Sunday, 10 November 2013

End of an era - no more posts on this blog but ...

This blog has been running since May 2009 documenting all our hard work to bring you the trails that everyone loves riding but now that we've incorporated it into our shiny new website, we won't be updating this site any more.

We'll keep the site going as an archive so if you want to see how the volunteers have aged or what we've been up to over the years, it's all here.

To keep tabs on our current and future antics, check out the blog page on our website here.

Thanks for all your comments over the last 4 years.


New Chase Trails website

Chase Trails now has a brand new and much improved website giving far more information than our old one. It's at the same address, as before and now incorporates this blog, our Facebook page and Tweeter feed.

Check them out when you get time ....


Sunday, 25 August 2013

One hell of a pile of rocks

Oh! My pry bar is twitching already...... Oh sorry, am I not supposed to say that? The latest delivery to Chase Trails. We won't be giving a prize for selection of parking spot, but there won't be any complaints either. So where is it going? Don't worry yourself about that, you'll find out in the next few weeks! As you can see from William lending his presence to give an idea of scale, these are no small stones. They come from the same origins as the rocks on the Stegosaurs , and yes, we will be getting more with the passage of time. We can find plenty of uses for nice gritstone like this.

But in the mean time.....

A skeleton crew was out on Sunday giving the Lower Cliff section some pruning. The last part of the run through the clear fell area is still to be completed from about two switchbacks from the end. You can expect Lower Cliff to be shut at some stage in the near future, for just one Sunday, whilst we repair the edge that has broken away. We'll probably elevate the edge by about 5 foot, with a spring loaded lip, so if you get it wrong, we get some film of you going head first into that smelly pool at the foot of the hill - call it trail builder amusement! We like a good laugh occasionally....


Saturday, 10 August 2013

"Twist & Shout" now fully open

After our usual Saturday ride, Dave and I nipped into "Twist & Shout" to check out the condition of the new surface. Between the teenagers from the Shugborough Outdoor Education Centre and last Thursday's mid-week building session, nearly 150 metres of trail had been resurfaced. The last few days of dry weather had done the new material a world of good so we've took the decision to open the section.
This now means all of our trails are fully open .... good news all round.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

"Twist & Shout" Resurfacing

As part of the government funded National Citizen Service Award Scheme, 46 young volunteers from Shugborough Outdoor Education Centre helped resurface over 100 metres of worn out trail on "Twist & Shout", the first section of Follow the Dog. Considering the inclement weather, this was an excellent achievement. The youngsters aged between 15 and 18 worked for four hours in the pouring rain only breaking for lunch. The existing trail was broken up, new material barrowed into place then raked and wackered flat.

Unfortunately, due to the saturated ground and surfacing material, we’ve had to leave the first part of the trail closed. After all, we don’t want to wreck the volunteer’s hard work. Following an inspect during the coming week, a decision will be made on when we’ll reopen it so until then, please follow the short diversion – thanks for your understanding.


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

110 miles in one day! UPDATE

UPDATE - Ellie completed her ride covering 111 miles in just over 13 hours.
For the full story, see Ellie's "Just Giving" page here.


One of our regular volunteers, Ellie Nadin, is riding from her backyard to Barmouth in one day .... that's 110 miles. What's most impressive is that she's only just turned sixteen!.

In her Dad's word's, "My once couch potato daughter is fast becoming a serious endurance mountain biker, with a goal of riding from home to Barmouth on the Welsh coast, 110 miles, on Saturday 3rd August to raise funds for the Donna Louise Trust, who provide hospice, terminal and respite care for life limited and terminally ill children in Staffordshire and Cheshire."

".... shes riding at every opportunity now, and after taking a day off for her 16th Birthday this week, she's put in over 150 miles in the last five days days alone ( very warm miles I might add!), including a 71 miler early on last Saturday morning."

She can't even be separated from her bike in her Prom Dress!

To find out the full story behind Ellie's challenge, watch this video.

If you'd like to support this great cause, which has just gone past the £800 mark and smashed her original target of £200, please visit Ellie's "Just Giving" page here.


Monday, 22 July 2013

Show your support ....

It may not benefit mountain biking directly but without National Lottery funding, The Monkey Trail would not exist.

Please show your support for other cycling projects by voting for the Sustrans Connects2 visiting the awards site here.


'Black Monkey' Closure - Sunday 28th July

For one day only, the black grade section of 'The Original Monkey' - soon to be signed as "Le Singe Noir" will be closed for essential maintenance. This is the section that starts by waymarker information post 'M3'.

