some of them.

The only 'negative' thing about the group meeting was no photos were taken. It's very remiss of the normal photographer to forget to take at least one, especially as Dan was there. Oh well, slap on the wrist to you know who and he promises to do better next time lol.

JULY 2016 - Friday 1st:

This month the group met at Chapters cafe in Lichfield. Pete K, Jean, Margaret, Mick and Bob turned up to chat about things and go through the action list. Margaret arrived a little later than expected due to the hairdresser but the photo below shows it was worth it.

After the cafe it was decided to split up into two groups. Pete, Jean and Bob set off to do some signing work by Beacon Park. Margaret and Mick headed for Fradley to cut back some brambles on the cycle path along Wood End Lane. After doing the signs by Beacon Park Jean went to help Mick and Margaret while Pete and Bob stopped to do more signing work along the route with the intention of meeting up with the others. 

As it happened before Pete and Bob could get to Wood End Lane the rain came down so they headed back to Pete's house for cover. Bob phoned Jean to see if Margaret and Mick needed a lift back in the car but Jean said they were already on their way home.

Oh well, considering the weather we got a lot of work done i.e. new signs put up, old signs replaced and even overgrown brambles cut back. Unfortunately there aren't any photos of the brambles in Wood End Lane but there are a few of the signing work, oh and a lovely one of Margaret.

PS At the cafe Pete said some signs were hidden by hedgerows between the Nags Head and Nelson pubs. Bob said he'd do them out at the weekend and did (all 4 of them) but it was hard work. The same signs were cleared of branches last year but just as bad again - see photos. Perhaps we ought to cut the hedgerows back further to save having to do them every year?

Chapters cafe - All set to go and tackle the brambles.

Beacon Street - A new sign for the new sign post where the old lamppost used to be.

Beacon Street - Another new sign on the new lamppost.

Minster Pool - The old sign was starting to peel off and needed replacing.

Netherstowe Lane - This post had a 30 mph sign on it which went missing.

Hobstone Hill Lane (The Nelson Pub) - Before.

Hobstone Hill Lane (The Nelson Pub) - After.

Hobstone Hill Lane - Before.

Hobstone Hill Lane - After.

JUNE 2016 - Friday 10th:

So, another workday... This one started off by meeting in the North Shore Cafe at Chasewater. Pete K, Jean, Margaret, Jonathan and Bob had the usual meeting at the cafe along with refreshments of course!

After the meeting Margaret headed home while the other rangers set off towards the Nags Head pub to check out and improve the signing along NCN 5. With the weather being kind quite a lot of work was done i.e. new signs along the route towards Burntwood and a new sign at the staggered junction in Slade Avenue. It was lovely to have Jonathan with us again. Jonathan gave some very useful suggestions about the signs which really helped.

While at Slade Avenue it started to rain so everyone headed for the Nags Head. Safely inside the pub it was more chatting and drinks while waiting for the rain to stop and stop it did but not for long. Pete K and Jonathan got back to Lichfield a bit wet. However, Bob got soaked on his way home, stopping from time to time to shelter under trees. Mind you there was a plus side to stopping under the trees as some needed cutting back from signs so out came the loppers! 

On the way home Bob got chatting to a couple of cyclists. They said they were from Cambridge and had a canal boat moored at Chasewater. They told Bob they'd cycled to Lichfield a couple of times using NCN 5 in recent days and they didn't have to use their map once as the signing was so good. They asked Bob to pass their appreciation onto the Lichfield Ranger group for the work they do.

The A5190 at a new junction - Some additional signs fitted.

Slade Avenue - A new confirmation sign fitted to help at this staggered junction.

Rake Hill - The branches obstructing the sign were cut back but no photo to prove it as the heavens opened up too soon.

MAY 2016 - Friday 13th:

With some folk unable to make the normal first Friday of the month, we decided to delay the workday by a week this time. Happily the weather was great and Pete, Jean, Mick and Bob all turned up on the day.

We met at the Kingfisher cafe and had a really good natter along with refreshments of courseAs usual we also went through our action list discussing the outstanding items in some detail.

After the cafe we set off on our bikes to do some work on NCN 54 between Fradley and Alrewas. We were out for quite a long time and got lots done i.e. fixing a post at Fradley Junction crossroads, cleaning lots of signs with our cleaver brush, cutting back branches from signs and replacing faded '54' patches in Alrewas. Interesting the '54' patches that we replaced in Alrewas were only put up in May 2013, so they've only lasted two years which is a lot less than other older patches.

After Alrewas we all made our way home after doing a good days work with lovely weather to do it in and lovely folk to do it with. 

Alrewas A51 - The sign before being cleaned.

Alrewas A51 - The sign after being cleaned.

Alrewas - Pete's latest version of the ladder

Alrewas - The old '54' patch.

Alrewas - The new '54' patch.

APRIL 2016 - Friday 8th:

It was lovely to have the whole team together again this month. Margaret, Mick, Jean, Pete D, Pete K and Bob all met at Chapters. We were also joined by Jonathan who has done so much for cycling around Lichfield and has some great plans for the area. It was Jean's birthday and just as we were leaving the cafe the Cathedral bells began to ring for her, how nice was that.

On leaving the cafe, the old saying "April showers" came to mind as it was raining! Even so we all went to look at the final bollard sticker that had been fitted in Beacon Park. It's been five years since we first met with the parks people about this, which just goes to show, perseverance pays off! We also took a look at the missing lamppost (with our signs on it) nearby. After this Pete K, Pete D, Jean and Jonathan needed to head home but Margaret, Mick and Bob fancied a ride to Fradley and yet another cafe, the Kingfisher surprise surprise lol.

At the Fradley crossroads Margaret and Mick met some friends from Burntwood on a tandem tricycle who they hadn't seen for years. In true ranger style, Mick and Bob also re-erected the demolished fingerpost sign there, mind you the signs have been 'nicked' and it still needs a few bricks in the hole to make sure it doesn't fall over.

After a meal at the Kingfisher, Margaret and Mick headed home. Bob on the other hand decided to fit some of the new patches on the NMA link route. Well the sun had come out and it seemed like a good idea. Bob got as far as the Sittles when he ran out of patches but Pete has more coming from Jane so maybe we could finish the job off next month?

Bird Street
Q... where's the lamppost gone? A... to the other side of the road but without our signs on it!
At least they replaced the lamppost with a post for the 'beware cyclists' sign.

Beacon Park - On a brighter note, after five long years the final 'share with care' sign has been fitted in the Park.

Beacon Park - It's mostly thanks to this man who looks well pleased.

Beacon Park - Another man was also feeling well chuffed about our small success!

Fradley crossroads - Sign re-erected by us but alas the destination arms have gone missing.

Fradley - One of the new 'larger print' NMA patches fitted to a sign post.

Fradley - Another one of the new NMA patches this time on the finger post.

Sittles - The new patches are so much easier to spot.

MARCH 2016 - Friday 4th:

It was a funny sort of workday this month. When Bob set out for Lichfield it was sunny but by the time he got to Pete's house there was snow in the air. Shortly after this Margaret tuned up but sadly it was only to say Mick wasn't feeling too good and they couldn't join us. Best wishes to you Mick, we hope you feel better soon.

Anyway, with the weather looking risky, not being the bravest of cyclists, Pete and Bob decided to leave their bikes at Pete's house and drive to Fradley Junction cafe. Well it was cold and there was a bit of snow in the air lol.

At the cafe Pete and Bob met Jean ordered food and drinks (of course lol) and went through a few items on the action list. However, all three were unaware that, even though the weather was bleak, Pete D had cycled to the cafe and not seeing any bikes there cycled to the job in Fine Lane. Not seeing any bikes at Fine Lane either, Pete D cycled home. Sorry Pete, we should have phoned you to say we were in the cafe.

Anyway, after the cafe Pete and Bob drove to the job in Fine Lane. The sign post there was put in many years ago and needed refitting into it's metal post spike. Luckily it turned out to be a fairly easy job and should last many more years. After Fine Lane Pete and Bob recovered a metal sign in Netherstowe Lane and replaced it with two ranger confirmation signs. The metal sign will be reused somewhere more useful.

Fine Lane - Before.

Fine Lane - After.

Netherstowe Lane - Looking north.

Netherstowe Lane - Looking south.

FEBRUARY 2016 - Friday 5th:

This month we decided to meet at Fradley and check the route up to Alrewas along with the new local cycle route there.

Jean, Pete and Bob started the workday off in true ranger style with refreshments at the Kingfisher cafe. At the cafe we went through our action list, so it was a bit like a working breakfast lol.

After the cafe we set off for Alrewas and were very impressed with the new cycle route there along the A513. We cycled on the new route to where it ends at A38 and made our way to the NMA via the A38 'footpath'. The NMA is now being rebuilt with lots of workmen there, one of which we had a good laugh with. 
After the NMA we made our way back to Fradley via our Sustrans link route, checking out the signs etc.

On the way back to Pete's house Bob bumped into Angela, the lady cyclist we met at the Nags Head pub a few months ago. She said the signage was good and was following it without any problems.

To sum up, most of the NCN 54 route from Eastern Avenue to Alrewas seemed fine and in good order. The only thing that needs doing along this section is some sign cleaning. As for the NMA link route, we thought the destination patches were unreadable and should be changed for 'upper case' lettering. Also the sign post in Fine Lane needs to be cut off at the bottom and re-fixed into its metal post spike.

Netherstowe Lane - The notorious sign that's badly damaged but which we've cleared from the hedgerow now.

Alrewas - The new local cycle route, an excellent surface and signage but sadly ends at the A38 for now.

Fine Lane - We've made the sign vertical again but it needs re-fixing into its metal post spike.

