Become a Chase Trails Member!

2016 Trail Building Update

13 January, 2016 at 17:00

Happy New Year to everyone and we hope you received all the bike related bling on your Christmas lists 🙂

Just to bring our readers up to date, here are details of what’s happening over the coming few months:

Follow the Dog:

The diversion around Aunt Flow, Bomb Hole, Billy Goat’s Gruff, Time for a Brew and Evil Slab has been lifted following successful harvesting operations and the FC’s inspection. Billy Goat’s Gruff will remain closed for 4 to 6 weeks with a fire road diversion in place whilst Chase Trails carries out maintenance filling various holes and replacing the rotting log steps. This will take a few weekends so if you’re passing, please stop and help load or push a wheelbarrow or two.

The work upgrading Werewolf Drop with an alternative exit line will continue once we’ve finished and reopened Billy Goat’s Gruff.

We’ll also be looking at resurfacing the start of Twist and Shout plus extending the rock garden slabs up to The Boardwalk in Watch Out Trolls.

Monkey Trail:

Forestry operations are starting soon for a 4 to 6 week period on Over the Rainbow and Deer Skull. This is a “clear fell” operation but the good news is that the trails will remain open. If you’re out riding during the week, the harvesting crew may ask you to wait for a while if the machinery is working close to the trail. Take the opportunity to watch the harvester felling trees – it’s quite impressive.

Remember, the Chase Trails crew are unpaid volunteers and we work on the trails for the love of it – any help, no matter how small, all goes to keeping the trails up and running.

Have a great 2016,

Trail building: Devil’s Staircase

22 October, 2014 at 13:00

Now that the Let Loose black option is ready for the FC inspection in a few weeks time, we took the opportunity to reshape the last corner at the bottom of the Devil’s Staircase. After scraping off and taping a diversion route, we started by driving in posts to support the crib wall around the outer edge of the corner.

Whilst Dave and Steve staked a log on the inside of the corner, new volunteers Izzy and Adam broke up the existing surface so we could shape a gentle bermed corner. Phil and I packed down the material building the berm up while Bertie, the Golden Retriever, plonked himself down in the way.

As the material is sandy and quite dry, the new surface will require a few weeks to settle and a good whackering before we can re-open the last part of the trail.


No Trail Building – 12th October 2014

7 October, 2014 at 13:00

Please note that there will be no trail building this weekend, as we’re holding our Annual General Meeting. Trail building will be back on as usual on the 19th October.

The AGM is open to all Chase Trails Members (only), and you’ll be able to get an idea of what we do as well as discuss the future of Chase Trails. We’ll also have a light lunch as well as some entertainment afterwards.

All members should have received an email a couple of weeks ago informing them about the AGM as well as the time/location – we’ll (hopefully!) be sending out a reminder email sometime in the next few days. To become a member and support the trails for just £15 a year, click the big blue banner on the top left of the site. 🙂

No Trail Building – Sunday 16th Feb

14 February, 2014 at 00:00

We are not trail building this Sunday (16th Feb) but instead conducting a trail inspection ride with a view planning where and what maintenance is required over the coming months.

We are also reviewing the possibility of holding “fix what you enjoy riding” Big Build Days to repair longer sections of damage trail – watch this space…

Twist & Shout Closure

31 January, 2014 at 15:00

As you’ll no doubt be aware, ‘Twist and Shout’ – the first section of Follow the Dog after you pass under Go Ape – has been closed for around a week and a half.

The current forestry operations in ‘Twist and Shout’ and around the visitor centre will last for approximately 6 weeks. Once complete, we’ll assess the level of damage to determine what repairs are necessary. Depending on the amount of work required, the opportunity may be taken to re-surface that second half of the trail. Please abide by the warning signs and follow the signed diversion. More details to follow once the harvesting is complete.

Paul Weller announces Forestry Commission gigs

13 January, 2014 at 14:00

Paul Weller has confirmed five forest gigs, appearing as part of the Forestry Commission’s Forest Live concert programme in spectacular woodland locations across the country.

It’s been thirty years since Paul Weller first exploded onto the music scene, suited and booted, and armed with statement tunes in The Jam. Blending the best of British with his love of Motown, Weller crafted a new landscape in the UK music scene thanks to an impressive portfolio of work including amongst others, Stanley Road, Illumination, 22 Dreams and 2013’s Sonik Kicks all hitting Number One. A significant figure in popular music for the past three generations, he remains a cultural icon.

Forest Live is an independent programme organised by the Forestry Commission bringing music to new audiences without commercial branding or sponsorship. Income from the concerts is spent on improving the woodland for both people and wildlife.

Following on from two sold out Forest Live dates last summer, Paul said of the 2014 shows, “It’s a favourite summer jaunt for me so I look forward to performing in a few of the forests that I haven’t played in a good while”.

Paul Weller plus special guests will be performing:

  • Saturday 14 June: Sherwood Pines Forest, Edwinstowe, Nr Mansfield, Notts.
  • Saturday 21 June: Bedgebury Pinetum & Forest, Nr Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
  • Friday 27 June: Dalby Forest, Nr Pickering, N Yorks.
  • Saturday 28 June: Cannock Chase Forest, Nr Rugeley, Staffs.
  • Friday 4 July: Delamere Forest, Nr Northwich, Cheshire.

