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The mystery of elephant rock…


The way to elephant rock?

I put a photo of Moorcroft Wood on Facebook and someone asked where it was. They also mentioned ‘Elephant Rock’. My memory isn’t what it used to be, I was going to mention it to the doctor; but I keep forgetting. I have no central heating this weekend. I was lying in bed last night, cold and bored sheetless, when I remembered that the chemical lane ran past elephant rock and then under the railway bridge. The chemical lane is long gone, but the railway is still there,  the Midland Metro runs on that now. There is a bridge over the canal, but I think I saw one that I could walk under, so that could be where elephant rock used to be. It was a huge rock bigger than an elephant, some thought it was a meteorite; but who knows. Could it still be there?

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that I often ramble on when I write my Sunday blog and cook Sunday lunch at the same time. That reminds me, better check the broccoli… 

I had a look on Google maps and I think I might have found another entrance to Moorcroft Wood, right by the railway bridge. I think I might go exploring with my camera this afternoon. You can find allsorts around the canals. If you see a mound of earth next to the canal for example that is likely to be where the boatmen dumped their rubbish and you can find all sorts if you ferret around in that. You can find stoneware, clay pipes and relics of a bygone age in the narrow boats. They would have stopped near the locks too and so that would be a good place to look around. It’s interesting wandering through woodland too. I didn’t go through Moorcroft Wood much as a kid, because that is where the Sanna is. The Sanna is a pool that I’ve photographed a few times, so called because it was by the sanatorium; that was used for infectious diseases like smallpox and I was told to stay away from there. I wandered around the canals though, we picked chemicals up by the handful near the chemical lane. I didn’t get smallpox, but my genes are still recovering from the chemicals…

I’m quite nostalgic today, I even made gravy to go on my Sunday lunch; we always had gravy when I was a kid. My screensaver joined in with the mood and started showing black and white photographs. The sunshine has disappeared and we’re back to black clouds. It might not be a good day for exploring the canals and looking for elephant rock after all.

I’ve also discovered some woodland that I haven’t been to before. I think there are a lot of bluebells there and so I won’t tell you where it is or you’ll all go picking them before I get chance to take the photos. There are lots of hidden places around here and you can find them using Google maps and Streetview; then go exploring…

Anyway, enjoy the long Bank Holiday weekend if you’re in the UK. I wonder whether my Satellite Navigation has heard of elephant rock? You never know these days…

There are more amazing blogs on the Home Page and over on A Zillion Ideas. I’ll be doing psychology, Neodigital Art and how to write fiction in the next few days; do comment and have your say…

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9 responses

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  6. Carl

    I remember the elephant rock, this is one of the the few internet leads for this curious lump. As I recall it was around 25ft high 50ft long with a large cave ( big enough for a quite few to sit in, build fires etc.) we used to climb it as kids, in what would be pretty dangerous suroundings, coming from the Ocker Hill side there was a disused canal with rushs and makeshift bridges of doors and fences (somebody would get wet as a certainty) pools full of newts, the old vicorian mine buildings, still lived in in the late 70s!! ( Very reminiscent of the black country museum, These building were accessed by a dirty track through a gate opposite Shippy’s (the Gospel Oak.) Then the enomous rock, I had heard it was some cast off from the steel works, but that seems really unlikely from I remember not like the ash banks off bagnall street ( another local child killer!!)
    The elephant rock was destroyed by explosives in the early 80s I saw bits go from my classroom in the big block of Willingsworth School. Very sad our own Black country Uluru gone… Left only in dreamtime!

    I’d love too see photos :-(

    24, April 2014 at 10:17 pm

    • Hi Carl,

      You can still walk down the canal locks to Moorcroft Wood. Moorcroft pool has filled up again now. We went to Bagnall Street not long ago. The old railway track and the remains of the level crossing are there by the new road. I put photos on all the time, especially on Tuesdays!

      24, April 2014 at 11:06 pm

  7. Carl

    Hi Mike,

    Not sure where your thinking…. Potters lane???
    No crossings on Bagnall Street!
    Though I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more ash banks around Wednesbury/Tipton.

    Never new the Sanna was in “Moorcroft Wood” I’ve not been there since avoiding PE from Willingsworth…Slipping through a gap in the fence to a curious small oasis in endless summers of youth. I never did it for proper lessons!!

    We did get a rusty disused barge and dragged it from Lea Brook Road over there, full of urchins taking it in turns to horse the tow path!

    Amazing how much industrial stuff was just, well there! Abandoned A fabulous adventureland.

    Curiously I googled the Elephant rock after walking over Saltwells near Merry Hill fabulous bluebell spot at the Mo and clambered up and down slippy clay banks of Doultons Pit ( I’m figuring a hole made of Toilets… Brilliant)

    I hadn’t thought of searching for it on the net before, but had found out about the Hailstone in Rowley near where I live now, which sounded a similar but probably more impressive, lump of rock, I’ve seen a very antiquarian etching of it on the net complete with Georgian gent for scale (which is now eluding me!) That is now turned into roads along with the rest of the Basalt stacks quarried away until very fairly recently.

    I was hoping to find similar etchings and explanation of of the elephant rock, or at least some sketchy old photos, pretty sad not to… Yet!

    Love the canal side archaeology concept, worries me what else your digging through!!
    Thinking wild camping!!

    All the best!
    Carl

    26, April 2014 at 12:54 am

    • Hi Carl,

      There are 2 Bagnall Streets. I photographed the other one! There is one next to the Black Country New Road near Black Lake too. It’s interesting to go there. You have the remains of the old railway, the canal and the river Tame! The canal near Shippies (Gospel Oak) is filled in but you can walk along the locks on the other side of the road. You go under a railway bridge that is now used by the Metro. The old chemical lane used to go under there year’s ago and the canal. Keep going and you come to the remains of the canal and that joins up with the Walsall canal. One the left there is Moorcroft Wood which will have bluebells around that part soon. The Sanna goes right across canal to the canal now. It’s worth walking along the canal towards Leabrook too. It goes to the Leabrook Road where the Bush pub used to be. Farther on along there the canal goes off to the left down to Tame Valley and the Rushall Canal past a power distribution place. The River Tame goes under the canal there. The Lady Edna Moorings are close by with all the narrowboats. I was up there a few weeks ago and a guy pulled a pike out the cut! I took his photo!

      Thank for the comment. It used to be good wandering the canals around there. Lots of changes though and it’s hardly recognisable now.

      26, April 2014 at 8:36 am

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