Posts Tagged ‘Staines Moor’

Another cycling problem

Thursday, May 28th, 2020

My cycling for exercise continues, but not entirely without incident. I had a day off from exercise on Saturday, when the furthest I went was to walk to the bottom of our garden, perhaps around 30 yards. I got more exercise from the twenty or thirty times a day I walk up and down the stairs, though its only 13 steps.

Staines Reservoir South

Sunday I did get on a bike, for a leisurely ride with Linda, mainly along cycle paths and bridleways. We locked our bikes at the bottom of a footpath that leads up the side of one of the Staines Reservoirs to the path between them. It’s apparently a top bird-watching site, but all we’ve ever seen there is the occasional duck and gull. There was a small bird sitting on a post too far away to identify but possibly a pied wagtail, common around here.

Spot the bird – possibly a duck

We cycled on and took a path to Stanwell Moor, returning to Staines along the bridleway which leads down beside the King George VI reservoir, rather bumpy for cycling but usually deserted, though for some reason we met several largish family groups walking back from Staines Moor. People do go there to paddle in the River Colne in hot weather.

Wraysbury River and M25

Monday I again went to Stanwell Moor, but taking the rather better bridleway beside the M25. It gets a little narrow after a small Thames Water site beside the Wraysbury River, and I put on a face mask for this and the next section where its seldom possible to keep proper distancing when passing others – though there were very few I passed going in either direction. It’s difficult to know why the river is called the Wraysbury River (or Wyrardisbury River) as it doesn’t go to Wraysbury; a stream from it does flow to join the Colne Brook which does – or why locals have always called it the Wraysbury River rather then the River Wraysbury – which Google maps confounds by changing between the two at the Staines By-pass, but the many streams of the lower Colne are altogether something of a mystery.) I made a short diversion at Leylands Lane walking along a narrow footpath that leads to a weir on one of the at least 3 streams of the River Colne here, then retracing my steps to Horton Road to go past the former mill on the main stream there before continuing on to Stanwell Moor Road to return to Staines along the now resurfaced cycle path. What used to be an often painful ride with concrete blocks not quite meeting every few yards jolting the buttocks is now smooth tarmac and a pleasure to ride.

River Colne, Horton Road, Stanwell Moor

Tuesday I decided it was time to face a proper hill again, rather than just the odd railway and motorway bridge we have in our part of Middlesex, and made my way up Egham Hill and Middle Hill to Englefield Green. This time I changed to my smaller chainwheel before the ascent (I’ve learnt it takes a little nudge from my heel to actually get it to move), and while I didn’t find the hill easy arrived at the point I gave up last week feeling much healthier. But I was very much panting for breath, far more than normal. Though I’ve fortunately not had real breathing problems, whatever virus I’d had and still haven’t completely shaken off has clearly left me with some reduction in lung function, and I needed to take a few minutes to get my breath back before continuing on the gentle rise.

Cemetery, Englefield Green

Once at the top it was a really pleasant ride through the village, stopping briefly to take a couple of photographs at the cemetery, then again as I went downhill past Royal Holloway College, and I was really enjoying the ride along the shady undulating road towards Virginia Water when disaster struck. Finding a steeper than expected short section of road I pulled rather enthusiastically back on my gear lever to change down, and shuddered to a halt with a loud grating sound. There is a stop on the rear dérailleur which should have prevented the chain going too far, but somehow it had jumped over the largest sprocket into a narrow gap between that and the spokes and was jammed solid.

Great Fosters

I pulled the bike to the side of the road and found an old glove I carry for dealing with chains, and tried to pull the chain out. It wouldn’t budge. I pulled and pulled – nothing. After several minutes I carried the bike across the road to where there was a pavement and continued. I was feeling pretty desperate; not only could I not ride the bike in this state, but I couldn’t even wheel it – I would have to carry it to move it. I tried harder, now using both hands and not caring about getting oil on me, and took the chain off the chainwheel so there was more to get a handle on. I could now try from both ends of the jam. Finally I got one link out, pushing it away from the wheel as well as pulling, and was encouraged. I thought I could help it a little by turning the wheel, and kept on. Eventually another link came free. I tried harder from the other end of the jam and got another link free, but it was still stuck almost a third of the way round inside the sprocket. I kept trying and finally several links from the other end came free, but there were still two or three firmly stuck. They had to shift I thought, and used all of my weight to jerk the chain out and finally it yielded. It had taken me 20 minutes to free it.

I carefully rerouted the chain to its correct position and set off, taking things easily in case there was any more damage, but it seems to be OK and I got home without any problems though half an hour later than planned – and needing to wash myself and my trousers to get the oil off. I checked the gear setting carefully before my next ride.

