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Rivers, lakes & canals
11 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
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The Wootton Wawen Aqueduct and the Edstone Aqueduct on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal

Recently I've had the chance to go to the Edstone Aqueduct in Warwickshire for a walk up the Stratford-on-Avon Canal. Didn't quite get to the Wootton Wawen Aqueduct this time around, but I popped over it several years ago. Wootton Wawen built in 1813 and Edstone in 1816. This canal links Kings Norton to Stratford-upon-Avon. The Edstone Aqueduct is the longest aqueduct in England.

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The Wootton Wawen Aqueduct and the Edstone Aqueduct on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal





Recently I've had the chance to go to the Edstone Aqueduct in Warwickshire for a walk up the Stratford-on-Avon Canal. Didn't quite get to the Wootton Wawen Aqueduct this time around, but I popped over it several years ago. Wootton Wawen built in 1813 and Edstone in 1816. This canal links Kings Norton to Stratford-upon-Avon. The Edstone Aqueduct is the longest aqueduct in England.


Wootton Wawen Aqueduct

The Wootton Wawen Aqueduct is a Grade II* listed aqueduct dating to 1813. It crosses the A3400 Stratford Road in Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire near The Navigation Inn. It was restored in 1960. It was built by William Whitmore for the Stratford Canal Company. Made of a Cast-iron trough with integral towpath with cast-iron railings. The Southern Stratford Canal was built from 1793-1816. The canal was leased by the National Trust in 1960 from the British Waterways Board. They also acquired the freehold of the canal in 1964. The Wootton Wawen Aqueduct is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Seen from the Stratford Road in July 2014, near The Navigation Inn. There is a plaque in the middle with an 1813 date.

Seen during late April 2017, some time before 8pm in the evening before sunset to finally cross the Wootton Wawen Aqueduct for the first time.

This aqueduct is quite short, so it doesn't take long to cross it.

The Navigation Inn see to the left. Beyond was a garage.

To the right of the Wooton Wawen Aqueduct is Anglo Welsh Waterway Holidays. Where you can hire a narrowboat.

The steps takes you slightly below the level of the water.

This aqueduct has been here well over 200 years, and has had some modifications since then.

I'm not sure what this archway was for though.

Edstone Aqueduct

The Edstone Aqueduct is a Grade II* listed aqueduct dating to 1816. It is the longest canal aqueduct in England at a length of 475 feet (145 m). It crosses Salters Lane, the Shakespeare Line (between Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon), a minor road and the trackbed of the former Alcester Railway. It was built from 1812-16. It was made of English bond grey brick piers, and regular coursed stone and brick abutments. With some late 19th century engineering brick. It carried what was formerly called the South Stratford Canal. It is between Wilmcote and Wootton Wawen, and is also near Bearley (sometimes also called the Bearley Aqueduct).

This visit was on the last day of May 2020, as lockdown restrictions were eased. It was warm but not too warm in the morning. Arriving near the car park on Salters Lane. Was a brilliant blue sky that morning in Warwickshire.

It is the longest canal aqueduct in England.

Got some brilliant shadows from the railings onto the towpath here.

It didn't even feel scary or nervous to walk over this aqueduct compared to some other ones I've been on. Then again it wasn't too high.

The Shakespeare Line crossed underneath. Also known as the North Warwickshire Railway. Or the Birmingham and North Warwickshire railway. I kept hearing trains, but didn't get to this spot on the aqueduct in time to see them.

The view of the Edstone Aqueduct from Bearley Lock No. 39. From here it looks quite small.

Later on the walk back down the Stratford-on-Avon Canal, saw the rare sight of a narrowboat (on the move during lockdown). Behind was an inflatable dinghy. Then again this was my first canal walk in more than 3 months.

Due to social distancing, we had to wait for other people to cross the aqueduct before us.

I found a hill with a wooden banister and popped down for this view. Wasn't really a path, so had to drag myself back up to the canal along the banister.

Time to cross the Edstone Aqueduct again.

