For some time now, regular visitors to the Gravel Hill section of the Brook who then proceed to the Railway Walk will have long noticed and become accustomed to the modification that has been made to the swing gate/kissing gate leading from the Wom Brook Walk onto the Railway Walk.
This modification (see above photo, no.2) was forced due to the constant vandalism directed at the original gate (Photo 1). At one point, the actual gate was removed by vandals. Although the new barrier was initially difficult to negotiate, gradually regular walkers have perfected a side-step technique when passing through this section of the walk, which would be the envy of any rugby team!
The barrier is an attempt to restrict the passage of horses and motor cyclists onto the Wom Brook Walk, where previously riders have ridden their horses into the Brook, eroding previously repaired stream banks, while uninsured motor cyclists have driven their motor cycles indiscriminately along the footpaths forcing walkers out of the way.
Staying in the same location of the last entry in this Wom Brook Weblog, the same section of ground leading down to the Wom Brook was cut by the South Staffordshire Council earlier in October, in keeping with what can only be described as a centuries’ old tradition of cutting and harvesting long grass for winter animal feed and bedding.
That wasn’t the reason for cutting back the area of grass land that had almost been left fallow, but in order to encourage new growth next spring, and thus consolidate and maintain the re-establishment of scarcer forms of plant life that under the previous regime of cutting, never had a chance to grow.
Such a wild area also re-establishes a habitat for mini-beasts, which in turn will attract other species to the area.
The footpath leading in an easterly direction away from the Railway Walk down to the northern bank of the Wom has in parts been slowly eroding away due to rainwater run-off, caused by successive periods of heavy rainfall since the South Staffordshire Council initially resurfaced the pathway.
Until very recently, this invariably led to a pool of water collecting mid-way down the path, often accompanied by silt, making a section of the path muddy and slippery for several days. Recent work completed last week (Tuesday 1/11/05) has seen a series of gravel drainage channels being sunk at right angles to the path. These should be visible in the foreground of the above photo.
The recent spate of heavy rain has not so far washed sections of the path away