SK0407 : Beyond the inflatable whatever, a glimpse of Chasewater, Chasetown and Burntwood

taken 4 years ago, near to Chase Terrace, Staffordshire, Great Britain

Beyond the inflatable whatever, a glimpse of Chasewater, Chasetown and Burntwood
Beyond the inflatable whatever, a glimpse of Chasewater, Chasetown and Burntwood
The lower part of the picture is a landscaped cutting of the M6 Toll motorway. The view is from near the south end of a footbridge. Chasewater dam runs north-south across the picture. The inflatable pyramid [?] had just been filled at the west end of the fairground in the country park.
The M6 Toll Road
The M6 Toll Road is a 27-mile private-sector expressway to the north of Birmingham. The M6 is the key artery through the West Midlands, but it suffers from chronic congestion as part of Britain’s longest and most important motorway. The Birmingham Northern Relief Road, as the M6 Toll was originally known, was built to siphon off the through traffic between the South-east and the North-West.

Site clearance started in 2000, construction of the road began in 2002 and it opened in December 2003 (LinkExternal link M6 Toll History). When planned, it was forecast that 72000 vehicles would use the link, but just half that number of motorists take the route today (2013 - LinkExternal link Overpriced and underused – The Independent) whilst in contrast, the M6 itself is still carrying in excess of 125,000 vehicles a day with many claiming that the toll route’s benefits do not warrant the charges (2013 rates: currently £5.50 for private cars and £11 for trucks, with modest discounts for weekend and overnight use - see SP2685 : M6 Toll Tariff, Chapel Green) and that when traffic is flowing reasonably freely on the original M6, there is no incentive to use the toll route which is marginally longer than the free motorway, with time also lost for stopping to pay at the toll booth.

The toll motorway is operated by Midland Expressway Ltd, which has the concession until 2054 – when the road is due to be handed back to the government.
Chasewater Country Park :: SK0505
Originally the reservoir was known as Norton Pool, which was then crossed by an ancient salt way or pack horse track. On the south east side the dam was constructed in 1797 to create a feeder reservoir for the Wyrley and Essington Canal system. It is still used for that purpose today and opens into the Anglesey branch canal beyond the dam wall. The causeway was built in the 1870s as part of the mineral railway construction, linking the surrounding coal mines to the canal system. The trains took coal down the eastern side of Chasewater to the sidings in the Anglesey canal basin, where the former coal loading wharf still remains.

The majority of the land you see on the north and west side of Chasewater developed as a result of reclamation schemes during the 1970s. Prior to that time the main path on the western side was a raised causeway much higher than the surrounding land. The low lying areas were filled in and then subsequently covered with topsoil, seeded and planted with trees.

North of the railway line the area known as Norton Bog was actively mined until the 1950s. On the skyline beyond, the remains of Bleak House open cast coal mine can just be seen, where mining ceased as recently as 2000. Both sites were left scarred with shale heaps which have been reclaimed into the rolling hills you see today. These areas are now part of a major heathland restoration project.

Jeffrey’s Swag, to the northwest of the casuseway, is a good bird refuge throughout the year. Birds to be spotted include coot, moorhen, mute swan, great crested grebe, mallard and goldeneye ducks. The Swag is important for nesting birds and it is vital this area remains undisturbed and that visitors stick to the paths alongside the railway and the embankment of the former railway line.

The lakeside plants, known as marginals, around Jeffrey’s Swag and the northern tip of the main reservoir provide nesting cover. These plants consist of yellow flag iris, amphibious bistort, bulrush and common club-rush.

Dragonflies and damselflies are frequently seen throughout the summer. Watch out for common darter, ruddy darter, common hawker, broad bodied chaser and the largest, the emperor dragonfly. Common blue damselfly, azure damselfly and blue-tailed damselfly can also be seen in good conditions.

Text of Lichfield District Council’s on-site interpretive sign.
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Robin Stott and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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SK0407, 54 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 8 April, 2015   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 2 September, 2015
Geographical Context
Lowlands  Park and Public Gardens  Lakes, Wetland, Bog  Suburb, Urban fringe 
Near (from Tags)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SK 0405 0746 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:39.8905N 1:56.4931W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SK 0357 0696
View Direction
Northeast (about 45 degrees)
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Other Tags
Country Park  Lichfield District 

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