Fradley - One of the 'unreadable' destination patches which need changing.

Fradley - We took this temporary sign off as it made it look like you should turn left.

Fradley - Wood End Lane, overgrown again and needs a proper clean up job by the council.

JANUARY 2016 - Friday 8th:

Margaret, Mick, Jean, Pete D, Pete K and Bob all turned up for our first workday in 2016. It was great to see everyone again, especially Pete D who is now back in the saddle!

We all met up at the Nags Head in Burntwood to do more jobs on our new section of NCN 5. However, our prerequisite refreshments were doomed as the pub was closed! So, just for a change, we decided to do the work first and return to the pub for a meal later. Hey, we were determined to get our refreshments in one way or another lol.

We set off from the pub to our main job of clearing branches obscuring a sign in Ogley Hay Road. On the way we stopped to fix a sign on a spare post in Rake Hill and do a bit of hedge cutting in Bramble Lane. Once at Ogley Hay Road we cut back branches hiding an important sign. We also installed a couple of ''advanced turn' signs at the junction as this is a very confusing spot for people using NCN 5. With the work in Ogley Hay Road completed we set off back to the pub doing more work along the way. This included fixing temporary signs onto the blank side of metal signs plus cutting back more branches.

Another brilliant workday, what with lovely folk, kind weather and a really nice meal to finish off our first workday of 2016, how nice is that!

Bramble Lane - The sign is now visible again.

Ogley Hay Road - Another hidden sign uncovered from the hedgerow.

Ogley Hay Road / Hunslet Road - Work in progress.

Ogley Hay Road / Hunslet Road - The new 'advance turn' sign installed.

Rake Hill - Making use of the blank side of signs.

Rugeley Road near the Nags Head - More blank sides of signs completed.

And opposite the Nags Head - Another blank sign sorted.

Tucking into a well earned meal at the Nags Head.

Oh and someone in this photo pinched another rangers chips lol.

DECEMBER 2015 - Friday 11th:

As it was December, instead of a workday we decided to take a break this month and just go to Chapters for a mini Christmas meet up.

Jean, Margaret, Mick, Pete and Bob all came along. However to our surprise and delight Daphne also came with Pete and stopped for a while.

Unfortunately Pete 'D' couldn't make it this time but we're looking forward to seeing a lot more of him in 2016. Also for the first time in several years Jill couldn't make it to our Christmas get together, mind you i guess Scotland is a bit far to come from just for a coffee lol.

Apart from having a good old chinwag we also reflected on our Sustrans successes in 2015 along with our outstanding Sustrans issues and the way forward in 2016.

Alas, as we didn't get out on our bikes there are no photos this month. However, we did have a good time and more photos will no doubt be on the blog next month.

NOVEMBER 2015 - Friday 6th:

This month we were really pleased to have Pete 'D' back with us once more. Pete is now on the mend and hopes to join us on more of our workdays.

The workday was more of a meeting really as we had lots to discuss, so it was a long one! Luckily we had the hospitality of Margaret and Mick who provided a quiet setting and some lovely refreshments at their home, so thanks very much both of you. We went though all of our 'action list' items, in particular the new SCC cycle route to the LTV station, the Beacon Park signs, the Bird Street signs, the A51 overgrown shared use path oh and the proposed quarterly meetings with SCC. Although it was a long meeting it really was needed and very productive.

After the meeting Bob couldn't help but pop up to Alrewas to do a bit of signing work. Bob used the two old 'cycle' signs recovered from Burntwood earlier this year to replace a couple of 'not so good' signs in Daisy Lane near Alrewas. One of the signs was a very small and damaged metal one that Pete 'K' is going to try and repair.

Our next workday will probably be in Burntwood. The signs on the Boney Hay Rd at the junction of Slade Ave are in the middle of a hedge. So, loppers will be the order of the day we think. 

After - A 'cleaned up' recovered sign fitted in Daisy Lane near the A513 Alrewas.

After - Another 'cleaned up' recovered sign fitted in Daisy Lane near Fradley.

OCTOBER 2015 - Friday 2nd:

We met up at the Chasewater North Shore cafe this month. Although our leader Pete K and volunteer Pete D couldn't make it, most of the group did i.e. Jean, Margaret, Mick and Bob. A really nice surprise was to have Mike join us for the workday. Oh and even Denis popped into the cafe to say hello.

The plan was to continue working on our new route of NCN 5 that we took on earlier this year. This time we thought we'd tackle it from the Chasewater end and make our way to the Nags Head pub near to where we left off last time.

Along the way we added several directional, advanced right turn and confirmation signs. We also straightened signs, cut down branches hiding signs and cleaned signs with Jean's handy extending mop.

While at the Nags Head pub we met a really nice lady who likes cycling and was interested in the work we do. So we gave some information about our group and who knows, with a bit of luck we might hear from this lady one day.

Near Morrisons - An extra 'left' sign.

Rugeley Road - An extra advanced 'right' sign.

Rugeley Road - A bit of cleaning.

Boney Hay Road - A more visible sign now some branches have been cut back.

Boney Hay Road - A bit more cleaning.

Hanslet Road - An extra 'confirmation' sign.

There's still work to do along this section of which the Boney Hay Road junction is probably the most important. Perhaps an advanced turn sign, while not perfect, might be the answer.

Anyway, well done everyone. I think we made a big difference to the signing of NCN 5 on this section today and probably have stopped lots of future strangers getting lost in Burntwood.

SEPTEMBER 2015 - Thursday 10th:

Bob and Pete met up with Will Spencer at Chapters as planned. Will was extremely interested in what we rangers do and was very keen to help if possible.

We went through the output from our recce of the new LTV cycle route as typed up by Jean a few weeks ago. Will agreed the signs need looking at again and said he would ask an engineer to meet us for another recce.

We also mentioned the signs by Ego's that need moving to the lamppost opp the entrance to Beacon Park. Will said he'd try and help with this if we let him have more details. Bob said he'd send Will the info with photos if possible.

Will suggested it would be useful to meet up with us on a quarterly basis so as to keep in touch about cycling issues in and around Lichfield. Pete is going to look into this.

After the meeting Pete and Bob did a little job near the allotments. They uncovered a well hidden 'shared use' sign and installed it on a post where it could be seen. Bob then decided to carry on with a 'workday' and headed for Fradley doing a few jobs along the way. At the Fradley crossroads Bob discovered yet another demolished sign... the finger post!

The demolished finger post

With the finger post gone Bob cut back a hedge so that an old sign could be seen again.

Bob then put an extra 'confirmation' sign on the next post just to make sure people know which way to go.

AUGUST 2015 - Friday 7th:

This time we were without Bob who had other pursuits to occupy him, and also Pete Dimeloe who is convalescing so that he can join us later in the year. Undeterred, four of us met at Chapters as usual for refreshments, and sat outside in the garden as it promised to be a nice day.  

There was only one thing on our agenda.  A couple of years ago Pete had been asked by John Adams about suitable routes that would be useful in Lichfield and we had discussed different ones.   Pete had then been notified by Will Spencer that maps showing some routes had been drawn up,  and signage had already been installed.  Pete had been asked for comments about them and so rather than study the maps, it seemed a sensible idea to follow a route and so we decided to follow the signs from Dam Street to Trent Valley Station and then back again.

We were checking for 3 main things:
  • that the new route was suitable for cyclists as most of it was on roads. 
  • that the the signs were in suitable places and contained the relevant information.
  • our NCN link route which also goes to the LTV Station, but ours being mainly off road.  As both routes start and finish at the same place there is some duplication of the route at either end and we needed to make sure the directions were clear at the points where they separated.

Dam Street - New sign installed on post (right of photo) and old sign removed from lamppost (left of photo). 

After the workday Jean compiled a very detailed review of the recce which will be invaluable when we give our feedback to the council.

The conclusion of Jean's detailed review was:
  • All signs going towards the station needed the station logo on them and hence be bigger and better seen
  • Right hand turns especially needed signs before the junction.
  • More signs needed near the station to direct users to the City Centre
  • Signs on the National Cycle Network  need to show clearly that they are on a shared route and the nearest towns it goes to should be indicated.  Burton-on-Trent to the NE and Brownhills to the SW.
  • As a southbound platform is planned for LTV station it might also be helpful if appropriate signs could be ready for this project. 

 Hopefully our feedback will result in some changes!

JULY 2015 - Friday 3rd:

With Pete having to stay at home on nursing duty, just the four of us met up for a workday this month.

So Jean, Margaret, Mick and Bob gathered at Chapters before setting off towards Burntwood. There was a delay in setting off... something to do with missing gloves but i said i wouldn't mention any names on the blog about this lol.

After Chapters we headed up to Nether Lane near Creswell Green to install two metal signs that we recovered a couple of months ago and recently repaired in Pete's workshop. On the way there we cut some branches back that were covering a sign in Hobstone Hill Lane again. Once the repaired signs were fitted the group headed home. 

On the way back Bob decided to do a couple of signs by the Nelson Pub. Interestingly while doing one of the signs Bob met a lady on her way from Keighley near Bradford to Walsall using the NCN. It's nice to know people do use our route and find there way on it OK.

It's a shame the two Pete's couldn't make it this time. Hopefully Pete K will be back with us next month and later in the year Pete D so that we can all have a good old natter again. There was a suggestion that maybe next month we could start from the North Shore cafe at Chasewater and work our way towards Burntwood to cut out the hills of Abnalls Lane etc, just a thought.

Before - Mick standing by the old demolished post that's hidden in the undergrowth, while Margaret is by the post we have used instead of the old one.

Before - Thinking about it.

 Then into action recovering the existing bike signs to make way for the repaired direction signs.

You've heard of people having a feather in their cap, well it seems this one has a leaf in his.