One last look before we returned to Birmingham. The car park is to the left. Good point to start walks, take your dog for a walk, or bike rides.

There is at least one or two other aqueducts on the Stratford-on-Avon Canal that I've yet to walk over. But waiting until the late Spring to go over the Edstone Aqueduct (even under lockdown) was worth it. And was best to wait till now, as in the winter, it might have been muddy on the canal. Some of the towpath was really dry, and the mud or soil was cracked (and hard to walk over).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

 

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Transport
11 Jun 2020 - Elliott Brown
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Airlines gone but not forgotten at Birmingham Airport: Flybe with their Embraer E-Jet's

Flybe went out of business in early March 2020 as the pandemic took hold on the world. They were founded in 1970 (as Jersey European Airways). They had routes all over Europe and connected England to Scotland and to Northern Ireland by plane. To Europe they used the Embraer E175 and E195 jets. 

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Airlines gone but not forgotten at Birmingham Airport: Flybe with their Embraer E-Jet's





Flybe went out of business in early March 2020 as the pandemic took hold on the world. They were founded in 1970 (as Jersey European Airways). They had routes all over Europe and connected England to Scotland and to Northern Ireland by plane. To Europe they used the Embraer E175 and E195 jets. 


flybe

I previously covered the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 in this post here: Flybe Bombardier Dash 8 Q400: The fastest way from A to Flybe - Faster than Road or Rail.

This time we are going to cover the Embraer E-Jet planes that Flybe used in their last decade of operation.

The Embraer E-Jet is a narrow-body short to medium range twin engines jet airliners, carrying 66 to 12 passengers commercially. Made by Brazilian aerospace manufacturer Embraer. Flybe had the Embraer 175 from 2010. And the Embraer 195 from 2005 until 2020.

 

Seen at Birmingham Airport during June 2012 was this Flybe Embraer E-195 plane. We were at the airport waiting to catch our flight to Naples with Thomson Airways at the time.

I saw this Flybe plane take off from Birmingham Airport from the Sheldon Country Park during February 2015. It was an Embraer E-195.

This Flybe plane was seen from Stechford Station taking off from Birmingham Airport, during September 2015. Another Embraer E-195.

In March 2016 from the Sheldon Country Park. After I saw the Emirates Airbus A380 landing at Birmingham Airport for the first time, saw this Flybe plane taxiing to the runway ready to take off.

As before it was an Embraer E-195. Shortly after this it took off from runway 15.

Another Flybe Embraer E-195 had just landed and was taxiing back to the terminal building.

I was walking back to Marston Green Station. There is a good view from the path, if you can see planes on the taxiiway.

At Birmingham Airport in June 2016. In the terminal building heading to the gate to get our Flybe flight to Milan Malpensa Airport on an Embraer 175 for the Lake Como holiday in Italy. The window was a bit obscured if you want to take photos of the planes.

Having boarded our flight to Milan, saw another Flybe Embraer 175 next to our plane.

The plane wing of our Flybe plane, and the tail end of the one next to it.

One week later back at Birmingham Airport at the beginning of July 2016. Our plane had just arrived back at the terminal building. Meanwhile luggage was heading to the other Flybe plane next to ours, as we waited to get off this one.

Back to the Sheldon Country Park in November 2016. A bit of lunchtime plane spotting. Saw this Flybe Embraer E-175 take off.

Turning around as I saw the Flybe Embraer E-175 go on it's way.

In March 2017, I was walking down Church Road in Sheldon, when I saw this Flybe Embraer 175 taking off from Birmingham Airport.

Back at Birmingham Airport in June 2017 for another holiday. This time flying to Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport for Burgundy in France. Passengers seen boarding this  Embraer 175, going up the steps at the front. Seen through one of those fuzzy windows in the terminal building, as we headed for the gate.

Saw another Flybe Embraer 175 as I waited in the area near the departure gates.

It was raining that morning at Birmingham Airport. As I saw another Flybe Embraer 175 come in.