The red grade route will be open as normal but we may ask riders to wait for a few moments as we move materials down the hill.


Mid-week building - Thursday 25th July

The next mid-week trail maintenance session will be this coming Thursday - meet outside Swinnertons Forest Cycle Centre at Birches Valley Visitor Centre for a 10am start.

Remember, you get a free car park pass for the day so why not bring your bike for a post build ride.


We're back online ....

I've been having a few computer based problems over the last couple of weeks so unfortunately our blog updates have suffered.

Recent work has included surfacing repairs and adding a drainage pipe to the 'Bomb Hole' berm. With the arrival of summer at long last, we're hoping that the sump will remain dry for a good while but you never know with our weather ....


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

'Bomb Hole' closure on Sunday 7th July - for one day only *

This is advance warning that we will be installing a drainage pipe in the 'Bomb Hole' berm this coming Sunday. It's the last berm that's in need of improved drainage - the results of all our handiwork on the other 20+ berms has been evident over the winter months .... drier feet for all.

* - if all goes to plan, the closure will only be for a few hours on Sunday.


Friday, 28 June 2013

Forthcoming Events - July 2013

A few events you may be interested in:

Sunday 7th July - Run & Ride Summer Classic MTB Race
After the success of last year's event, the Cannock Chase Summer Classic is back for 2013. Held as before at the Tackeroo Campsite, the event will again be focused at the newbie of fun rider. Find out more here.

Wednesday 17th July - Cycleshack MTB Evening Summer Series
Starts at the Tackeroo campsite - check out their Facebook page for more details.

Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st July - Love Life Love Running - CANCELLED
Unfortunately, the LLLR team have had to cancel the event due to a lack of sponsors. Find out more here.

Wednesday 31st July - Cycleshack MTB Evening Summer Series
Another round of the series, starting at the Tackeroo campsite - check out their Facebook page for more details.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Reminder - Early car park closing this coming weekend

A quick reminder that the Birches Valley Visitor Centre car park will be closing early on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th for the Forest Live Music concerts. See here for full details.

All trails will remain open over the weekend.


Monday, 24 June 2013

Last of the membership packs are in the post - honest!

On the membership front, did we mention the membership packs had been sent out? May be we did but  just in case, and lest you were in any wee doubt of the mind, it gives me great pleasure to inform you (just in case you did not notice before), that despite a rather late start to mailing activities (and this being rather a long sentence to type), that the Chase Trails National & International Distribution Hub Membership Compilation & Dispatch Divisional Headquarters (CTNIDHMCDDHQ for short-ish) has been working tirelessly to finalise all membership packs.

I have just split two post boxes down the side (one nearly fully in half) trying to jam huge quantities of membership packs in, and get them mailed out to the party faithful. Why don't they make post boxes from elastic? My life would be so much easier! And yes, I did go back and gaffa tape the post boxes back together, being the honest Trail Pixie that I am. The last few membership packs of the back-log should hit the post box by mid week this week (if I can find an unmolested post box to use).

To those that renewed, we thank you for your continued faith in our good work, and to the new members, we're please that we have impressed you enough for you to seek out our web site and offer us your hard earned cash – we thank you deeply. The last few membership packs of the back-log, should hit the post box by mid week this week - apologies for the delay, and our thanks for your patience in this matter.


No trail building Sunday 30th June

We will be holding a "committee meeting" to sort out some general admin stuff and discuss a few future plans.

Building as normal on Sunday 7th July.

The next mid week session will be in July - date to be confirmed.


Sunday, 23 June 2013

'Bomb Hole' re-opened

A small team of five, including Katie with 1.5 functional legs (minor use of stick for support!), went out to the 'Bomb Hole' section to assess the situation following harvester working in the area. Yet again, a fine job by the FC's Tree Team and their contractors - there was no trail damage resulting from the harvesting.

After draining a few puddles, and sweeping the trail off in two areas, the section was re-opened, and normal service resumed!

The Bomb Hole itself will be getting a drainage pipe in the near future, as the water in the now somewhat shallow sump can only flow away across the trail. Some surfacing work will also be required to raise the level of the trail at the start and end of the section, as the trail has now worn below the normal ground level - a job for the mid-week maintenace sessions ....


Sunday, 16 June 2013

Shiny new bridge - not long now ...