The repaired signs looking as good as new.

After - Sorted, up and running.

After - And from another angle.

Before - O/S the Nelson, the blank side of a sign. If you look closely you'll see the lady from Keighley on her bike at the junction.

After - The blank side used for an advance warning of the right turn ahead. 

Before - Again near the Nelson, a hidden metal sign.

After - Metal sign recovered to save it getting damaged by a hedge cutter, that's if one ever comes lol. Oh and replaced with a temporary sign plus hedge cut back so it can be seen. 

JUNE 2015 - Friday 1st:

This month three of the team got together for our June workday, Jean, Pete and Bob. We all met at Pete's house and decided to take a look at the link route from Fradley to the NMA.

Of course as we had to start at Fradley the first thing we did was to have refreshments at the Kingfisher cafe! After an hour or so of chatting we set off to check the link route.

Jean lead the way and although all the signs were in good condition, it became apparent that the NMA signs could be easily missed. It's because the patches supplied a couple of years ago were in lower case. Pete is going to ask Jane for new destination patches in upper case.

Although the link route signs were in good condition some needed clearing of branches etc. So, we did a bit of cutting back branches, straightening posts and adding a few more signs just for good measure. When we got to the NMA Jean asked about the bike racks and got a contact number to speak to someone about them.

Overall it was a great day to be out on a bike, the weather was really nice and we got quite a lot done too.

The sign at the start of the link route - great in upper case.

The other signs along the route are not so good - being in lower case!

We straightened up this post in a most ingenious way - pity i forgot to take a photo afterwards to prove it lol.

Pete and Jean hard at work to uncover this sign near the NMA.

And the result was good as the sign can now be seen again.

A bit more snipping and another sign uncovered - Jean also had a friendly chat with the resident who was then happy for us to cut the branches. Good PR Jean!

On the way back to Pete's, Bob had a go at this post.

After a bit of pushing and pulling it was upright again.

MAY 2015 - Friday 1st:

Todays workday was a little bit special as it was Jill's last workday with us. Jill is moving back to her homeland of bonnie Scotland but I'm sure we'll all keep in touch.

Margaret, Mick, Jean, Jill, Pete and Bob all met up in the Kingfisher cafe at Fradley Junction for a short meeting. The main topics on the agenda being the signs in Beacon Park, our plan for a re-route of NCN 54 through the cathedral close and a possible future pothole survey. 

After the cafe meeting was over we said au revoir to Jill, wishing her well in Scotland. Then Margaret, Mick and Jill made there way home doing a bit of Sustrans work on their way back. As planned Jean, Pete and Bob cycled north up to the end of our section of NCN 54 where it ends in Alrewas by the A38. Along the route they re-set 5 signs posts, adjusted 6 signs, cleaned several signs and cut back hedges that were obscuring signs, oh and fixed an extra ranger sign in Alrewas.

A nice workday indeed though on the downside, the weather was a little chilly and the atmosphere a little sad with it being Jill's last workday with us.

Outside the Kingfisher cafe, saying goodbye to Jill.

One of the 5 sign posts hit by vehicles and leaning badly, this one near the crossroads at Fradley Junction.

A lot of brute force plus a little ingenuity and like the other 5 leaning sign posts we did, it's sorted now.

APRIL 2015 - Friday 10th:

On this workday we decided to meet at Chapters Cafe. The weather was so nice that we headed for the outside garden to go through our action list, with coffee and nibbles of course!

After refreshments, like last month, we cycled up to our new section of NCN 5 to continue working our way towards Burntwood. When we got to the start of NCN 5 at Creswell Green we took one look at the Nelson Inn and... yea, we stopped for more refreshments. Well it was such a nice day and we were thirsty after cycling up Abnalls Lane lol.

After our second stop for refreshments we got stuck into cleaning, adjusting and clearing signs of hedgerows. As suspected, after many years of neglect there was plenty to do. Some signs were so bad and unnoticeable due to being dirty or hidden by hedgerows that we nearly cycled straight past them. One thing we hadn't expected was a demolished signpost which was well spotted by Jean. We took the signs off the post so that Pete can repair them. Once repaired we will install them to another post, that luckily, is very close by to the post that got demolished.

At the end of the workday we managed to get all the way to the Rugeley Road in Chase Terrace, which, given the number of signs we had to sort out was pretty good i think. So, all in all a very pleasant day, great weather, great company and a great deal of work done... perfect! 

 Chapters Cafe.

Margaret and Mick back on there road bikes outside the Nelson Inn.

The group taking afternoon tea (or a pint lol) outside the Nelson Inn.

The demolished signpost at the junction of Nether Lane and Coulter Lane.

This sign at Rake Hill was virtually unnoticeable due to being so dirty and the post was tipping badly to one side. All sorted now though!

This sign in Bramble Lane was so well hidden by the hedge well nearly missed this sign too. After a lot of cutting back it can be seen again from both directions. 

MARCH 2015 - Friday 6th:

With spring just around the corner we had a workday which was much warmer than of late. We also had a lovely breakfast at Margaret and Mick's house which was even nicer. So, thanks for that Margaret, the food and drinks were great and very nice of you.

Once on the road we headed for our new section of NCN 5 at Creswell Green. On the way to Creswell Green we did a few jobs i.e. we fitted a better sign at the A51 crossing, then cleaned and rescued signs from hedges in Hobstone Hill Lane. Oh, along the way Jean with cutters to the ready got rid of brambles and other things sticking out into the road. 

Once we got to Creswell Green we set about cleaning and improving the signs at this important location. The reason it's an important location is because it's where NCN 5 and NCN 54 meet. So with this in mind it really should have good signage. However, the signage has never been good at this junction... but it is now!

After a few hours work everyone needed to head home, everyone except Bob, who with time to spare decided to carry on and do a bit more spring cleaning etc up to the Nags Head pub. Well it was such a lovely day it seemed a shame not to carry on cycling. Now there's a thought for a carry on film!

On the A51 we replaced a metal confirmation sign with a metal direction sign. Unfortunately we couldn't get the temporary sign off.

In Hobstone Hill Lane we did a bit of spring cleaning which was made easier using Jean's little gadget.

At Creswell Green there were three rangers pondering about improving the signage...

Pondering that is until they had a little help from one of our lady rangers...

And once they were given a bit of 'direction' the signs were up in no time lol. Oh and Creswell Green was properly signed at last! 

FEBRUARY 2015 - Friday 6th: 

Our second workday of the year was a chilly one. Even so, Jean, Margaret, Mick, Pete K and Bob turned up at Chapters for the meeting. On the list of items to chat about was Beacon Park, the re-route of NCN 54 in Lichfield via 'The Close' and of course our new section of NCN 5 into Burntwood.

After the meeting Pete, Jean and Bob cycled up to the A51 where we thought a temporary sign had been removed... and it had, well partly anyway. No problem we soon put a new one on the lamp post and figured it might be a good idea to replace this with a spare metal one once the weather picks up!

With the A51 sign done, Pete and Bob cycled up to Cresswell Green to check out the start of our new section. On the way there they cleared a couple of metal signs from the hedgerow, mostly to stop the hedge cutter, if one ever comes, from damaging the signs even more than they have been already.

When they got to Creswell Green they cleaned one of the signs and thought it will be a good idea to swap some of the metal signs around at this junction next time the group are up there.

A51 sign outside Beacon Park sorted again

Creswell Green sign - before

Creswell Green sign - after, good as new again!

JANUARY 2015 - Friday 9th: 

Our 1st workday of 2015 was another good one... Margaret, Mick, Jill, Pete K  and Bob were all there.

Actually it was more of a meeting than a workday due to it being cold and windy. So we spent mostly in Chapters Cafe which in January makes sense lol. Having said that we got through lots of items on the action list i.e. A possible re-route of NCN 54 via the Cathedral Close, Beacon Park signing and of course taking on NCN 5 through Burntwood.

After the meeting Jill, who had come on her Brompton Bike was surrounded by the rest of us eager to have a go on it.  After the test runs on Jill's Brompton everyone headed home, except for Bob, well there's always one in any group that has to be different lol. 

Anyway, Bob decided to head up to Creswell Green near Burntwood where NCN 54 ends and NCN 5 starts. In the main it was because Bob had spotted a problem with the signs there a few weeks ago. This junction has never been signed properly to tell cyclists that it's where NCN 5 ends. In fact as well as being obscured by trees and in need of a clean, the existing metal sign also had NCN 5 instead of NCN 54 on it! All sorted now though.

Pete, thinking about it.

Mick about to have a go.

Before...  The sign saying NCN 5 to the right... Wrong, it should say NCN 54 to the right!

After... Sorted, trees cut back, sign cleaned and a '54' stuck on it along with other patches to say this is where NCN 5 ends and its under development.

Before... From the other direction, a similar thing, branches and no signage information.

After... Sorted, now there are no branches but there are some signs to make it clear which way to go.

And here's the sign post just around the corner that still needs our attention - I.E. it still needs a sign to say NCN 5 'left' etc. Perhaps we could move the metal sign from the other post to this one as it's a better location for the metal sign?

The chances are many a cyclist has been confused at this junction, but hopefully no more. As for the other sign post just around the corner that can wait for now until we do a workday on our new section of NCN 5.

DECEMBER 2014 - Friday 5th: 

This months workday proved to be one of our most rewarding ones i think, as will be seen from the photos below.

We met up at Chapters to warm up and go through a lot of Sustrans items. Things like the route though Woolworths car park and Beacon Park which are still proving a problem along with the public awareness of Sustrans. Jean also raised the issue of what our group can do regarding the NCN's 20th anniversary in 2015.