Fortunately, Wednesday’s ride was uneventful.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


On the Moor

Monday, February 3rd, 2020
Staines Aqueduct and water works

It was August Bank Holiday, the last Monday in the month, and I thought vaguely about going up to photograph the carnival in Notting Hill as I’ve done in many previous years. But only rather vaguely; I used to revel in the loud music and the crowds, feeling the ground and my whole body vibrating to the powerful bass, dancing along with the crowds by the sound systems and Mas bands.

River Colne, Staines Bypass from the sluice for the River Ash

But more recently, though I still get a thrill from carnival I also get tired rather quickly, and soon find myself wanting to go home or anywhere to enjoy some peace and quiet. And since I left regular employment to go full time into photography, Bank Holidays have lost the attraction they used to hold. I’m my own boss and can take any day off, and am more likely to be working on them and weekends than on weekdays.

Bank Holidays have often become times for us to go on overlong country walks, taking advantage of the earlier times we can get the lower ‘Super Off-peak Fares’ on our local trains to get to our starting point. But this time both Linda and myself were hobbling a little – I’d been on my feet too long taking photographs over the previous week and she was still suffering from a minor bike accident, and, as she reminded me, there was plenty to do in house and garden.

River Colne and Staines Moor

I can’t quite remember what that plenty was, or how much or probably little I did of it, but by mid-afternoon we were both of us ready to give up and go out for a short local walk. It turned out to be a little further than either of us anticipated, having forgotten quite how long taking the path we did would commit us to, and what we had intended to be a couple of miles turned out to be five, with the last two or three becoming rather painful. But at least it was a fine day.

Staines Moor is an oddly interesting place. Dead flat apart from the ant hills and a man-made lump once part of a rifle range. Continously grazed for at least a thousand years but not ploughed, a SSSI. Part of a number of areas of common land which used to surround Staines, though the part our house backs on to missed out on registration. There were fights and riots when parts here were enclosed, with rancour continuing into the early years of last century over the Lammas. And fights which still continue over gravel raising, which has taken place over much of the area – and gravel companies who own the moor and have worked around its edge certainly still have their eyes on it. It’s a curiously quiet place surrounded by noise from the M25, the Staines Bypass and aircraft climbing or descending to its neighbour Heathrow. A flat area with on two sides the long sheep-grazed flanks of giant reservoirs.

Our walk took us beside or past four of the rivers of Staines – and just briefly close to home by the other two, the Thames and Sweep’s Ditch. The four are all streams of the Colne – the main river, the Ash, Bonehead Ditch and the Wraysbury River. We also twice crossed the Staines Aqueduct built in the early years of the 20th centruy to take water from the Thames at Wraysbury to Staines and Hampton, still present though at least partly replaced by a 2.4m diameter tunnel in 1960-63. It was responsible for considerable flooding in Staines in 2014, overflowing into the Ash.

The moor is still grazed, though rather less intensively than it used to be. We live on the wrong side of Staines to have grazing rights, and in any case came too late to the area to register for ‘farrens’ in 1965. So none of those horses or cows in the pictures are ours.

Too many more pictures at Staines Moor.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


August 2019 on My London Diary

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

It has taken me a long time to complete putting my work from August on-line. Partly because I had a week’s holiday at the start of September. But while I covered quite a number of protests in August – and they all take time to put onto the web, I also found time to continue with one of my other projects with panoramic images, which take me rather longer to prepare.

Most of the pictures of protests are available for editorial use from Alamy, where the easiest way to find them is probably in my pages there. The latest images there are on the first page of many. Other pictures can be obtained direct from me.

August 2019

Students March to Defend Democracy
Defend democracy, Stop the Coup
Staines Moor
Solidarity with Polish LGBTQ+ community

Anti-fascists outnumber Protest for ‘Tommy’
Camden, Kings X & Regent’s Canal
Rebel Rising Royal Observatory Die-In
Charing Cross to Greenwich
Official Animal Rights March 2019
Stand with Hong Kong & opposition
XR Rebel Rising March to the Common

Stand up to LGBT+ Hate Crime Kiss-In
Justice for Marikana – 7 years on
Stand with Kashmir

Kashmir Indian Independence Day Protest
Stop Turkey’s Invasion of Kurdistan
Kashmiris protest in Trafalgar Square
Vegans Protest Diary Farming
Kashmiris protest at India House

City & Thames
SODEM at the Cabinet Office
Hiroshima Bomb victims remembered
Legalise Personal Light Electric Vehicles
‘Free Tommy’ protest

Anti-Racists march against the far right
LouLou’s stop exploiting your workers
North Woolwich Royal Docks & Thames
DLR – Bank to London City Airport


Afrikans demand reparations

London Images


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

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All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.