Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year to all our readers

The wet weather is limiting what we can do at the moment – any surfacing we lay just ends up like sandy coloured porridge and bypasses around work areas turn to axle deep slurry.
The section we re-laid a couple of weeks ago has been de-brashed to save the forest around it - riders trying to find a drier line churned it into a muddy mess. We have plans for this low spot but first we need to run them passed the Forestry – we’ll be back …

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Burning off the Christmas calories – Trail building

Did Santa bring all the bike bling you asked for?
To burn off the Christmas excesses, Bruce and I met up for a soggy building session on Tackeroo - yet another sump and drainage pipe combo. After cutting and taping a bypass, Bruce started digging the sump while I worked on a trench for the pipe.

Considering the inclement weather, there was a surprising number of riders out. Many voiced their approval of our recent trail maintenance efforts – it’s good to hear our work is appreciated.

After installing the pipe and back filling the trench, we finished the job off reshaping the berm. The soft ground needs settling time so we’ve left the bypass in place for a while

Sunday, 23 December 2012

More Maintenance – Trail building

With Bob the Digger Driver moving the surfacing material received from the Cemex quarry (see here for details), we could carry out some much needed maintenance on the later sections of The Dog.

Last weekend, the crew split into two teams working on different sections – the first rerouting the trail to improve the flow and drainage by digging a trench. Unfortunately, as the surface needs time to settle and dry out – unlikely with the current weather, we had to leave the bypass (mud bath) around the work zone in place.

The other crew made a start on filling holes and other damaged areas of trail which we continued this weekend. It’s a case of draining off the puddles, breaking up the old surface and adding new material. This is then raked level and wackered flat but as the trail needs settling time, we had to post a diversion along the fire road. This should only be for a couple of weeks depending on the weather,

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Up on the Cliff - Trail building

We were back up on Upper Cliff this weekend to sort out a potential wheel trap of a hole that had developed not long after the start of the descent. Initially, the plan was just to fill the hole but after spoting a water gully in the bank at the side of the trail, the job grew into digging a sump and installing yet another pipe - if a job’s worth doing …..

Whilst one team were working on that, two more were working their way down the trail filling smaller holes, cleaning the woodwork and de-berming the edge of compacted pine needles to improve drainage.

To finish, there were a couple of information panels to plant above the black rock sections – you need to know what you’re letting yourself in for.


Sunday, 2 December 2012

How many pipes? - Trail building

I've lost count how many berms we have installed drainages pipes in over the last couple of months but riding around the Dog, you can see the improvements given the amount of rainfall we’ve had recently. Last weekend, we headed over to Upper Cliff on the Monkey Trail to hit another berm and tidy up the Black Rocks.

A “Strava line”, as one of the guys had christened it, was blocked with a low fence – riding down the side of the rock feature at speed into the path of riders on the red line is an accident waiting to happen. Young Phil, who stopped to help mid-ride, worked like a Trojan digging material out of a hole to repair the entrance to the rocks.

This Sunday, the work site was a little closer to home – the flooded corner between the Stegosaurus and Kingfisher Bridge. Yet another pipe was buried in the trail to take water from the sump. This left the trail surface rather soft so we may need to do a bit more remedial work in the future.

Another “Strava line” was blocked with logs and other brash whilst a number of puddles were sorted.

There are a few more pipes to install but we’ll be doing other maintenance work over the next few weeks …. weather permitting now winter is here!


Saturday, 1 December 2012

Monkey Trail Diversion – Update from the Forestry Commission

* * *    For latest update - see here   * * * 

The harvesting work is now 50% complete. We are investigating whether we can reopen some sections of the trail as the contractors have nearly reached the start of the initial diversion. Harvesting sites are dangerous places and it is imperative than forest users stay out of these areas. Contravening these exclusion zones not only endangers your own life, but also the harvesting contractors. It also slows down the operation and consequently the speed at which the trail can be re-opened. It is important to remember that the trail closure is only around 10% of entire trail network of which is the long fire road climb.  We are already talking to a contractor about trail reinstatement to ensure we can get the trail open as soon as we can.

Gary (FC Recreation Ranger)

Forestry Commission on Facebook

The Forestry Commission on Cannock Chase now have a facebook page. They'll be posting news about Cannock Chase Forest, information on forthcoming events and activities, trail updates and much much more…

Recreation Ranger