After Chapters it was off to Netherstowe to put up some signs which have been needed for years. In the main this is because Lichfield doesn't have any signs with destination names and distances on them but it's also because they've replaced lots of temporary signs which looked so unprofessional. Hopefully the new signs will help people to know where NCN 54 goes and so use it more. We also put up a much needed 'recovered' sign and cleaned up some shared use signs while there.

Removing the old stick-on signs was hard going, well for Jean anyway as Bob went for the easy ones lol. The thing is Jean is a dab hand at getting difficult stick-on signs off and makes it look easy when the rest of us know it's not, so thanks for that Jean.







This sign was in a terrible state but soon looking like new thanks to Jean

A very productive day!

NOVEMBER 2014 - Friday 7th: 

It was almost a full team this month i.e. Pete, Jean, Jill, Margaret, Mick and Bob. However, Peter D did the sensible thing though and gave it a miss. Having got soaked i think we'll all do the same next time, you live and learn lol.

It was a great start to the day as we met up at Margaret and Mick's house where we had lots to eat and drink. We also got through lots on the 'action list' too. After the meeting and Margaret's brilliant hospitality we headed for Abnalls Lane to check the signs that had been reported as being obscured. Well four of us did, Jean and Jill were wise enough to head home, good thinking!

Going through Beacon Park we noticed the three '54' stickers had been removed. Pete K spoke to someone about this but they said we need to talk to Lyn Hamment about it. While in the park we fixed the cast iron finger post sign that was pointing the wrong way, although as the fixings are loose someone will probably turn it around again!

At Abnalls Lane the rain clouds opened but thinking there was a big problem with the signs up there we battled on. All of the cycle signs up Abnalls Lane were fine. However, at the gated section the 'Except for Access' sign was overgrown a bit so we cut the hedge back. At the Burntwood end of the gated section two of the five signs were a bit obscured. We managed to clear one of the signs but the hedge covering the other sign was to high to reach. Still, I have to say, any drivers not seeing the signs, even those covered a bit by branches... need to go to 'specsavers' me thinks!

At the Lichfield end this sign was slightly obscured so we cut some branches back here

At the Burntwood end this sign was also very slightly obscured so we cut some branches back here too

This sign was fine

This sign was also fine, well except for being on the slant but not much we could do about that

By far the most obscured sign, and still is as we couldn't reach the branches but the other signs are unmissable!

So, at the end of the workday we all agreed, Abnalls Lane was probably a mistake because yes, we got wet, very wet lol. It might not have been the wettest day on record but is was the wettest workday on our records and probably the last wet one, next time we'll think twice lol.

On a positive note, we did meet a nice lady called Marion from Hammerwhich at the gated section. She's actually contacted the council about the cars using Abnalls Lane and also the signs etc i think. It's good to see that local residents are taking an interest and some action regarding Abnalls Lane. Marion also thanked us for the work we do which was really nice of her.

On the way back down Abnalls Lane we got stopped by a cyclist called Hywell from Burntwood. Hywell wanted to know which section of the NCN we covered as he's interested in becoming a ranger in Burntwood. We told him we do Lichfield to Burton but if he wanted to do Abnalls Lane too that would be fine with us. Hywell said he'd not contacted Sustrans yet but will do so in the near future.

OCTOBER 2014 - Friday 3rd: 

A bit of an odd workday really as only Jill and Bob could make it. Actually even Jill only just made it as she only returned from Glasgow the night before. Not to worry though as the workday went ahead and a very productive one it was too. 

Of course we headed straight for the cafe lol. Then we set off from Barton and did a recce of the route from where we left off last month at Tatenhill up to the Albion Pub in Burton. Outside the Albion we met a fellow cyclist called Norman from Yoxall who Bob had met in Lichfield last year. Both being from Scotland Jill and Norman had a good old natter and Norman said he would be happy to help us in the future if needed.

At the Albion we fixed an extra ranger sign then on the way back we cleaned and adjusted some permanent signs and did a bit of lopping here and there. We also put up our last spare permanent confirmation sign at the Dunstall junction as this road is a busy one with very few signs to warn motorists that it's a cycle route.

Back in Barton we noticed the National Forest Adventure Farm sign had been taken down... and so had one of our ranger signs again! Well not taken down exactly but moved to underneath our other sign, give me strength! 

Back at Jill's it was a quick cuppa and Bob set off for home for a nice rest.

Interestingly someone has put a destination patch on this sign, not us so it must be Richard in Burton, cheers for that.

Hedge trimmed back and hey presto, our sign is visible again.

Jill and Norman having a chin wag.

The extra sign at Dunstall junction, not brilliant but every little helps on a busy road.

Drrrr.... Can you believe it, you have to ask yourself if the contractor people are for real!

Back to normal with a lot more 'no more nails' than before!

SEPTEMBER 2014 - Friday 4th:

Bob and Pete met at Autumn Drive as planned. We met up with Jill in Netherstowe Lane and did a bit of adjustments to her brakes which we rubbing. Further up the route in Green Lane we met up with Jean who'd already started work and was busy cutting back vegetation. While chatting in Green Lane we decided to clean and adjust the metal sign in Dogshead Lane and fix one of our special reverse signs for the blank side.

When we got to Barton we headed straight to the cafe, well we'd already done some unplanned work and were in need of sustenance! After the cafe it was all steam ahead north. We cut back load of branches and brambles around signs, mostly thanks to Jean. We also adjusted and cleaned some signs and fitted an extra metal 'confirmation' sign at Tatenhill. Exhausted we headed back to Jill's for a cup of proper instant coffee (for me) and cakes yummy! After this Jean headed home while Pete and Bob cycled back to Lichfield and fitted an extra metal 'confirmation' sign in Daisy Lane, Alrewas.

So, we got lots of work done and will continue on from Tatenhill to Burton next month. This will mean we'll have covered the whole of our section this year. Not bad going me thinks.

Near Green Lane - Branches cut, sign adjusted, cleaned and a ranger sign added to the previously blank side, sorted.

Our leader at the Skinny Kitten Cafe - What can I say, who ate all the pies, i mean food!

Just north of Barton - Before...


 And after!

 Near Dunstall. Now you don't see it...

And now you do!

Between Dunstall and Tatenhill - Before being cleaned and adjusted just a little!

In Tatenhill a new sign fitted - Well a recovered sign really but after being cleaned it looks as good as a new one.

 And finally in Tatenhill a hidden sign being uncovered.

AUGUST 2014 - Friday 22nd:

Well we didn't intend to have an August workday, however, while walking to our 'alternative' evening meal in Barton we noticed some of our signs had been removed! So, to fix the problem we decided to have an August workday after all.

Being last minute only Jean, Jill and Bob were available but it was only a little job so no problem. Jill cycled to Pete's, getting a bit wet on the way. While cycling back to Barton with Bob they met an American couple who had cycled across America and were now on their way from Scotland to Warwick. They commented on how well the NCN was signed and thanked us for the work we do, which was nice to hear. In Barton we met Jean patiently waiting for us. As it looked like raining we took shelter in Jill's house, not for the coffee and cakes you understand, it was purely to take shelter lol.

After refreshments, i mean sheltering, we got out there and re-instated the signs. Two temporarily by the church and two permanently outside the cottage. As it's a dogleg junction we put an additional confirmation sign up across the road. This should help if the signs get taken down again

On the way home Bob went via Green Lane and can report that the surface is much better now, in fact quite good. Bob also did a bit of work on the way back i.e. cleaning one or two signs, putting a new one up in Daisy Lane near Fradley and cutting back branches that hide the notorious sign in Netherstowe Lane. Well, it keeps him amused and out of mischief lol.

The heavily loaded American couple who were impressed with our signage.

Bob getting stuck in lol.

Then admiring the hand work of using wire to secure the signs in a temporary fashion.

And again.

And again.

Green Lane - It really has settled down now and even after a bit of rain there was no sign of mud, what a relief!

One more proper confirmation sign put up - Daisy Lane has very few and needs more to make drivers aware of cyclists!

Oh... Nearly forgot, at Jill's house Jill tried out Jean's cape and hat. They might look trendy but they work really well!

JULY 2014 - Friday 11th

What a lovely workday it was this month. The weather was nice, the ride was nice and what's more important the company was really nice. Yes, the whole group were together this month including our new ranger Peter Dimeloe, how nice is that!

Pete, Peter and Bob met at Autumn Drive then cycled up towards Fradley. We met Jean by the go cart track who was just finishing off cutting back the brambles along the cycle path. Then Jill appeared on her bike to lend a hand while Peter and Bob got on with adjusting a permanent sign outside Tesco's. After this we made a mad dash to the café where we met Margaret and Mick for our usual meeting and... refreshments lol!

After the café Margaret and Mick had to return home while the rest of us headed for Alrewas with Jean dropping off the back, not because she's slow but because she keeps stopping to cut back brambles etc! In Alrewas we adjusted a permanent sign and repaired the bracket on another. Jean then left us to head back and... cut more vegetation!

We then set off towards Barton, making a note and taking pictures of the notorious A38 cycle path which is literally only a 'foot' wide in places! Oh and checking Green Lane, which seems a little better now. In Barton, for once we were beaten by a damaged permanent sign. The damaged brackets were too tricky to deal with so we left well alone and put up a ranger confirmation sign across the road just for good measure in case the permanent one gets hit again and breaks off.

At Jill's we of course had the customary refreshments, which I think won Peter over. After this it was a ride back to Lichfield for Pete, Peter and Bob. What a lovely day!

Jean's thinking I'll make an early start so that it's all done we the lads come cycling down it.

And it was spic and span.

But Pete spotted something he wanted to have a snip at.

Peter and Bob sorted out the permanent sign pointing the wrong way.

Nearly there.


Fradley sorted so a quick pose before rushing to the cafe!

And after the cafe another sign to sort out.