After some admirably close work between the harvesting contractors and the FC's Tree and Recreational Teams, we're please to say that there was zero damage done to “High Voltage” and “Zig Zak”. The two crossing points used by the harvesting equipment were protected by firstly a layer of old conveyor belting, then a load of brash on top. It worked perfectly! Opportunity was taken to fill a few potholes, and tidy the trail, before we reopened the area late on Sunday afternoon.

This leads us nicely on to the shiny new bridge over the railway line. We were expecting some skimpy little number like they have over roads elsewhere - like down the Forest of Dean. But No! This is one serious bridge, and no small earthworks to go with it. The nice sandy colour you can see adjoining the tarmac on the ramps up to each side of the bridge, is a strip of VERY precisely graded fine gravel, or rather very small pebbles. It looks like yellow ball bearings actually - this stuff will be great when it gets wet or icy! Lets hope the tarmac bit is for bikes.

The bridge is for all traffic - please make sure you use the section allotted for wheeled traffic, and observe any traffic flow signage. We can't say for sure when the bridge will be opened, or by who, but the inference seems to be about two weeks to opening. This does not address safety issues crossing the A460. Please be careful here, and above all BE PATIENT.

The road is busy at the best of times. If you want an elapsed time for doing Dog & Monkey, have the sense to deduct time spent waiting to cross the road - it's not a crime! Don't kill yourself trying to get a good time for crossing the road - we don't give medals for idiots that rush, or posthumous medals!

There is an intention to create a new return route from the new bridge, to get punters back to the Dog / Monkey decision point. However, there is much to do in other areas, so any new route here is probably a year or two away as yet. So for now, enjoy the lovely leg burner that is Kitbag Hill!


'Follow The Dog' Diversion Updates

"High Voltage", "Zig Zak" and "Devil's Staircase" now open
The diversion around the decision point where the 'Monkey Trail' heads off down the "Devil's Staircase" to the railway and road crossing has been lifted. Due to minimum harvesting damage, we only spent a couple of Sundays tidying and repairing a few areas of trail.

"Bomb hole" closed
Harvesting works are taking place in this section. A recent progress check showed a lot of "brash" on the trail - that's technical speak for broken branches, pine needles and other debris. As soon as they've finished, we'll tidy up, repair any damage to get the trail back open.


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Membership Update

Chase Trails Membership HQ has at last dispatched the membership packs.

Apologies for the delay, and thanks for your patience in this matter. The membership pixie had some 'issues' (to say the least) with the orders for a couple of the items in the pack.


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

'Bomb Hole' - Temporary Closure

The 'Bomb Hole' on 'Follow the Dog' is closed for harvesting. Hopefully, this shouldn’t take long so please follow the diversion.

'High Voltage' harvesting has been very successful - only crossing the trail in three locations. We will now work to repair these crossing points, clear branches / needles and carry out other minor maintenance works before reopening the trail.

Forestry Commission Recreation Ranger

Monday, 10 June 2013

No Trail Building - Sunday 16th June

We have cancelled trail building this Sunday as most of us will be riding at this year's Mountain Mayhem.

Trail building as normal the following weekend.


Thursday, 6 June 2013

Downhill Trail Building - Stile Cop - Sunday 9th June

Our plan is to finish all the groundwork and bridge construction on “Snakes ‘n’ Ladders”. After the small turnout at the last session, it would be great to see a few more faces.
Usual deal: working from 10am until around 3pm - we’ll bring all the tools, along with free drinks and snacks.
If you're riding, please drop in and lend a hand forms few minutes, it all helps. Please don't just walk by and watch that really gets us down... If you ride the trails and do the Racers Guild sessions, now's the time to get involved and help Chase Trails.
Find us at the bottom of the hill at “Snakes ‘n’ Ladders” (just above the Black Course drops)
See you there!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Cycleshack MTB Evening Summer Series

If you’re out riding the trails tonight (Wednesday 5th June), watch out for more than usual amount of bikes up at the Tackeroo campsite – it’s the first of the Cycleshack MTB Evening Summer Series.

Check out their facebook page for more details.

Next Mid-week Maintenance Session

Thursday 13th June will be our next mid-week trail building session. Meet outside Swinnertons Forest Cycle Centre at Birches Valley Visitor Centre for a 10am start. Remember, you get a free car park pass for the day so why not bring your bike for a post build ride.
Further work was completed on the first section of the dog during the last session with around 27 metres of trail re-surfaced.

