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Tag Archives: Knowle Locks

Knowle

I love a long walk and during lockdown 3,  I have found some good places to visit as I have ventured further afield than in the previous ones.  There is one walk that takes me out of Knowle village along the main road to Balsall Common.  Passing Knowle locks, the main Kenilworth road (B4101) is full of twists and turns.  It is an accident-prone road so being away from it is preferable and there is a public footpath that can be accessed just after a majestic building called Hedge House.  On the market for 3.5 million pounds, it is a converted barn.  The estate agents description shows the expansive interior and outside it demands your attention. 

Once on the public footpath, it crosses over the fields to the edge of Springfield House and from here, it is possible to cross the main road to Cuttle Brook Wood part of the Woodland Trust.

Temple Balsall
The brook on the edge of Cuttle Brook Wood

It is a young wood with a direct diagonal line through the property and it leads onto Cuttle Pool Nature reserve and a brook which forms one side of the property.  The road bridge forms a boundary to the private Temple Balsall nature reserve.  The area has many birds and wildlife abound.  There are otters back in the brook and the area is interesting to visit.  Going underneath the road bridge it is possible to take a picture of the entrance to the private nature reserve.  The featured black and white picture generated international interest on social media. The monochrome brings out the shapes of the tree branches as they are reflected in the water.

Temple Balsall
Entrance to private nature reserve showing a fallen tree

Making my way safely across the road bridge, it is possible to access Temple Balsall via the humanist burial ground and move into St Mary’s church graveyard.  Harry Williams is buried at the church and his grave is situated to one side of the property.  Williams along with Jack Judge wrote the song ‘It is A long way to Tipperary’.  There was controversy over the ownership of the song but here the area is peaceful and the grave points towards the path that leads onto the church. 

Temple Balsall
The grave of Harry Williams, writer of It’s a long way to Tipperary
Temple Balsall
Churchyard of St Mary’s church
Temple Balsall
St Mary’s Church

The church and the surrounding houses are picturesque and the path leads further onto the Foundation of Lady Katherine Leveson which runs a school and also cares for the elderly.  A direct footpath leads back via a bridle path to the Black Boy.  There are a couple of turns and the main Warwick Road to negotiate but once on the canal towpath then it is simple walk back to Knowle.  Civilisation returns with canal boats and cyclists.  There is a canal boat wharf with colourful boats and in spite of lockdown some activity happening. 

Knowle
The canal next to the Kings Arms on the Warwick Rd

The canal side pubs are still shut with stacks of chairs and tables lying empty. Not long now that we return to some normality.  The walk started and finished at Elderberry black cafΓ© and a bacon sandwich is purchased.  A well deserved rest on a local bench in the centre of the village Coffee in one hand and sandwich in the other make for a sense of achievement.

Knowle Locks
Union Jack flying at the bottom of Knowle Locks

Further information
Do you want to know more about the Woodland Trust then there is much to read about the Cuttle Brook Wood
Here is a Wikipedia link about the controversy surrounding the song “It is a long way to Tipperary”
More posts about Knowle and the surrounding area
Winter wonderland in Knowle
– Up close in Knowle


Red post and telephone box in the snow

It snowed! Furthermore, we had several centimetres of the white stuff. I missed the beautiful sunrise as the weather front came across the region. For a time it looked like the sky was on fire and it only lasted around 10 to 15 minutes. However that was only a prelude to what was to fall from the sky. It snowed most of the morning and the decision was to plan my walk whilst it was snowing. Also getting out earlier meant that I missed the crowds in the park. The village looked beautiful in the snow and one of my favourite places to take pictures is Knowle High Street. The red letter box and the old telephone box are bright red. They make a great contrast with the white snow.

Knowle High Street in the Snow
Knowle High Street in the Snow
The high street in the snow
The high street in the snow
Knowle Church in the snow
Knowle Church in the snow
Snowman with a facemask
Snowman with a facemask

Heading up the street, there was a snowman outside the One-stop convenience shop. The shop assistant had made the snowman just outside the entrance. She was putting on a face mask for the snowman but it could not cover the carrot nose :). Knowle church looked wonderful in the snow and then it was down Kixley Lane to the canal.

Gate in the snow on Kixley Lane
Gate in the snow on Kixley Lane
Kixley Lane Canal Bridge
Kixley Lane Canal Bridge

The water was frozen and the branches of the trees were white and made for some great photography. I walked up the canal to Knowle locks to take pictures of the area. The boats were covered with snow that had blown onto their sides giving a rippled look to them. The contrast with the trees gave them an ethereal look.

