Friday, May 19

Wednesfield Area Wanderings

Another sunny Thursday morning means another local walk updating my archive with new photos of familiar areas. With the weather smiling on me once more, I take aim at wider Wednesfield with the intention of gathering pictures covering Old Fallings, The Scotlands, Long Knowle and Ashmore Park...

- Fallings Park Primary -

Wednesday's rain has fortunately given way to blue skies mixed with a handful of cheerful clouds as I set out along Whitgreave Avenue passing the former site of the Highcroft. Old Fallings Lane allows me to maintain my recent diet of school entrance signage with both Fallings Park Primary and Our Lady & St Chad's Catholic Academy on hand for extra educational coverage. The Otter and Vixen curiously insists it isn't closing as I pass the junction of Croft Lane/Fifth Avenue, then the Cannock Road roundabout has two churches for me to contend with although Our Lady of Perpetual Succour is much more impressive architecturally than its United Reformed counterpart.

- Scotlands Homezone -

I covered a little section of the Cannock Road during my Underhill walk two weeks ago but this time around it marks my approach to The Scotlands. I can just about remember the Plough pub near the turn for Mill Lane (now the site of a drive-thru McDonalds) then the Homezone decorating store also prompts a few childhood memories. I seem to recall there once being a tatty corner shop on the other side of the island where the Domino's pizza place latterly stands while other local stores include Zaras Plaice takeaway, the Fruit Tree greengrocers and a branch of the Nationwide building society.

- Blackwood Avenue backdrop -

The recollections continue along Blackhalve Lane where a Lidl supermarket replaced the Royal Oak a few years ago (somewhere in my back catalogue I've got a couple of pictures of the pub just before it was demolished). Blackwood Avenue leads me into Long Knowle, scene of Green Bus photos in times gone by - the flats are still there, as is the playing field and the primary school although you won't get a vintage breadvan trundling by these days; the estate is currently served by the 65 route linking Wolverhampton, New Cross Hospital and Fordhouses whereas the Green Bus used to go to Essington and Cannock. 

- Devils Elbow Bridge -

Wood End is next, keeping me busy with pubs past and present.  The Noah's Ark has been converted into a One Stop outlet but the Pheasant is still trading and remains a handsome building in a neo-Georgian style. A Ridge Lane rummage reveals that Dave's Supersave on Wootton Avenue has closed, then I can take a towpath timeout by joining the Wyrley & Essington Canal at Moathouse Bridge. Nesting swans and suburban back gardens accompany me along the short stretch to Devils Elbow, noting en route the narrow spot where Moat Green Bridge was formerly located.

- Griffiths Drive Co-op -

Arriving into Ashmore Park, I quickly account for the new Co-op store built on part of the Ashmore pub's car park (the pub itself has thankfully been retained after being under threat of closure). Other amenities to be found along Griffiths Drive include St Alban's Church, a health centre, Corpus Christi Church and School, and the community hub (comprising library, cafe, fitness suite and sports hall). The local park has been a favourite haunt over the course of various sporadic visits to the estate, and I also enjoy exploring the earthworks by the shopping parade which represent the remains of a medieval moated farmhouse. It's then just a case of catching the 59 into Wolverhampton and another productive couple of hours has flown by.

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