Advanced warning of car park closures

Due to Forestry Commission Live Music Concerts, Birches Valley Car Park will be closed early to the General Public on both the following days
Friday 28th June – Closed at 3.30pm
Saturday 29th June – Closed at 3.30pm
The Car Park will re-open at 5.00pm for Concert Ticket Holders only. The upper car park will be closed all day on both the Friday and Saturday.
'Follow the Dog' and the 'Monkey Trail' will both be open as normal during this period. If you intend to be on the trail after 3pm on either Friday 29th or Saturday 30th June alternative car parking will be available at Tackeroo Campsite.
Also from Monday 24th to Wednesday 3rd July a large number of heavy vehicles will be using Birches Valley for Concert Site setup and take down so pleases take extra care during this time.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
FC Recreation Ranger

Friday, 17 May 2013

Damage to the Dog

Yet more harvesting has been taking place on 'Follow the Dog' at the end of "Billy Goats Gruff" (OK, we haven't installed that name board yet). The forwarders have tracked over a short section of trail to avoid the near by overhead electricity power lines.

Rubber mats had been placed to protect our trail, which were working well until heavy rain cause problems this week.

The section is still open and safe to ride - it will need repairing once the harvesting work has finished.


Sunday, 12 May 2013

It's finally open - Trail Building

The Forestry Engineer's inspection of "Pot of Gold" and the "Roller Coaster" had picked up a few things that needed tweaking before we could open these contractor built sections. So, with help from new faces Matt and Stuart (thanks guys), we loaded up and headed over to Deercote Valley.

After making the required changes, the closed sections were debrashed ready for a quick try. The only test pilot with a bike was Dave so donning his helmet, he pedalled off into the distance. Minutes later he came into sight grinning from ear to ear - I get the feeling he'd enjoyed his quick blast down the new trail.

The surface of the trail is still new and soft so please take it easy - remember "skids are for kids" as they say.


Friday, 10 May 2013

Membership / Renewal Update

We have run out of stock of membership pack materials and have been awaiting a restock. Most items are now in hand with one exception. Its looking like another two to three weeks before the missing items are due to show. Please accept our apologies for the delay, but sending things out in two mail shots makes an expensive exercise. We do a fairly tidy job of building trails, but we lack a little when it comes to PR! Hopefully we have our priorities the right way around ......
Please remember to let us know if any membership pack is bought on somebody else's behalf, or as a gift (state for who, an email and a delivery address, as we're not psychic....), or if the delivery address is not the same as the Paypal registered address. You can inform us using the Paypal 'Message to seller' box, or direct to (also used for any other membership queries or issues).

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Fill that hole - Trail building

Whilst the “race crew” were off racing in the Singletrack 6hr Enduro, it was business as usual for the rest of the crew – trail maintenance on “Snap it”, the section before the “Upper Cliff” descent.
The main issue was the larger hole - we were going to fix it a few weeks back, but decided to leave it in case it improved ... evidently, if you've ridden in the past few weeks, it hadn’t.

So it was filled with a few dozen large stones then surfaced with material from a nearby "borrow pit" (basically digging suitable material from a nearby source) and wackered flat.

All finished! Lovely and smooth.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Monkey Trail Diversion - Latest Update

Latest update: Diversion has now been removed - the Monkey is fully open.

After recently completing maintenance on 'Deerskull' and 'Rainbow Valley', the diversion has been reduced in length as shown by the purple line on this map.

The contractor repaired sections (in the dark green area on the map) are to be inspected by the FC engineer next week and opened shortly afterwards subject to a satisfactory inspection - watch this space .....


Friday, 26 April 2013

Keep an eye on who is following you home ...

Posted on Bikeradar, this article is worrying news - no one, not even the police are safe.

This one is much closer to home as the lowlifes are getting clever with technology - this story in the Express & Star is from a while back but still something to be aware of.


Thursday, 25 April 2013

Mid-week Maintenance - Trail building

With a trail centre as busy as Cannock Chase is, it's inevitable that things need to be fixed, repaired, patched, and so on, and our Sunday sessions aren't nearly enough to do all the repairs and building we'd like to, so with that in mind we're planning to run mid-week build days.

We're aiming to do these at least twice a month, on the first and last Thursday of the month, if we have people spare - keep an eye out on our website, blog and Facebook page for more info, we'll be publishing the events there.