A38... Not good!

At least 18 inches of growth over the footpath on both sides, that's a total of about a whole metre of tarmac lost.

And yea, in some places only a foot wide, literally!

At least the Green Lane surface has settled a little so that's good news.

And the last photo - Beat by a bracket, oh well i guess you can't win um all lol.

Onwards and upwards, next month we're hoping to start from Barton and work our way up to Burton. Barton, now isn't that the place where they do nice cakes and a cup of coffee Jill lol?

JUNE 2014 - Friday 6th:

We had a lovely workday this month, especially so as we were joined by Lisa, Linda and Ed from Sustrans who cycled down from LTV station to meet Pete, Jean, Mick and Bob at Pete's house. After a quick chat we set off along NCN 54 to the Kingfisher café at Fradley Junction where we met Jill for a proper meeting and refreshments.

It was really nice to get together again and go through various issues like:

- A38 & A51 footpaths

- Abnalls Lane sign that’s still not been reinstated
- Care with care signs in Beacon Park
- Possibility of a route through Minster Pool on a trial basis

Ed said he'd try and help us with some of these items where possible. However, after hearing what Ed told us about his new roles and workload we could see that Ed just doesn't have the time to get too involved with these issues. After going through the list of things we're struggling with, Linda kindly explained some Health and Safety items and discussed the work we do etc.

On leaving the café we went our different ways with Lisa, Linda and Ed heading back to the office. Jill and Bob set off for Barton to check the route and fix Jill's bike gears, fitting an extra confirmation sign in Alrewas and cutting a branch back there too. Pete, Mick and Jean headed back to Lichfield working along the way, fixing a NMA link route post and sign at Fradley crossroads.

We're off...

Getting closer

Almost there

 Well we're there at the cafe and I've got my bacon and eggs but not too sure about the cutlery lol.
It's a sign of the times!

Vertical once more, i guess it's just a matter of time before this sign at Fradley Junction gets hit again!

An additional sign put up in Post Office Road as it is a little confusing at this this junction.

On their way back to Barton, Jill and Bob also noticed a couple of permanent signs that had been hit, one at Fox Lane, Alrewas and one at The Green, Barton Green. These will need to be looked at on our next workday.

MAY 2014 - Ad -Hoc - Thursday 15th:

Actually this wasn't meant to be a workday, just a five minute job to repair a couple of ranger signs in Beacon Park!

Anyway, while walking my mom around Beacon Park the other day I noticed a couple of our signs had been damaged, probably due to a recent event there. So I rang Pete to see if we could meet up to fix the signs. It was all last minute stuff but as our new ranger Peter Dimeloe had missed the last workday due to flu and can't make the next one in June, Pete rang Peter just on the off chance he was free to join us. Luckily Peter had an hour to spare so we all met at Pete's.

We certainly completed a lot more than planned. So much more that I'll let the photos tell the story this time lol. However, it's worth noting that the signage in Beacon Park which Lyne Hamment agreed to do about two years ago with Ed Healey is still on Lyne's 'to do list' and probably won't ever get done. So, we thought we should do something, on a temporary basis of course. We used '54' stickers on three of the posts in the Beacon Park to stop people getting lost.

It was lovely to meet Peter who's really nice and an excellent ranger. Maybe it’s the Sustrans Ranger training but I think it's more likely Peter's engineering background as he took to the work brilliantly and came up with some really useful ideas!

A new '54' and 'arrow' stuck back on and one of the jobs we went to do was competed.

On the other side of the post the sign was completely missing and needed a new one... but we had a better idea!

Instead we, well Peter to be honest, fitted the recovered metal sign we had with us on a nearby post, perfect! 

Then we recovered another metal sign and fitted it to the other side of the post, are we clever or what!

Then we re-located a sign from one post to another making it much more visible.

We've also changed this rangers sign for a permanent one

Much better

And also utilised the reverse side of the sign

And just for good measure used an 'end of route' sign in case anyone misses the signs

While cycling back we couldn't resist doing something about the signage through Beacon Park. So a '54' went here.

And another '54' here, both at a crossroads in the middle of the park.

Then one more '54' just a few yards into the park by the registry office.

Sorted, i think we can safely say that people are less likely to get lost along this short section on NCN 54 through Beacon Park now.

MAY 2014 - Workday - Friday 2nd:

We had a very funny start to the workday. Pete rang Bob at 10am to see where he was but Bob was still in bed! So Bob rapidly set off to meet up with meet Pete, Jean and Jill at the Kingfisher cafe. Then Jean rang Bob saying she was cutting back vegetation, how embarrassing for the man! Bob finally got to the cafe at about 11am looking half asleep, so nothing new there then!

At the cafe Pete told us that our new ranger Peter Dimeloe couldn't join us as he'd caught the flu. We were all sorry to hear this as we were really looking forward to meeting Peter. Unfortunately Margaret and couldn't make it either but not to worry, we'll see them next time I'm sure. Anyway we went through the 'action list' as normal and of course had a coffee and bite to eat. However, for once, still being half asleep, Bob couldn't face a cooked breakfast!

After the refreshments and meeting we set off heading north to carry on where we left off last month. On the way we did a fair bit of spring cleaning and maintenance and finished at Alrewas. Bob then popped back to Pete's to get a two confirmation signs to put up between Fradley and Alrewas. The weather was quite nice so we managed to get lots done and have a bit of fun too.

On the outskirts of Fradley we cut the hedge back, straightened the post and fitted two confirmation signs.


On the A513 Alrewas we repaired the damaged ridged plastic sign from this.

To this by putting a new one on top of it!

Then we fitted an 'end of route' sign nearby just in case anyone misses the signs and go straight on here.

Then it was back to Pete's for the metal confirmation signs, putting one of them on this post in Sale Lane.

Confirmation sign fitted and post straightened and leaving the ranger sign on as it wouldn't come off.

The other sign was for this post in Daisy Lane and much needed looking at the traffic which included a double decker bus!

Much more visible and neater now!

We're now looking forward to our June workday when we'll be meeting up with Ed and Lisa to show them Jill's thoughts on a link route from Barton under Needwood to Barton marina. We're also hoping to meet our new ranger Peter and of course sample more refreshments lol.

APRIL 2014 - Friday 11th:

Well we had another lovely workday but unfortunately Jean, Margaret and Mick couldn't make it this month. Jill rode all the way down to Pete's with a noisy rear wheel which we fixed at Pete's house. Jill said the potholes in Netherstowe Lane have been marked by the council so we probably don't need to report them now. 

We set off from Pete's to check the signage between Lichfield and the end of our NCN 54 section near Burntwood. When we got to Minster Pool we adjusted a sign and while doing this we were approached by a nice lady. She was from the Civic Society and said the route through the car park wasnt' a good one. We explained we had approached the Friends of Minster Pool without much success. The lady agreed this was the best route and encouraged us to approach the Friends of Minster Pool again. Pete is going to ask Ed about this again.

As usual we couldn't help but have a coffee and nibble at a cafe. This time it was the one near Minster Pool. Some habits die hard lol. After the cafe, Jill led the ride. This was so that the signage could be checked with a fresh pair of eyes by a stranger to the route, which proved very useful! Jill immediately spotted a problem with the signs outside Ego's which Pete is going to ask the council to adjust. Jill then had another problem with the signs crossing the Western Bypass which we sorted on the spot by changing them.

When we got to the top of Abnalls Lane we erected the last of our large metal confirmation signs for this lane. Then at the Spade Green junction we erected two large directional signs. All of the signage we've done in the last few month in Abnalls Lane has made a huge difference, drivers can no longer miss the fact that it is a NCN cycle route now. Hopefully this will make it safer than it was and encourage people to cycle more.

On the way back we also affixed 4 ranger confirmation signs on the cycle route alongside Stowe Pool. More may be needed, not to help cyclists but to make pedestrians aware that it is a cycle route as some seem to think it is a dedicated footpath.

Wolworths car park sign adjusted but still needs the vegetation cutting back

Woolworths car park is a difficult route and a member of the civic society stopped us to say it should go via Minster Pool

Western Bypass the sign fixed and vegetation to be reported by Bob

Abnalls Lane and the last large metal sign being erected by the our main man

The first of the large metal directional signs at Spade Green erected

And finally the second large metal directional signs at Spade Green erected
All in all a brilliant days work and judging by the amount of cars which went past us on the 'access only' gated section of Abnalls Lane, it was a very much needed job done by us there. 

MARCH 2014 - Friday 7th:

The workday took place with Pete, Jill, Margaret and Mick. All were eager to get stuck in, even Jill who'd cycled all the way from Barton. Unfortunately Bob couldn't make it as he had to meet up with Ed and Lisa for a recce across Cannock Chase. Jean couldn't make it either as she was abroad having a bit of fun on a skiing holiday.

From what i gather Margaret and Mick did the honours

In addition to the meeting the group went out on the road and did a bit of work in Netherstowe Lane. It was to upgrade the small metal confirmation sign there to one of the bigger signs we now have in stock. This should help stop people missing the turning.

A job well done!

FEBRUARY 2014 - Friday 7th:

The workday went ahead as planned but with just Pete and Bob this time. The normal banter was missed but the weather was kind to us so we still managed a smile or two.

We started off by putting up some temporary signs in Netherstowe to replace the sign that's been removed, post an all! Then we made our way to Abnalls Lane where we put up five more large permanent confirmation signs. We also put up a small permanent confirmation sign at the bottom of Abnalls Lane, the previous one having gone missing.

Abnalls Lane now has 14 large permanent signs. That's twice as many and twice as big as before i.e. A4 size instead of A5 size! The thinking behind having more and bigger signs is not to tell cyclists they are on the route but to tell mortorists cyclists might be... so slow down!