Canal boat with snowy trees behind it.
Canal boat with snowy trees behind it.
Trees along the canal in the snow
Trees along the canal in the snow
Knowle locks in the snow
Knowle locks in the snow
Overlooking the canal in the snow
Overlooking the canal in the snow

I lingered around the locks for a while and then traced my steps back through the village making my way back home through the park. By now it was 12 o’clock and the place was full of snowmen and people enjoying themselves πŸ™‚

Knowle park in the snow
Knowle park in the snow

Photographic tipFor snow I put my camera on manual and checked the exposure dial to ensure that the snow did not overwhelm the sensor. I shot the pictures in RAW so that I could play with the sliders in Lightroom and PSP. I was able to reduce the blue colour but made sure it was not to yellow either. My camera was weather proofed so that it braved the snow and water with no ill effects. A very enjoyable walk and the photographic experience of shooting in the snow was enjoyable.

Other snow links
Take a look at my last post on the Snow in Knowle back in 2017
Remember the week of the beast from 2018?

Snow Photography
Here are some tips if you are interested in learning more

Finally you can always come and Visit Knowle to see a beautiful English Village at its best.


Stay Safe from a canal boat window

This is the first post of the first day of Lockdown Β£3. For Lockdown #1, it was new and we all stayed at home. We came out of that Lockdown and summer drove the virus underground but it was still around. Lockdown #3 was called when the devastating extent of the virus re-emergence became known. During Lockdown #2, I was working so I stopped off in the city to do some daily exercise before moving onto Pebble Mill. This time I am not at work for the main part of the week and only do one day. Almost all of my work can be done from home. So in a similar way to Lockdown #1, it is a stay at home except for the one exercise a day.

Black Boy Marina
Black Boy Marina
A picturesque but empty Kings Arms Pub
A picturesque but empty Kings Arms Pub

With this Lockdown #3, I am looking for more imaginative walks from home. This time I walked along the canal down past Knowle locks with several of the boats displaying “stay safe” signs onto two of the canal side pubs, the Kings Arms and the Black Boy. (The latter pub name comes from the appearance of King Charles II who had a dark complexion). Both the pubs were closed and had a very empty look about them. Even in January the car parks would be full and people would be visiting. Nothing was happening.

Empty Black Boy pub
Empty Black Boy pub
Empty seats
Empty seats

There is a canal Marina between both pubs which was also very quiet. I did have a heron as company which is another story in itself. A strange day with a heavy presence around the canal. A solemn quietness hung in the air as the place seemed to know that this was the start of another Lockdown.

A colourful scene at Knowle Locks
A dramatic scene at Knowle Locks

The tow path was very muddy and difficult to negotiate but the canal boats had their log fires burning. The smell of the wood burning was pleasant to breath in as I returned the way I came and made my way home. When I got to the top lock at Knowle, there was a bright end to the day which lifted the spirits. There are going to be a lot more walks to do before this current Lockdown is over.

Changeable weather
Changeable weather with clouds, sunshine and reflections
The smell of wood burners as you pass the long boats
The smell of wood burners as you pass the long boats

Photo tip – Story telling always helps with your photography. This is about the lockdown and it has pictures of the rainbow and stay safe symbol in the window of one of the boats. We move onto the pubs which should have full carparks and people moving around but there is little happening. Therefore the story concentrates on the weather and the muddy journey with lovely skies.

This was the first day of Lockdown #3, here are my other first days of the previous lockdowns.
Lockdown #1 – Lockdown begins
Lockdown #2 – Birmingham Lockdown #2 – a photographic journey of the first morning

Follow my encounter with a Heron during this Lockdown #3 walk


The canal through Knowle is one of my favourite places to visit. If it looks as if the light will be good then I look for the opportunity to visit. There are always boats on the canal and the sun sets nicely on the top of Knowle locks. There are some water reeds at the top lock and for a few minutes as the sun sets, the light catches them nicely. I used my Canon 100-400mm lens to save me having to cross over the lock with all my camera equipment. Once that picture was done then I settled back to catch the sunset over the water. I always enjoy the picture taking here and also used my Big Stopper to see if that would give a nice effect.

Ripples, reflections, long boat and the tow path
Locking towards the bridge and Knowle Locks
Peaceful evening
Long exposure of the sunset
Sunset over Knowle Locks

I went to one of favourite spots for picture taking. Knowle Locks offers all the necessary ingredients. Water reflections, perfect setting sun, trees and a high vantage point. Add some clouds and you have the chance to take a great picture. I took all the gear, tripod, DSLR camera, filters and a range of filters. Whilst I was there I snapped a quick picture with my iPhone and tagged it with #englandsbigpicture on my twitter handle. Should I be surprised that the iPhone picture was the one that made the BBC website.

Here is the link to England’s Big Picture