The first of these were held today, and both myself (William), Martin, and two new volunteers turned up to help - Chris and Graham. Thanks a lot for coming to help out, it's very much appreciated and the more hands the better!

We headed out to the first section of the Dog (after you ride under Go Ape's course), to patch a few holes. As you're no doubt aware, they almost always turn into puddles after the rain, and as time goes by they become deeper and larger, so - after deploying some signs to warn riders we were working, we chose the biggest holes along the first half or so of the section, and got to work. Patching the trail is simple enough - we use a mattock to loosen the existing surface a bit and then dump a fair few wheelbarrow loads of surfacing material on top - courtesy of the nearby piles of surfacing material.

We then whack it down - first by hand, then with the whacker, and we're done. Repeat about 5 or so times, and three hours later we're finished. The material does look a bit orangey red at the moment but as usual, it'll blend in with the surrounding environment sooner or later.

More photos can be found over on Facebook.

Finally, a quick teaser - this section of Follow the Dog is named “Twist & Shout” - watch out for the new name signs going up - we've got plenty to go and we're getting there, slowly. :)


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Monkey Trail diversion reduced in length - Trail building

Armed with a leaf blower, lawn rakes and various other trail building tools, we set off for ‘Deerskull’ over on the Monkey Trail. While the Bruces and Steve planted the new section name sign, I started raking off the accumulation of pine needles from the first half of the trail in the tall trees.

With the wonders of modern technology in the form of a petrol powered leaf blower, Bruce quickly cleared the thick layer of larch needles from the second half of the trail. Following behind, t’other Bruce, Steve and I raked off the remaining mulch and tidied the edges of the trail. Frank, with Bertie’s help (or was that hindrance), filled several holes and brashed off any potential short cuts.

It’s surprising how long it takes to walk a trail that only takes a minute or so to ride but by the end of our session the trail was good to go so we’ve opened “Rainbow Valley”, “Over the Rainbow” and “Deerskull”. 

The contractor repaired sections have been completed but now need time to settle before the remainder of the diversion can be lifted – this is weather dependent so watch this space …..

Friday, 19 April 2013

'Tread or Shred' Event this weekend

The Tackeroo camp site will be busy this weekend (20th / 21st April) as it's the first Run and Ride "Tread or Shred" event. Offering a 10k off road running event (the "Tread" half), children's XC mountain bike racing and an enduro (2 or 4 hour) mountain bike race (the "Shred" half), there's something for all.
For full details check out their website.

The event will not be using any of our trails but there will be crossing points so please respect the marshals requests.


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Forthcoming Events on Cannock Chase

Forthcoming events that may be of interest:

Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st April - Run & Ride Tread and Shred Weekend
Starting @ Tackeroo Campsite
10k running event on Saturday and a mountain bike enduro race on Sunday

Sunday 21st April - Sky Ride Local (Off-road Ride Well)
Starting @ Birches Valley Forest Centre
Get out and explore the countryside with the brand new rural off-road routes from Sky Ride Local, free guided rides for the family and novice cyclist.

Sunday 28th April - Sky Ride Local (Off-road Ride Steady)
Starting @ Birches Valley Forest Centre
Get out and explore the countryside with the brand new rural off-road routes from Sky Ride Local, free guided rides for the family and novice cyclist.

Sunday 7th July - Run & Ride Summer Classic MTB race
Starting @ Tackeroo Campsite
After the success of last years event the Run & Ride Cannock Chase Summer Classic is back for 2013. Held as before at Tackeroo Campsite the event will once again be focussed more towards the newbie or fun rider.

Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st July - Love Life Love Running
Starting @ Pingle Slade
Back for the fourth year, the only running festival of its kind keeping the same format as before with a 10km race on Saturday and a 6hr challenge on Sunday.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

That's a big crane .....

Anyone riding the ‘Monkey Trail’ today who didn’t see the crane used to move the new railway crossing bridge into place may need glasses ….. it was huge!

After positioning the concrete foundations, the two bridge spans were swung into position.

There’s still a few weeks of work left before the bridge will be finally opened to the public in June.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Trail Diversion Updates

‘Monkey Trail’ repairs are progressing well and we are happy with the work the contractor is doing. It has taken a little time to get to grips with Cannock material and topography, but he is producing some really good work with improved drainage.

For the latest on the Monkey Trail diversion see this blog post

‘Follow the Dog’ harvesting works are also progressing very well and according to plan. The contractors have made tree racks along edge of our trail to avoid crossing points, so minimal damage so far.