All in all a very productive day, pity the rest of the gang were not able to make it but with a bit of luck we'll be back to normal next month.

You can't see the old sign or post where it used to be on the footpath - but you can see wheel marks in the grass which is probably where it ended up!

An extra sign at the top of Abnalls Lane

 Another further down very near to where the sign that got uprooted by a tractor - which still hasn't been replaced by SCC!

And another

And the last one being at the bottom of Abnalls Lane

We put up two temporary signs and six permanent signs, not a bad days work.

JANUARY 2014 - 9th January:

Jill cycled to Fradley and met up with Pete and Bob who had cycled there from Lichfield only to find it was a Thursday not a Friday and so the Kingfisher cafe running to its winter schedule was therefore closed. Not to worry we went across to the other canal cafe and had a cuppa there instead. After this we cycled up to Barton to meet Jean who despite having been to the dentist that morning turned up on time and ready to do business, that's commitment for you.

There's not much to say about our first meeting of 2014 really as we didn't do much work to be honest. Apart from cleaning a sign in Alrewas and cutting back a few branches in Netherstowe Lane. So, no photos this month i'm afraid.
The main reason for meeting up was to go through our action list in detail and see what we still have on it for 2014. In addition we had a chat about the Stakeholder Day in Barton-under-Needwood which Jill is going to try and attend to put forward some ideas. 
In summary i think we can say without any doubt that we did an awful lot of work in 2013 and it will be hard to match that amount of work in 2014 but you never know!

DECEMBER 2013 - 6th December:

Five of us made it this month despite the weather. Pete, Margaret, Mick, Jill and Bob all met up at the Kingfisher Cafe and had the usual refreshments and a long natter. Unfortunately Jean couldn't be with us due to feeling poorly. So we took the opportunity to talk about Jean a lot instead of Sustrans stuff... only joking, we did talk about Jean a little but only in a nice way!

After the cafe Margaret and Mick cycled home on their posh new folding bikes. Pete, Jill and Bob cycled up to Barton removing ivy from a sign in Alrewas and noting locations for additional signs next year. At Barton we had more nibbles, drinks and fixed Jill's rear v brake. Brakes, now i could say a lot about this but i wont. I'll just say after fitting the correct 'noodle' to Jill's rear v brake Pete and Bob found it easy to get on and off as did Jill after a lot, sorry i mean a bit of technical training lol.

On the way back Bob stopped at a sign in Netherstowe Lane that we spotted on the way up to the cafe. It's the one we cleared branches from a couple of months ago. Since then the hedge cutter has been along, which is good because the hedges around there are much better now. The only downside being it's damaged the sign, spun it around and loosened the post. Anyway, Margaret and Mick kindly said they'd go back and cut down the surrounding branches so the hedge cutter doesn't need to get so close to it next time. All good fun isn't it. Next week the meal, even better!

 Netherstowe Lane sign - How we found it in October 2013

Netherstowe Lane sign - How we left it in October 2013
Netherstowe Lane sign - How we found it in December 2013

Netherstowe Lane sign - How we left it in December 2013 - Those branches behind it need chopping down as far as possible!

The V-Brake saga - The correct noodle fitted and a bit of training - Sorted!

NOVEMBER 2013 - Ad hoc - 11th November

Pete and Bob decided to meet up and give the signs we recovered from Abnalls Lane a repair and cleaning session. Bob did the cleaning while Pete did the repairing oh and made a cuppa!

After the signs were back up to scratch for re-use we decided to do just that, re-use one. The ideal site was at the end of Netherstow Lane just down the road from Pete's house. One down and another five of these in stock so we'll have to think which locations need them the most.

Not a good photo but the new sign is on the left. It's a good confirmation sign and should help people to know they have to go up Netherstow Lane.

One of the recovered signs, repaired and cleaned up!

Then off to put up one of the recovered signs at a useful location.

A somewhat better photo - Almost looks like a new sign.


Pete, Jean, Jill, Mick and Bob all met up at Chapters. Unfortunately Margaret couldn't make it due to the builders coming in. With rain forecast we decided to make it a short café stop this time with no bacon butty for Bob lol. Jill who'd cycled all the way from Barton decided to head home in order to avoid getting soaked on the way back.

We all headed off for Abnalls Lane with Bob sporting his new 'jet pack', sorry, ladder pack lol. Unfortunately when we got there Jean spotted that she'd got a puncture and so reluctantly decided to call it a day and push her bike back to the car.

Changing the signs went surprisingly well especially with Pete's ratchet spanner and the warning signs we used. As it turned out we didn't need to use the ladders at all. The only sign we couldn’t do was the one still in the ditch having been hit by a tractor a couple of weeks ago which SCC are dealing with. We were kept going mostly thanks to Margaret making some food for us which Mick bought along with him, thanks Margaret!

So, all in all we were well pleased with the day's work. The new bigger cycle signs should make motorists more aware that this lane is a cycle route and a bike, or anything really, might be just around the corner! 

So how many men does it take to change a sign... Just one to take the old sign down!

And three to put the new sign up lol. 

Bob's off with his jet pack, i mean ladders!

At the next sign Jean spotted she'd got a puncture.

Further up the lane by that farmers field another old sign about to be changed.

Sign changed and notice the warning triangle, yes all the warning signs were in place!

And the last sign to be done was by Dark Lane, no sign on this post.  

But there is now!


The October workday went ahead despite the forecast of possible rain. We all met up at the Kingfisher café for our usual chat and refreshments. The main attraction at the Kingfisher being Margaret and Mick's new folding bikes, they're brilliant... and the bikes aren't bad either ha! ha! Towards the end of the day it did rain a little but by that time we were at Chapters café so not a problem. In-between the Kingfisher café and Chapters café we actually did do some work ha! ha!

During the workday we cleared vegetation covering signs in Netherstowe Lane and put a new bracket on one of them. We also moved some signs on the cycle path near Stowe Pool. Just for good measure we put up an extra sign by Ego's restaurant, something we been intending to do since spotting the need for one way back in January.

Unfortunately Pete and Jill couldn’t make it this month, which was a shame as it's not the same without them. However, James from the 'Lichwheeled' group joined us which made for some really interesting discussions at the Kingfisher café. James also helped us with the work we did on the ride down to Lichfield which was really appreciated and he also took some photos of us working! So, a big thank you James, it was really nice to have you with us.

Onwards and upwards, with a bit of luck we'll have the signs for Abnalls Lane soon and if so we'll be able to make a start on that task next month.

Margaret and Mick's brand new folding bikes, they're brilliant and have all the latest gadgets on them.

The 1st job was in Netherstow Lane, cutting back the hedge so the sign is visible.

Fitting the missing bracket was next, on tip toes!

Hey presto, 1st job sorted!

The 2nd job was another sign in Netherstow Lane - The biggest problem was finding it.

The great escape being attempted by Jean before work starts on the sign at St Chads Road... almost made it lol.

Result... a new sign at St Chads Road, now much more visible.

The re-positioned sign in Reeves Lane, moved from the middle of a hedge to a nearby lamp post.

And finally, the extra sign by Ego's in Bird Street. This should stop cyclists continuing along the main road into Swan Road.


Well, what can I say, another wet workday, just like the last one in August. Not a problem for the three musketeers Jill, Jean and Bob, so the workday went ahead as planned. Mind you we did delay the start a little!

Of course the first place to head for was the café for coffee and some huge bacon butties which were lovely. After this it was off up NCN 54 to the Dunstall junction where we fitted two new metal signs along with some confirmation and end of route signs too just for good measure. Next it was further up to the Tatenhill junction, all that was needed here was a couple of signs on the reverse of metal ones and an end of route sign.

With the signage work over we went back to Barton where Jill kindly provided refreshments, thanks Jill, it kept us going. We also had another look at Jill's new eco friendly car, very nice it is too.

After our little break we did a recce of a possible new link route from Barton to the NMA which Jill has discovered on her travels. It's a lovely route passing the quarry, railway and river. Well done finding it Jill, it certainly has a lot of merit and hopefully you'll be successful with this. 

On the way back to Barton I decided to check out the overgrown vegetation along the A38 footpath between Alrewas and Wychnor. You guessed it, I was told by the Highways Agency it had been done but... well I'll let you decide from the photos on the 'action list photos' page of this blog. I can't repeat here what i was thinking when i took the photos but i might well do when i speak to the Highways Agency!

 Dunstall - Two metal signs fitted to fingerpost

 Tatenhill - Two temporary signs fitted to the reverse of metal signs along with end of route sign up the road

AUGUST 2013:

Our August workday was another very successful one, despite the weather. Five of us turned up, Pete, Jean, Jill, Mick and Bob. Pete and Jean were both feeling a bit poorly so special thanks is deserved to both for making it to Fradley. Big thanks also goes out to Jill for making it on the day as it must have been a bit on the wet and windy side cycling all the way from Barton.   

There was a lot to talk about this month so the meeting lasted a lot longer than normal, about two hours I think. In the main due to issues raised by James, John, Jonathan and Liz. Yes, there's lots of other people besides us taking a keen interest in cycling at the moment. I didn’t mind the long meeting because it was raining outside and the Kingfisher café is an excellent place to take refuge, especially when you fancy one of their lovely breakfasts lol.

Prior to the meeting we did the signs that Ed requested be put up by the underpass on Eastern Aveneue. After the meeting Pete, Mick and Jean left to go home. Pete being chauffeured by Jean with her cleaver bike rack. Jill and myself decided to do a bit more signing on the NMA link route despite the rain, we're hard lol. We found the spot that Jean's friends got lost and sorted that with a couple of signs but also did a bit of vegetation clearance here and there and put up another sign near the NMA.