In October 2017, I was on a train heading for Coventry, seeing the last of the Monarch planes (after they went bust). I also saw this purple Welcome to Yorkshire livery on this Flybe Embraer 195.

There was also a Qatar Airways plane to the left. Was steps at the front of the Welcome to Yorkshire plane, but I don't think it was set up for passengers to get on board. Maybe just the airline staff.

During August 2018 I headed for the plane spotting area near the Coventry Road, on the A45. The walk from the Holiday Inn, crossing at the traffic lights, then walking around the semi circle, until you are on the path over where the planes take off from runway 33.  One of the planes to take off at the time was this Flybe Embraer 175.

There area is called the Birmingham Airport Viewing Area South End. I've only been to it once. And it is possible to walk beyond here to Catherine-de-Barnes. The Flybe plane goes on it's way to it's destination after leaving Birmingham Airport.

I was back at Stechford Station in October 2018, as the clocks went back to GMT. While waiting for my train, saw planes taking off from Birmingham Airport. Saw the purple Welcome to Yorkshire Flybe plane again. Was an Embraer 195. Probably the same plane I'd seen from the train in October 2017.

Was also this Flybe plane in their normal sky blue and white colours taking off. This one was a Embraer 175.

A Flybe plane takes off from Birmingham Airport in August 2019. Seen from the local bus stops, I was waiting for an X1 to Birmingham, but ended up getting an X12 to Solihull Town Centre instead. This is a sight you will no longer see sadly from Birmingham Airport (a Flybe plane taking off).

The last time I saw the purple Welcome to Yorkshire Flybe plane landing at Birmingham Airport was from Stechford Station in December 2019. The airline would go out of business 3 months later. It was the same plane that I saw before in previous years. Was at Stechford to see the last of Virgin Trains before they handed over the West Coast Mainline franchise to Avanti West Coast. Was also delays with the trains on London Northwestern Railway, so was at the station for about an hour.

Next time we will cover Thomas Cook Airlines, who also recently ceased to exist.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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Transport
22 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
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From Thomson to TUI Airways at Birmingham Airport

We have flown with what used to be Thomson Airways from Birmingham Airport in July 2010 to Verona, Italy and June 2012 to Naples, Italy. Thomson Airways was renamed to TUI in 2017. They were branded as Thomson Airways from 2008 until they were rebranded as TUI Airways in 2017. As far as I am aware, TUI is still in operation.

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From Thomson to TUI Airways at Birmingham Airport





We have flown with what used to be Thomson Airways from Birmingham Airport in July 2010 to Verona, Italy and June 2012 to Naples, Italy. Thomson Airways was renamed to TUI in 2017. They were branded as Thomson Airways from 2008 until they were rebranded as TUI Airways in 2017. As far as I am aware, TUI is still in operation.


TUI Airways

In 2007 Thomsonfly merged with First Choice Airways and was rebranded to Thomson Airways in 2008. This followed the merger of the travel divisions of TUI Group and First Choice Holidays in September 2007. By 2015 it was announced that TUI would be rebranding all operations to TUI. Thomson Airways changed their legal name to TUI Airways from October 2017.

Thomson / TUI has destinations all over Europe, to the Caribbean and India from Birmingham Airport.

 

In October 2010, while in Park Street Gardens in Eastside, I saw this Thomson Airways plane flying overhead. Back in July 2010, we flew to Verona in Italy for the Lake Garda holiday. But at the time, I didn't take any exteriors of the plane (only photos out of the plane window above the clouds).

In June 2012 at the Terminal at Birmingham Airport, heading to get our flight to Naples in Italy.  There was still First Choice branding on the airbridge at the time.

Our Thomson plane would be a Boeing 757-200. On both this and the July 2010 flight 2 years earlier, we had an on board meal heated up in the plane. We came back the week later from Naples at night.

