2018 - February - Friday 9th:

It was a very cold afternoon but Pete, Mick and Bob still met up in Chapters cafe as planned. Unfortunately Margaret and Jean couldn't make it this month. As the weather was very cold and windy the lads decided to just have a meeting and leave the last of the faded NCN '5' stickers until next month. 

During the meeting Mick went through the suggested route via Gaia Lane to avoid NCN 54 going through 'the car park'. Mick is going to send the details to Dan and Edward for their thoughts. Another item on the agenda was the completion of the A51 Western Bypass cycle path. After four long years of pushing for this to be done it's finally been completed. In the main this is thanks to Edward Healey at Sustrans.

The volunteers were so pleased about the A51 work being completed that they decided to brave the cold and take a look at it. As can be seen in the photos below, the work is of a high standard all the way from the Toucan crossing to Abnalls Lane, perfect!

2018 - January - Friday 5th:

For the 1st workday of the New Year everyone met up at Margaret and Mick's house. The weather was quite bad so the volunteers decided to settle down to a meeting and see if the weather improved before getting on their bikes and starting work on the NCN.

As it turned out the weather didn't get much better during the meeting so it went on for longer than usual. Lots of items were discussed including some possible new cycle routes in Lichfield. SCC's lack of action regarding the A51 cycle path was also discussed. On a positive note, Margaret said she thinks a new volunteer might be on the horizon. Happily Margaret supplied lots of refreshments during the meeting which made it a really enjoyable one.

When the meeting ended the weather still hadn't improved much and so the tasks for the day were abandoned. With a bit of luck they will get done on the next workday in February, weather permitting of course!

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!

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