All in all a very productive workday, onwards and upwards next month to tackle the Tatenhill signs no doubt!

Sorry about the poor quality photos, my camera had set itself to the lowest quality setting,  or perhaps Pete did it so as he couldn't be recognised getting a lift in the picture below lol.

Another poor quality shot - This time of the new sign we did at the Sittles to stop people going straight on at a bend in the road.

JULY 2013:

We have been lucky, weather-wise, with our Sustrans Fridays this year – even during the bitter spring, our monthly workdays avoided the worst of the wind and snow – and the last two,  in June and July, both dawned warm and sunny; perfect conditions for our planned signing of the re-route round Barton. After having made a start in June, and now helped by the welcome addition of Mick and  Marg, we convened at the Kingfisher Cafe in Fradley, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the completion of the task.

Preliminaries over – as ever, we looked on and listened in admiration as Bob talked us through his immaculate spreadsheets detailing tasks completed and outstanding – we got down to discussing the important business of the day; finding a free evening to meet up at Jean’s for a midsummer social evening. One of the great assets of the Lichfield Volunteer Rangers is the range of talents and expertise everyone brings to the table and, as we left the cafe, Pete was on hand to advise Jill how best to look after her new Pashley, while Marg demonstrated how to ride it with her characteristic style and aplomb.

On the way to Barton we were able to take advantage of one of the benefits of the recent re-route round Alrewas, by stocking up with homemade preserves from the garden shop in Post Office Lane.

Arriving in Barton and, sustained by some refreshingly cool orange juice, Bob quickly got down to work and, putting his years of BT experience to good use, scaled Jean’s indispensable ladder to sort both old and new signs at The Green/Short Lane junction. Moving round to Church Lane, even the luscious foliage of the churchyard was no match for Mick as he effortlessly sawed through a forest of holly branches to ensure the new signs would be fully visible from all angles.

By now it was early afternoon and, with the temperature hovering around 30 degrees, Marg organised the take-away sandwiches and we adjourned to Jill’s garden for some well-deserved recuperation and refreshments.

And, as the first Friday in July traditionally heralds the climax of the Wimbledon fortnight, what better way to celebrate a productive and enjoyable day, than with a cool, refreshing glass of Pimm’s?

The Barton under Needwood re-route - Agreed by the Council and completed by us! - The new route is shown in red.

After coffee and nibbles in the Kingfisher, Jill's Pashley was given a go outside the Kingfisher.

First by Margaret.

Then by Pete.


After which it was off to Barton and all hands to the task of getting Jean's amazing ladders up.

Never mind about the post, is the sign straight?

Next it was onto the main road crossroads and some clever work using no more nails on some signs like this.

And this.


And the re-use of some signs using the 'double sided sign' approach.

Like this.

After which is was off to Jill's. This empty Pimm’s bottle is clear evidence of a successful day.


 July's workday summary was skillfully written by Jill Phillip which can also be seen on Jill's blog

 Thanks Jill, it's a brilliant description of the day..... Bob

JUNE 2013:

The workday on June 7th was an eventful one, so much so that I've asked Jill if she would do the script as she'll be able to describe it all so much better than i ever could.

All i will say is that the weather was fantastic but the re-route was only partly completed as we're going to have to use lots of rigid plastic signs instead of re-using the permanent metal ones on the concrete lamp posts as planned.

On returning to Lichfield Bob popped to do the long awaited reverse side of the signs on Eastern Avenue, just got to straighten the post now!

MAY 2013:

The workday in May went ahead and was a little different to normal for two reasons. Firstly because we had two new faces with us i.e. James and John from the ‘Lichwheeled’ group who came to observe what we get up to and who we hope to see again. Secondly because we had the planned re-route in Alrewas to do!

Pete, Bob, Margaret, James and John met up at Pete’s house while Jean joined us on the route to Alrewas. Once in Alrewas we headed… no, not to the first sign but to the nearest café lol. After an hour or so of chatting and coffee’s we headed into the village. Armed with signs, tools and some impressive ladders that Jean bought with her we got started. The first signs we tackled in Main Street were much higher than normal ones and so Jean’s ladders proved essential in reaching them. Jean’s ladders also came in useful for Pete to reach a tree branch which was close to obscuring the signs, there’s a story behind that branch but I’ll leave this for another time lol. After that it was plain sailing as they say and so the re-route was complete.

It was a great days work and one which proved to be very successful. It was also great having James and John with us, they are really nice people and gave some very useful input on the day.

The Alrewas re-route - Agreed by the Council and completed by us! - The new route is shown in red.
The unfolding...
The unfolded...

The jubiee clips

The climbing...

The first sign done...
The last sign done...

So with lots of other signs between the two it's all done!

APRIL 2013 - 2nd workday: 

Our extra workday in order to meet fellow rangers from Stafford went ahead but unfortunately with Pete, Margaret and Mick who couldn't make it. So Bob, Jill and Jean met Dave Powell and Lucie and Colin Mussellwhite in the Kingfisher Café at Fradley Junction and chatted for a good two hours swapping ideas and learning lots from each other. It was lovely to meet them and we intend to return the compliment later this year.

After the meeting Jill, Bob, Jean and Jeans friends Jenny and Tony headed off north to Jill’s. Along the way we did spring cleaning between Alrewas and Barton putting up a few more signs, including the warning signs of ‘footpath for 400 yards - rough track’ for the notorious Green Lane.

After lovely cakes and coffee at Jill’s we headed back to Lichfield, stopping now and then to do a bit of ‘geocaching’. Getting back to  the Kingfisher Café later than expected, Jean was relieved to see the café car park was still open so panic over, her car was not locked in, phew!

The meeting of Lichfield and Stafford Rangers.

Bob with Jean's new brush risking life and limb on the nasty Wychnor bridge - The sign needs moving to the lamp post on the right!

And finally, the long awaited NCN sign with information about Green Lane is in place... But the 'NO CYCLES' sign will no doubt still confuse people as it intimates you can't even push your bike down this track.

APRIL 2013 - 1st workday: 

Well, this workday was bit on the nippy side but after chatting in the Kingfisher Café at Fradley it had warmed up, so we set off towards Alrewas.

In Alrewas we took photos of the re-route for the Parish Council’s perusal. We also adjusted a permanent sign and re-fixed it using jubilee clips then put a sign on the blank side of it. We also put up a new rigid confirmation sign on a concrete lamp post using ‘no more nails’ adhesive. Oh, we also got to see Jean using her brilliant idea of an extending cleaning tool, it works a treat and so much better than having to climb. 

Of course, another coffee break was in order at the Crack Pots Café lol. Afterwards we made our way back to Lichfield doing more spring cleaning and vegetation clearance. When we got back to Fradley we popped into the Kingfisher again, well you have to don’t you lol.

Jean with her ingenious idea of using an extending cleaning brush - brilliant!

MARCH 2013:

So, another great workday and the weather had picked up just in time for us. Jill cycled all the way from Barton for the meeting, Jean came from Rugeley and Margaret and Mick were back with us once again, how nice was that! Of course Pete and Bob were there too, well Bob had to be because he needed a bacon butty lol.

As planned we had a useful meeting then set off towards Burntwood for a bit of ‘spring cleaning’. We bagan at the start of our section, the top of Abnalls Lane. Working our way back, cleaning signs and adjusting the odd one or two, we decided that Abnalls Lane was dangerous and could do with a few extra signs, not for the cyclists but to remind drivers that cyclists might be around the next corner!

Jean and Margaret headed home when we got into Lichfield while Pete and Bob continued to Pete’s house for a cuppa. Along the way they cleaned and adjusted more signs but also noticing a lack of signs by Ego’s so took a photo of where one needs to go and fixed a new confirmation sign opposite Ego’s. They also installed new signs around Stowe Pool. There definitely is a lack of confirmation signs, something we’ll sort out in 2013.

Chapters - Refreshed and ready to hit the road!

Abnalls Lane - Up and running.

The wooden post in the middle of the photo is where a sign needs to go.



Well, the February meeting / workday certainly was a good one and a little different this month with 8 of us turning up at Jill’s house in Barton.
Yes, 8 of us… Pete, Jean, Jill, Margaret, Mick and Bob plus special guests, Ed Healey and Lisa Hartley from Sustrans. Of course we had the usual lovely cuppa or two and a delicious cake or two but this time the cuppa’s and cakes were extra special being homemade by Jill, so a big thank you for that Jill. Then came a surprise, the surprise being a Sustrans ‘Smilage Certificate of Thanks’ award which was presented to us by Lisa. This was really appreciated and left us all a little speechless for a change ha! ha! After this we had a good meeting which included plans for the year ahead and included several possible re-routes.

After the meeting we set off towards Lichfield to recce the re-routes and get Ed’s advice on these, which we did and very useful advice it was too. We got the go ahead to approach the relative authorities re the Barton and Alrewas re-routes. As for the Green Lane re-route, that proved not possible at this stage due to the somewhat unsafe footpath along the A38. Never mind, it was all good advice and 2 out of 3 ain't bad as the band Meat Loaf once said in their song!

When we got to Alrewas Ed and Lisa left us to go back to the office. The rest of us meandered into the George and Dragon for more refreshments of course!

Our lovely award and guess what, thanks to Margaret, we had an article in the Lichfield Mercury about our award, how nice is that!

And not all but most of the people in the team that won it, who are also nice!


At Alrewas



And so, our first meeting/workday in 2013 was had and a good one it turned out to be too. The weather was perfect, and the company not bad either ha! ha! As planned, Pete, Jean, Jill and Bob met up at the George and Dragon pub in Alrewas. The pub turned out to be cycle friendly and Graham the landlord made us very welcome. Graham even took photos of us under his vintage CTC sign outside of the pub. We had the usual cuppas and Pete even tried out the ale, well why not, it’s something you can’t get at our usual cafe stops!