In June 2014 at the Terminal building in Birmingham Airport, saw this Thomson Airways plane, as we waited to catch our flight to Malaga in Spain with Monarch. I think this was a Boeing 737-800

During the August 2014 visit to Blakesley Hall, I saw this plane fly overhead. I think it was Thomson Airways, with their distinctive sky blue livery. (I don't think it was Flybe or KLM).

Seen in March 2015 was this Thomson Airways plane (below). Seen from a train as it departed from Birmingham International Station.

This Thomson Airways plane was also visible from the train back in October 2016. I had just caught a train from Birmingham International. The airport buses that takes you from the terminal to the steps of the plane (or vice versa) were seen nearby as well.

In January 2017, TUI planes were still branded as Thomson at the time. This might have been a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It was seen from a the 966 NXWM Platinum bus.

Now onto February 2017 with this Thomson plane. The view from Car Park 5, but a tree was in the way.

I first saw a TUI branded plane in June 2017. Was at the Airport while waiting to catch our Flybe flight to Lyon in France.

In June 2018, I saw this TUI plane close to the Terminal building, as we headed to catch our flight to Pisa in Italy with Jet2. The airbridge was now being advertised by MG. Birmingham the home of MG

The first time I saw a TUI branded plane in flight was in August 2018. This was from the viewing area near the A45 Coventry Road.

Get off the bus near the Holiday Inn, then cross at the lights, then walk around the semi circle path until you are in view of the runway.

I've only been to this viewing area once, but saw several other planes taking off over the A45. I have loads of memories of coming into land over this end.

Now onto November 2018 with this view of a TUI plane, from the the X1 NXWM Platinum bus. The buses have their own semi circle road close to the A45 that leads to the Airport and NEC.

My last view from an X1 NXWM Platinum bus was of this pair of TUI planes during August 2019.

BONUS THOMSON TUI PHOTOS

At Malaga Airport in Spain during June 2014, I saw this Thomson Airways plane, a Boeing 737-800 at the airport.

We were waiting to catch our delayed Monarch flight back to Birmingham (we waited around for hours as was a French Air Traffic Control strike that day).

By this point we had got on board our Monarch plane and I got some more views of the Thomson plane.

One more view of Thomson as a British Airways plane went behind at Malaga.

In June 2017, while waiting to fly back to Birmingham with Flybe, saw this TUI related plane from Jetairfly at Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport. They were founded in 2003, but started operations in 2005. They were rebranded to TUI fly Belgium in 2016. Although the plane I saw in 2017 was still branded as Jetairfly.

I think this would have been a view from the terminal building at Lyon Airport of Jetairfly. It has the same tail fin logo as Thomson and TUI.

This view from the Flybe plane as we had just boarded it as Jetairfly was connected to the airbridge. My seat on Flybe was near the wing on the left.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks for all the followers.

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Transport
22 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
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Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens (August 2013)

Looking back through my archives, and there was a Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens that I saw back in the August 2013 day trip to the Trentham Estate. It is near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire. Didn't have a ride of it at the time, but a return journey would have been about £2 each. There was a station here called Boathouse Station. The train they use is called Fern.

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Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens (August 2013)





Looking back through my archives, and there was a Miniature Railway at Trentham Gardens that I saw back in the August 2013 day trip to the Trentham Estate. It is near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire. Didn't have a ride of it at the time, but a return journey would have been about £2 each. There was a station here called Boathouse Station. The train they use is called Fern.


During a day out to Trentham Gardens near Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, during August 2013, I noticed on my map that there was a Miniature Railway in the gardens to see. So while there I popped over to have a look at it. I didn't pay to go on it myself, but there was a charge of £2 per person (not sure if kids were free or not).

People get to ride up and down on the Miniature Train to and from Boathouse Station.

The Trentham Estate was originally home to Trentham Hall. There had been a house here since the 16th or 17th centuries. But the last house to be built here was by Charles Barry in the 1830s. It would have been fully demolished in the early 20th century, but part of it was demolished, but most of the shell remains. The gardens were designed by Capability Brown in the 1750s. The house and gardens were derelict when St. Modwen Properties purchased the site in 1996. But they restored the gardens and opened them by 2008. There is also a shopping village here.