Gary (FC Recreation Ranger)

Mid-week Maintenance - Thursday 25th April

Gary, the Forestry Recreation Ranger and our man Martin are heading out on Thursday 25th April for a mid-week maintenance session while the trails are quieter.

They will be meeting at 10am outside Swinnertons Cycle Centre (Birches Valley) and finish by 3 pm. You don’t have to stop that long – even a couple of hours would be gratefully appreciated.

These sessions will be held on a regular basis so if you can’t make this one, watch out for the next one.


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

How will this affect our trails?

News from the Forestry Commission - I would strongly recommend that you go along to the session to see how this may effect mountain biking on the Chase :

"The Forestry Commission is about to review its Management plan for Cannock Forest and its future forestry operations.

To allow members of the public the opportunity to view the future proposed plans and comment on these a ‘Public Drop-In Meeting’ is to be held here at Birches Valley on Monday 22 April between 15:00 and 19:30.

There you will be able to look over the plans and talk to representatives from the Forestry Commission about the proposed plan.  So why not come along and see what the forest will look like in the future. 

The consultation period will run until 31 May 2013 after which the plan will be finalised and approved with copies being available in the Stafford and Rugeley reference libraries.

The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) team will also be there with information and you will have the opportunity to discuss with them their work on Cannock Chase."


Monday, 25 March 2013

No Trail Building on Easter Sunday

The trail crew are off on our annual Easter holiday north of the border to ride the 7 Stanes..... Well, that's our intention but I'm not sure whether we'll even be able to find the trails with all the snow we've had! Now, where's my skiing gear?

Next trail building will be on Sunday 7th April.


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Birches Valley Forest Visitor Centre Remains Closed

From the FC webite:

Site Closed
Following the recent snow, Birches Valley Forest Centre car park, cafe, bike shop, play area and go ape will remain CLOSED until further notice. Due to the weight of the snow there is high risk of falling trees and branches. 
Keep on eye on our
facebook page for further updates over the next few days..

Trail building cancelled - Sunday 24th March

With more than 15cm (6" in old money) of lying snow and even more forecast, we have cancelling trail building this weekend.

The next trail building will be on Sunday 7th April as next weekend, we're off up north for our annual Scottish holiday.


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Slip / Slide - Midlands XC Race Report

This Sunday saw round 1 of the Midlands XC series race held at Tackeroo on Cannock Chase.

Dave, Petra, Martin, Andrew and myself (William) turned up around 10am at the campsite [Martin and I were there at 8:30am - Andrew] , and while waiting for the race to start, we put up a couple of Chase Trails flags, one of which was right behind the podium. We didn't take any photos, but TORQ Fitness has a shot of it on Twitter here.

As the race was about to start, we took up positions - Petra at the first crossing on the campsite, and myself and Dave at the second. Martin and Andrew headed down the Dog to take up position just before the Werewolf Drop. Bruce and Jez turned up shortly after the racing had started (Bruce had a valid reason for being late - more on that later), and joined Dave and myself - we had a great spot right next to a ditch and steep bank - this caught out a lot of riders and proved for entertaining viewing throughout the day!

Once the first race was over, Martin and Andrew joined us at the campsite for a spot of lunch, before heading back down to marshal point ‘E’ for the second race of the day - for a change of scenery, I decided to join them. We had a view of one of the descents on the race, and saw some interesting overtaking techniques employed, with quite a few near misses! Martin and Andrew were doing okay so I sneaked off to take a few photos and videos - which you can see on our new Facebook page or here for the videos …. be sure to give it a "Like"!

The racing finished up at around 4:30pm, so after a quick check on the radio to make sure we were okay to head back, we finished up for the day.

Thanks to all the riders who waited while the racers passed by, and of course, thanks to Midlands XC for holding a fun race! Also, apologies to the fellow who turned up from Nuneaton to help build - we did post the "no trail building" notice rather late, so it wasn't seen as much as we'd hoped.


PS: Bruce's reason for being late? He was sorting out the Chase Trails Membership Packs. Renewal notices should be going out shortly so keep an eye out, or if you're not a member you can join via our website here.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

No Trail Building - Sunday 17th March

Sorry, I forgot to mention in the previous post that as we will be assisting with marshaling the Midlands XC event, there won't be any trail building on tomorrow. Back to normal next week.


