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This skeletal tree eerily shrouded in mist provided an unmissable photo. Behind it, veiled by the mist, the Rookery rises out of the Blackbrook Valley.

Tixall is a stately, classically English place. From the humble pepperpot lodge and ruggedly ornate gatehouse, to the majestic 'wides' and large stables, it was a village built to serve it's estate. This avenue leads to a small decorative observatory on the track between farm and church, but continues back to the long demolished Tixall hall over the road.

Cannock Chase is probably more enchanting in winter than it is in summer - it wears frost and mist so beautifully. The small pool that sits in the valley at Stonepit Green, on the track between Castle Ring and Wandon, gave up this marvelous mystic view on a cold December day in 2006.

When the ill-fated, ill planned and ill conceived M6 toll was gifted upon the residents of south Staffordshire, it led to many changes in the rural roads and byways in it's path. Bullmoor Lane near Muckley Corner was cut off and routed south westerly, rising in elevation to meet a new bridge carrying Cranebrook Lane; this unexpectedly provided pleasing views of the landscape toward Shenstone, whose church tower can be seen on the right of the picture. Beyond it, the hills and quarries of Little Hay and Weeford can clearly be seen.

Stetton En Le Field church is one I've never visited, but this view of it over the fields from Measham Road caught my eye.

Having climbed Appleby Hill in the heat of a summer afternoon, it's a pleasure to be rewarded with great vistas of the surrounding countryside - as well as a long downhill run. Just past the radio mast, here you can see way off into Leicestershire and beyond. In the foreground are the villages of Appleby Parva and beyond that, Measham.

Honey Hill is a highpoint on the road out of Clifton Campville towards No Man's Heath - it affords fantastic views of the countryside to the north. This view is of Chilcote and its' distinctive art deco pumping station. There are many of these in South Staffordshire, all built in the early decades of the last century. Most are handsome, red brick buildings constructed with the kind of municipal vision only present in that generation. Surrounding it are fields of polytunnels, shimmering in the heat haze, protecting and nurturing the soft fruit growing within them. Sometimes it's easy to forget that the countryside is a factory floor, albeit a uniquely beautiful one.

Harlaston church is a simple, country church standing at a high point of this delightful village. Reminiscent of Hopwas church, but less ornate, it's a simple, geometric design.

A truly delightful example of the rural church.

The cold war was pervasive throughout the postwar period up until the collapse of the USSR, and even touched rural Britain, here at this isolated site near Harlaston. This is a remnant of those hostile times; an abandoned Royal Observer Corps bunker. It's a small nuclear shelter, capable of housing three observer volunteers who would take measurements and try to relay information in the event of a nuclear strike. The access shaft is the green block to the left, and has finally been welded shut after being repeatedly broken into. Find out more about these posts at Subterranea Britannica - the individual Harlaston page can be seen here as well as a recent forum post about its' current state here

The expansion of the Trent Valley mainline from 2 tracks to 4 through the Tamworth triangle has been controversial and protracted; now nearly completed, all that remains is for the overhead line engineers to finish the electrification of the new lines - or knitting, as the railwaymen call it. This Windhoff catenery fitting train is affectionately known as a knitting machine, and it was proceeding to the worksite at a stately walking pace.


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