Now back to the miniature railway.

It would have been open at Easter 2020 holidays (04/04/2020 - 19/04/2020), but assume that the gardens were completely closed during the lockdown / pandemic. Trentham Fern Train Trips this Easter. Tickets would have been: for a Return trip: £2 per person. Return trip with Annual Ticket Holder discount: £1.50 per person. Single trip: £1 person.

 

The photos below were taken during the 11th August 2013.

The tracks are of a narrow gauge. This way to the station.

Welcome to Boathouse Station. The Railway is open. The fare is £2. Way in to the right.

Passengers sit on the open carriages as the miniature train goes around the rails.

The train arriving at Boathouse Station.

The engine the driver sits on was called Fern. This is also called the Trentham Railway.

Everybody had got off including the train driver, while it waits at Boathouse Station.

Near the station the train can only got at a very slow 2 MPH.

A look further down the line to Boathouse Station.

Waiting for the next passengers.

There was also some wooden sheds to the left, maybe they store the train in there?

Later saw another passenger load having a ride on the Trentham Railway.

The train just goes around the track in circles. I think there was only one station.

The last I saw of it, the train was going around and on to complete the loop with a handful of passengers.

For another post about another light railway in a park. Have a look at Evesham Vale Light Railway in the Evesham Country Park (August 2014).

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks to all my followers.

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Transport
14 May 2020 - Elliott Brown
Gallery

RAF A400M and C17 flights over the skies of Birmingham in May 2020

There has been several test flights by the RAF A400M and C17 over the skies of Birmingham, and the rest of the country since British Airspace went quite since lockdown came into force. So the RAF have been having test flights. During April 2020 I kept missing seeing the planes, although saw it once but not camera ready. 7th May for A400M and 11th May for the C17.

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RAF A400M and C17 flights over the skies of Birmingham in May 2020





There has been several test flights by the RAF A400M and C17 over the skies of Birmingham, and the rest of the country since British Airspace went quite since lockdown came into force. So the RAF have been having test flights. During April 2020 I kept missing seeing the planes, although saw it once but not camera ready. 7th May for A400M and 11th May for the C17.


On Thursday 7th May 2020, I was made aware that the RAF A400M was scheduled to fly over the skies of Birmingham, just didn't know when. Sometime after 7pm that evening, I could here it coming, so rushed up to get my camera and take some zoom ins as it circled over Birmingham. I've got Super Zoom, but it was going beyond optical zoom on my bridge camera to digital zoom. And was a bit hard to lock onto the plane as it flew around, but tried my best. Gallery below of the nine photos I got.

 

Monday 11th May 2020 update: saw it again, accept it was an RAF C17. See the photos further down the post. Actually rushed up the stairs twice to get my camera, the C17 went around about twice.

 

The Airbus A400M is a four engine turboprop military transport aircraft. In the UK, it has been in service with the Royal Air Force since 2014. They had an order of 25, but that was reduced to 22.

 

With a clear blue sky that evening, also caught some shadows on the military plane as it flew overhead. This after 7pm in the evening.

The A400M has four sets of propellers.

 

Before that, the only none commercial plane I've seen while on a daily walk on lockdown was this Embraer Phenom 300 - G-CKAZ. On Friday 24th April 2020. It was going on a round trip from Birmingham Airport and back. Then it went up again and back to BHX.

 

Update on the 11th May 2020. Saw another military plane flying over the skies of Birmingham, thought it was the A400M, but no, it was the C17 Globemaster.

It was originally developed for the United States Air Force in the 1980s to the early 1990s. Also known as: McDonnell Douglas/Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. The Royal Air Force started receiving them in the late 1990s. They received several of them in the 2000s and 2010s.

 

Saw it twice around 1pm at lunchtime. The C17 has four sets of jets.

The second return so I up I went to get some more photo zoom ins.

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.

Follow me on Twitter here ellrbrown. Thanks to all my followers.

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