We had a really good natter about the successful year behind us and work in the new year to come. We also met a nice couple from Tamworth with their lovely lurcher but couldn’t convince them to join our band of rangers. A couple of hours later we all set off home again, Jean with a big grin on her face as she was thinking about her flight out to a skiing resort the next morning, were we envious, na, oh OK, yes we were!

On the way back to Lichfield, Pete and Bob did a bit of hedge cutting and stuck the missing ‘54’ labels on the reverse side of the sign at the bottom of Abnalls Lane. We also rang Lichfield District Council about the re-development of Friary Shopping Centre, asking what plans they had for cycle friendly routes within the scheme. Not sure was the answer and email us with the query was the suggestion, which we did without delay!

Notice the CTC sign, nice one!

So, we’re now looking forward to meeting up with Ed Healey and Lisa Hartley at our February meeting (Friday 1st Feb). We’re hoping to take them around some possible re-routes in Barton and Alrewas village centres plus the dreaded Green Lane! Yea, you’re right, it’s not green at all, it’s muddy, very muddy... and you have to get off ya bike and walk through part of it ha! ha! 


Pete and Bob met up at Autumn Drive around 10 am. After repairing a puncture in his rear tyre that morning, Bob noticed it had gone down again. So, off with the tyre again only to find no puncture. It remains a mystery because the tyre stayed inflated all day, even with a heavy load on the panniers!

Pete and Bob met Jean and Jill at the cafe in Alrewas, a little late due to the tyre thing. Anyway, we began the workday in good style, namely a cuppa and a tea cake, well, you have to support these village cafes don’t you ha! ha!

Next, we set off to check the route to Barton. Along the way we identified some important issues, like the dangerous location at the junction of the A38 and Micklehome Drive plus another dangerous location on the narrow road bridge at the junction of the A38 and Wychnor Lane. We also risked the muddy official route along Green Lane which proved interesting. Not only did we get plastered in mud we also encountered a local resident who lives in Green Lane (which he says is a footpath) who asked us what we were doing. Jean bravely went over and spoke to the gentleman, followed by the rest of us once we knew it was safe to do so ha! ha! A quick cleaning of one sign and in no time we were at Jill’s house where we had a meeting, oh and a cuppa and more food (thanks Jill). After that we swapped over some pedals for Jill then Pete and Bob made their way back to Lichfield.

On the way home, Pete and Bob stopped at the junction of the A38 and Micklehome Drive in Alrewas to re-locate a couple of permanent signs. The signs were being completely obscured by trees in their original location so they were moved onto a Sustrans post on the opposite side of the road, the signs not the trees ha! ha!  We also took the opportunity to fit temporary signs onto the blank side of these signs, killing two birds with one stone so to speak.

All in all not a bad day. The weather was good given it was November, we got plenty of work done and we stopped twice for cuppa’s and nibbles, nice one!

The problem - The signs are being hidden by trees, Pete had to look long and hard to find them!

The solution - Move the signs over to the left hand side of the road where there are no trees.

The plus - Make additional improvements by utilising the blank side of permanent signs.

Green Lane - A difficult section due to muddy conditions and because you have to dismount as it's a public footpath for 400 yards - but we have ideas about this!

In the short term we're going to install a sign similar to the one below onto the post at the junction of Green Lane - See above photo. We're also looking into another short term soloution of re-routing NCN54 along a few hundred yards of the A38 footpath.

The long term solution to the WychnorWychnor Lane junction and the Green Lane muddy walk - A possible project to re-route NCN 54 along the canal between Wychnor Lane and Dogshead Lane which is about 500 metres. Fortunately the tow path is wide enough to make a cycle route both feasible and safe. It's a great idea but a big project and where would the funding come from i ask myself!

Looking south from the Doghead Lane bridge.

 Looking north from the Wychnor Lane Bridge.


We met up in the trusty Kingfisher Cafe at Fradley Junction, for, you guessed it, coffee and nibbles! Actually, we also had a good meeting, Pete, Jean, Jill and I had a good chat and went through the action list. We also added a new item to the action list that Jill had ridden all the way from Barton to tell us about.

After the meeting, Pete, Jean and I set off back towards Lichfield seeking out those outstanding tasks. We did quite well in the end, particularly Jean with her keen observational skills which meant she kept having to stop and cut back brambles etc, something that Pete and I seemed incapable of spotting! Jean also identified a few places that needed extra signage, which we completed. We also removed two defaced signs at the rear of Netherstowe School for cleaning, erected the permanent sign in Dam St and affixed temporary signs on the back of the permanent ones at the bottom of Abnalls Lane.

A good and productive day enjoyed by all I think!

So, Instead of this old temporary sign.

We now have this nice new permanent sign in Dam Street.



We met at the Kingfisher Cafe at Fradley Junction and were pleased to see a new face, namely David Lambourn from Birmingham.

After a great chat with David, passing ideas between each other, oh and a lovely bite to eat, a cuppa or two and an ice cream to finish off with, we set off towards Alrewas. We checked out a few signs there and cleared a bit of vegetation, after which, along with having to mount the footpath to avoid an oncoming bus, we concluded a re-route through Alrewas would be a really good idea. On the way back we cleared a few more signs of braches etc. We also spotted a brand new jerry can on the grass verge near Fradley which was half full of petrol. We reported the jerry can to the council who said they would come and collect it. After clearing a few more signs of very overgrown hedges in Netherstowe Lane (which the council really ought to be doing) we cycled down to Eastern Avenue. There we ‘adjusted’ a permanent sign by the Toucan crossing which had been reported to us as miss leading and had made the person go down Eastern Avenue instead of up Netherstowe Lane.

AUGUST 2012:

The August workday on Friday 10th August went ahead thanks to Jill and Jean. Jill checked out the signage around the Shobnall area in response to a report that it was poor but found it to be OK. Jill along with Jean also took photos of a possible new route for NCN54 through Barton in order to send them to Ed Healey for progressing with the Council. Well done girls, you did the team proud.

Shobnall one of the photos that Jill took, proof that signs are still in place.


JULY 2012:

Sorry, no photos of the workday, it was far too wet to take pictures and i got soaked so not much work done either, just one temporary sign stuck to a post in Daisy Lane to replace the permanent on we recovered and a bit of hedge cutting in Netherstowe Lane.

The only photo taken was on an ad-hoc job to re-fix a temporary sign (rigid) we had previously stuck to a lamp post in Barton a few weeks beforehand. A bit more 'no more nails' and the job was done. It's seems to be holding really well now and a much better idea than straps and the like. So, this may well be the way forward when trying to fix rigid signs to concrete lamp posts etc in the future.

The advanced right turn sign at Barton Under Needwood T junction.


JUNE 2012:

On on our way to the NMA we did a little hedge cutting and redundant sign removal , oh and had breakfast at Fradley Junction, lovely! We arrived at the NMA in no time at all due to a strong tail wind. While there we took a photo of the NCN plaque in the car park which Margaret had worked so hard to get permission for. The ride home was not so fast due to what was now a strong head wind. Oh well, you cant have everything!

Pete, looking very official!

MAY 2012:

Our extra workday in May

After a long ride up to Stretton in Burton on Trent against a Strong head wind we started our recce of the new and old routes in the area. The yellow signs on the old route have now been removed and the new route which is much better and has nice new permanent blue signs is in use.

The old.

And the new.

They certainly are well blessed with plenty of signs in Burton, at this spot there's even a Sustrans

We also did a short ride to the Lichfield Trent Valley rail station car park. A bit ingenuity i.e. blue tac and hey presto, we took a photo of what the proposed Sustrans plaque and sign will look like. After a few emails and phone calls to Midland Rail, Pete met up with their representative who agreed to let us install them permanently. Pete even got a free cuppa during the meeting!

The plaque has now been permanently fixed to the wall using our trusty tube of 'no more nails'.

Our first workday in May.

The infamous MK 1 trailer-ladder, after pulling it from Lichfield to Burton and back again Pete was almost as worn out as stacker truck linkage lol.

Bob and Pete with Bob on his knees again!

And then at Tatenhill, it was a matter of thinking, now where shall we put the extra sign... that is the question, Bob was looking unsure of what to do again!


APRIL 2012:

At last, the long awaited Link Route between Lichfield Trent Valley Station and NCN 54 at Netherstowe. We almost managed to complete the task but with just a couple of signs left to do... down came the rain. Anyway, after taking refuge in a pet shop for a while and buying a couple of things we braved the elements again an did the last few signs. Oh and then we went back to Pete's for a cuppa Well, a groups gotta do what a groups gotta do!

Margaret looks nice and warm in this photo.

Jean and Pete, Jeans the one with a big smile!

MARCH 2012:

Renumbering the NCN 5 as NCN 54 between Lichfield and Burntwood. Pete Keane our group coordinator built the trailer/ladder shown in the photos just in time for the job and it was brilliant. Pete even brought a ladder tie to ensure the equipment was safe to use. Thanks Pete, you're an innovative star!

Just about all of us are on these photos, Jean, Jill, Pete, Mick and Bob!

MARCH 2012:

The long awaited NMA sign in a larger font finally installed so that cyclists (like Margaret and Mick lol) don't miss the turning!


Installing the link route sign to NCN 54 at Fradley Junction.

 Sue and Pete, Sue's the one doing the work!

JUNE 2011:

Sue, Pete and Bob in the grounds of Chapters Cafe in Lichfield relaxing with a cup of coffee. We do a lot of that ha! ha!

MARCH 2011:

Spring workday on the NCN 54 cycle route through Netherstowe.

Margaret, Mick and Pete who's directing the operation and with a nice smile too!