Tickets £46.20 (including booking fee) go on sale at 9.00am Friday 17 January from the Forestry Commission box office tel 03000 680400 or buy online at


Jessie J concerts announced as part of Forest Live

16 December, 2013 at 13:00

The Forestry Commission are thrilled to reveal Jessie J has announced summer dates for 2014 as part of Forest Live, organised by the Forestry Commission, where concerts are performed in spectacular woodland locations around the country.

There hasn’t been a career in recent memory that has taken off so fast, so spectacularly and so all-consumingly as Jessie J’s. Highlights have included No 1 singles and two hugely successful albums that headed straight for the top with millions of sales worldwide, show-stopping performances in front of a global audience of billions at the London Olympics, a full-blown Saturday night prime-time TV career, extraordinary acts for charity that hit the headlines, Glastonbury festival and the Diamond Jubilee Concert.

With Jessie’s multi-platinum debut, ‘Who You Are’, she achieved the accolade of being the first UK solo artist to have six top-ten hits off one album including two No 1 singles: ‘Price Tag’ and ‘Domino’. Success continues with the 2013 release of her second power-pop album ‘Alive’ featuring the hit singles ‘Wild’, ‘It’s My Party’ and ‘Thunder’ alongside a sell-out UK arena tour.

Forest Live is an independent programme organised by the Forestry Commission bringing music to new audiences without commercial branding or sponsorship. Income from the concerts is spent on improving the woodland for both people and wildlife.

Commenting on the concerts, Jessie J said, “I made my Forest Live debut this summer with just one show which I loved so it’s great to be taking in another four Forest Live dates next year…………….see you there.”

Jessie J plus guest will be performing:

  • Friday 13 June: Sherwood Pines Forest, nr Edwinstowe, Notts.
  • Friday 20 June: Bedgebury Pinetum, nr Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
  • Friday 27 June: Cannock Chase Forest, nr Rugeley, Staffs.
  • Saturday 5 July: Delamere Forest, Nr Northwich, Cheshire.

Please note that the FC will no longer be selling tickets from the local forest office or Swinnerton Cycles and are only available through the box office and approved agents only.

Tickets £42.90 (including £3.90 booking fee) go on sale at 9.00am Thursday 19 December from the Forestry Commission box office tel 03000 680400 or buy online at


Forthcoming Events – November/December 2013

5 November, 2013 at 19:00

A few events you may be interested in this and next month:

Thursday 14th November – Chase Trails Mid-week Maintenance
10am @ Swinnerton Cycles Forest Centre, Birches Valley
For more details see the event page on Facebook.

Sunday 24th November – Stile Cop Big Build Day
10am @ Stile Cop Bike Park (see here for directions)

Thursday 28th November – Chase Trails Mid-week Maintenance
10am @ Swinnerton Cycles Forest Centre, Birches Valley
For more details see the event page on Facebook.

Saturday 30th November – Christmas at Birches Valley
Christmas tree sales and Santa’s Grotto open at 10am @ Birches Valley. Santa’s Grand Arrival, along with his reindeer, will be at 11am.
For more details and opening times visit the Forestry Commission’s website.

Saturday 7th December – TrailPlus Adventure Challenge
Starting @ Tackeroo Caravan Site
Team adventure challenge event including trail running, mountain biking and kayak canoeing and special challenges.
For more details see the TrailPlus website.

Further details for Sunday’s Big Build Day

16 October, 2013 at 19:27

If you’re coming along to this Sunday’s Big Build Day, here’s some extra info about the day.


Either meet at Birches Valley outside Swinnerton Cycles Forest Centre at 10am then follow us to the build site (5 miles away) or head straight there, parking in ‘Beaudesert Old Park’ car park on Rugeley Road (WS15 1QW gets you close) then follow our signs to the build area. Unfortunately the build area is a good walk from the car park (up quite a steep hill) – approximately half a mile – click the thumbnail below for walking directions.

Beaudesert Old Car Park:
Driving directions from Birches Valley to Beaudesert Old Car Park:

The car park is halfway between the caravan site and the golf club (on the opposite side of the road).

Aim to be at the build site for an 11am safety briefing before we start work.


Filled jacket potatoes and cake plus hot/cold drinks will be provided at lunchtime with a free raffle for the chance to win exclusive Chase Trails merchandise. You’re welcome to bring your own lunch and we’d probably recommend bringing some water to drink throughout the day.

Anything else?

There’s no fixed finishing time so if you can only make the morning, we don’t mind if you beat a hasty retreat after lunch.

If you’re meeting us at Birches Valley then driving to the build site, there is no need to pay for parking. If you plan to leave your car at Birches Valley all day, ask for one of our volunteer parking passes.

There will be a covered camping toilet for the ladies.

“Twist & Shout” now fully open

10 August, 2013 at 18:00

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.

“Twist & Shout” Resurfacing

31 July, 2013 at 22:00

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 inspection 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.

110 miles in one day!

24 July, 2013 at 12:00

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.


Show Your Support

22 July, 2013 at 18:30

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

22 July, 2013 at 18:00

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

22 July, 2013 at 12:00

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.