Friday, 15 March 2013

Warning: Marshals on our trails - Midlands XC race

This Sunday 17th March sees the first round of the Midlands XC series. Based in the Tackeroo Caravan Site and using the off piste trails in the trees, it’s a great start to the XC race season.

As it will be run in the same area as the end of ‘Follow The Dog’, there will be three crossing points on our trails so marshals will be posted at these points.

For the benefit of all, please obey the marshal’s requests to wait while the racers go passed – it shouldn't delay your ride for more than a few seconds – thanks in advance.

On line entry is now closed, but you can enter on the day – I reckon the ‘Go Race’ category for newcomers to MTB racing looking for a more leisurely / fun race could be popular with “weekend warriors.”


Thursday, 14 March 2013

Bad News - Another Diversion

The Forestry have informed us that the newly named “High Voltage” section will be closed for harvesting most likely starting next week. Diversions will be posted so you can continue on ‘Follow the Dog’ or drop down Kitbag Hill to the level crossing to start ‘The Monkey Trail’.

Following lessons learnt from the previously harvested sections of the Monkey Trail, plus the need to employ a trail building contractor to repair the damage done, this time around the FC have had meetings with all the harvesting contractors agreeing that they would minimise crossing points and install extraction racks along side the trail. If all goes to plan, once the harvesting is completed, we should be able to get the trail open with little or no delay.

All we can say is it’s a working forest and the price of timber must be high.


Monday, 4 March 2013

Sunday 10th March - No Trail Building

There will be no XC trail building this coming Sunday as we will be having a "committee" meeting to organise and plan our works for the coming year.


Sunday, 3 March 2013

More Maintenance - Trail building

Whilst the section of ‘The Monkey’ is closed waiting for the contractor to start the repairs, we took the opportunity for a spot of maintenance on the climb after ‘Klondike Bridge’. One corner was resurfaced and several other areas were given some TLC. 

What a gorgeous spring day made even better by a slice of Dave’s chocolate birthday cake!


Friday, 1 March 2013

Midnight Manoeuvres

February 28th at midnight is when the Mountain Mayhem 24 hour Endurance Event entry goes live. This year, Chase Trails are entering a team of four – “The Trolls” and Ian is entering as a soloist, “The Chase Trails Loner”.

As last year, Dave, Ian and I headed off in the direction of Pat Adams house to hand completed forms in personally to guarantee our entries and for a brew and slice or two of cake. Having set the precedence last year, we were the first to arrive by bike – OK  we’d only cycled a mile from our mobile office – but our mug shots are on the MM website.

After our fill of tea and cake, it was high time to head back home but less than 2 miles down the road, a Derbyshire Constabulary police car passed us ….. oh, no! Looking in the mirror, on goes his brake lights followed by reversing lights …… how long until we get pulled?

It didn't take long for the ‘boys in blue’ to catch us up, run Dave’s car reg. through their computer and hit the blue lights. Oh bother!

“Good morning gents, where are you going?” After checking names and listening to a rather far fetched sounding explanation of why we were driving down a narrow country road with 3 bikes on the car at 2 in the morning, the officer bid us farewell. Phew!


Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Last One? – Trail building

Today, using our tried and tested method, the last berm requiring a drainage pipe was targeted on ‘The Link’, the first section of ‘The Monkey’ trail. We travelled light having to hand carry all the equipment to site as vehicular access is impossible. A temporary diversion was cleared and sign before starting work.

A warm welcome and big thanks to new volunteer Christopher. Keen to get stuck in, he helped with digging the drainage trench before the damn was breached and the contents of the sump flooded out.

Once the pipe had been squeezed into the trench and back filled with material, William packed it down to leave a “speed bump”. Bruce’s idea being that as the material settles, the surface of the berm will end up flat - time will tell …

After a returning the tools and a quick visit to The Urn, we headed to the warmth of the FC office for a progress meeting with the Forestry guys.  Discussions included planning future work, Health & Safety matters as well as the FC thanking Chase Trails for all our hard work.


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Good News - Monkey Trail Update

For the latest on the Monkey Trail diversion, see this blog post

We've had to keep this under wraps for a while – there’s been a lot of work behind the scenes getting quotations, approvals and the like sorted but finally we can go live with this press release from the Forestry Commission:

“A MTB Trail building contractor has been appointed to repair recently damaged trails. Harvesting operations took place on the Monkey Trail in the Deercote valley, which are part of the long-term forest management plan.

