Clent East Wood

I have scoured the OS 1:25000 sheets for wooded areas towards the right hand side of the Clent Hills, hoping to find a Clent East Wood. Sadly the only collection of trees in the right sort of location, has been comparitively unentertainingly named ‘Dales Wood’. Definitely an opportunity missed, I feel.

Nonetheless, I was to be in the area on Tuesday 7th July 2009. Booked on a conference about “Assessing Pupils’ Progress in Mathematics” in nearby Halesowen, thoughts turned to another pre-work activation - but with rather a longer drive than usual! My target was Walton Hill G/CE-002

I set off from Macc at about 5.15am local, and pulled in at the Somerfield garage at M6 J17 (Sandbach) to pick up a sausage & bacon butty, coffee and tank of diesel. Progress was good down the M6 and M5, which I followed as far as J3, where I turned onto the A456. Here I counted my roundabouts, exiting left onto Hagley Wood Lane at the third one. A slight stagger at the top took me onto Walton Hill Lane, signposted “Walton Hill” - but no mention of the SOTA reference.

In no time at all, I was pulling in the car park, and walking up the short ascent to the summit. Light drizzle reigned at the trig point, close to which I set up for 80m. On CW I worked seven stations, with Belgium ON topping the frequency table. On SSB, no-one replied. I couldn’t be bothered with VHF, so I cracked on with the quick descent.

Back in the car, I got stuck in the mother of all traffic jams in the middle of Halesowen, passing the time by tuning into Aston FM 89.1, Raaj FM 91.3 and Unity FM 93.5. Then I “really enjoyed” the day-long conference about assessment. Returning north on the motorway, traffic was lightish, and this was bonus, enabling me to be home at a reasoanble time and OK to go out again later for the 2m contest.

Many thanks to all the early callers.