Every effort is taken to minimise damage, but unfortunately around 15% of the trail is damaged, where tree harvesting machinery crosses the trail creating ruts. These thinning operations are essential to give the trees more room to grow, allow wildlife to flourish and timber sales help fund the trail.

The contractor will carry out the repairs, but also revamp the whole trail section. These works are planned to start at the beginning of April 2013. Please obey all safety signage and follow diversion. Thanks.”

Good news all round - the damaged trails get repaired while we work on other sections.


Monday, 18 February 2013

Temporary Diversion - Sunday 24th February

First MTB race of the year takes place this Sunday (24th February) - the Run and Ride Cannock Chase Winter Classic. 

The first couple of Tackeroo sections of 'Follow the Dog' will be closed for the day to eliminate race crossing points. Please follow the signed diversion or why not stop and watch some of the racing ...

If you fancy entering, it's not too late - check out their website here.


Sunday, 17 February 2013

Out and about - recent trail building activities

With the state of the ground and recent weather, we've spent the last few weekends inspecting the felling operations and planning work for the coming year so we can submit project proposals to the FC. They have to review our plans and get the OK from various sides – timber operations, wildlife and recreation teams before we get the “go ahead” …. we can’t just go building trails where we like.

The sections that are currently closed will need significant work as the harvester has crossed the trail every 6 metres. Damage is inevitable – remember it’s a working forest.


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Moors Gorse Footbridge

Those that have ridden ‘The Monkey’ recently will have noticed that work has started on the foot bridge that will replace the railway level crossing. 

Construction should be completed by June this year and during the works, access will be maintained.


Saturday, 2 February 2013

Membership Update

Due to multiple computer failures, the Chase Trails membership office will be off line for the next week. We hope to resume normal service as soon as possible.


Saturday, 26 January 2013

In stock now at Swinnertons

The petrol heads amongst you may have heard about the Nürburgring in Germany – a 21km “test track” open to the general public. Drivers who have lapped “the ‘ring” often adorn their cars with a logo showing the outline of the track – a signal to “those in the know”.

Following their lead, the guys at Swinnertons Cycle Centre have had 2 high quality stickers produced for “Follow The Dog” and “The Monkey Trail”. They are each 100 x 60 mm on a clear self adhesive background. The photos below still have the white backing paper on them.

Each sticker is £2.50 and a proportion of that goes to Chase Trails, so support your trails and show “those in the know” where you ride.


Sunday, 6 January 2013

Bertie’s Bridge – Trail building

The wet weather has limited what we can accomplish recently – a month or so back, we re-laid a section of trail on the soon to be signed “Aunt Flow” section (more on the section names in a future post). The new surfacing just ended up as sandy coloured porridge and the bypass around the section turned into axle deep slurry. The solution was soon formulated to solve this problem by taking the trail over the boggy ground – Bertie’s Bridge.
So armed with a trailer load of tools, the section of boardwalk we constructed at the Forestry Discovery day last year and even more timber just for good measure we headed into the forest.

Posts were sunk into the soft ground and the deck bolted in place. Another section was needed to complete the span so a small step down was introduced for added spice. A few suitably placed rocks provided a ramp onto the deck and armoured the landing area off the feature – job done and a productive morning’s work.


Saturday, 5 January 2013

'Evil Slab' section - now open

After a few weeks of settling time, the closed section of trail on 'Follow the Dog' (near Marquis Drive) has been opened - the worst of the holes have been filled so there should be fewer puddles on this section.

This now means the "Dog" is now fully open.


Forthcoming events on and around the Chase

Details from the Forestry Commission  on forthcoming events:

Sunday 24th February - Run & Ride Winter Classic MTB race
Starting @ Tackeroo Campsite
After the success of last year’s events the Run & Ride Cannock Chase Classics are back for 2013 with two races. First of the events to look forward to is the Cannock Chase Winter Classic held at Tackeroo on the 24th February.

Sunday 3rd March – Walton Chasers Orienteering event
Starting @ Haywood Park Farm
Regional level orienteering event using Abrahams Valley

Saturday 16th March – Scout Association Cross Chase Walk
Staring @ Beaudesert
30th anniversary of the Scout Association’s Cross Chase Walk, a long distance walking event staring and finishing at Beaudesert and covering most of Cannock Chase.

Sunday 17th March – Midlands XC Cross Country MTB race
Starting @ Tackeroo Campsite
The opening round of the midlands mountain bike series returns to Cannock.

Unless stated these events are not run by the Forestry Commission and are the responsibility of the event holder.