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Birches Valley Car Park now closes at 7pm

1 October, 2013 at 12:00

As it’s now October, and winter is fast approaching, this means Birches Valley will now close at 7pm for the month of October.

If you usually ride in the evenings, please be sure to plan accordingly – the car park gates are shut and locked from 7pm, and you’ll be unable to get your vehicle out until the next day.

Forthcoming Events – October 2013

1 October, 2013 at 11:00

A few events you may be interested in this month:

Sunday 6th October – Chase Trails Downhill Trail Building
10am @ Stile Cop

Thursday 10th October – Chase Trails Mid-week Maintenance
10am @ Swinnerton Cycles Forest Centre, Birches Valley

Saturday 19th October – Evans Ride It Mountain Bike Ride
Starting @ Tackeroo Caravan Site
The RideIt! series are organised Mountain bike and Sportive bike rides that take place twice a month all over Britain. The RideIt! series is a fantastic way to meet like minded cyclists and get out and ride in stunning surroundings.
For more details see

Sunday 20th October – Evans Ride It Road Sportive
Starting @ Tackeroo Caravan Site
The RideIt! series are organised Mountain bike and Sportive bike rides that take place twice a month all over Britain. The RideIt! series is a fantastic way to meet like minded cyclists and get out and ride in stunning surroundings.
For more details see

Sunday 20th October – Chase Trails Big Build Day
10am meeting @ Swinnerton Cycles at Birches Valley
Come and get involved in building a BRAND NEW 1km long descent on the Monkey Trail! It’s been in the making for a number of years and now we’re having a big push to get this exciting new section open as soon as possible. Please come and lend a hand at our next “Big Build Day” to help build the start of this trail. Food and drinks will be provided at lunchtime along with a raffle to win exclusive Chase Trails merchandise. Tools are provided so just come prepared for working outdoors.

Thursday 24th October – Chase Trails Mid-week Maintenance
10am @ Swinnerton Cycles Forest Centre, Birches Valley

Thursday 31st October – Forestry Commission Halloween Forest Fun
10:30am – 12:00 noon meeting @ Birches Valley Café
Halloween Forest Fun – Come and join us for our spoooooky halloween forest fun session at Birches Valley Forest Centre. Bring a pumpkin to carve, have a go at some natural crafts and brave our self led, fearsome forest trail! Come along if you dare!!! Booking essential.

One hell of a pile of rocks

25 August, 2013 at 22:00

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 Stegosaurus, 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 clearfell 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….


“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.

We’re back online…

22 July, 2013 at 06:00

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…

‘Bomb Hole’ closure on Sunday 7th July – for one day only*

2 July, 2013 at 18:00

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.

Forthcoming Events – July 2013

28 June, 2013 at 12:00

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.

Reminder – Early car park closing this coming weekend

25 June, 2013 at 12:00

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.


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

24 June, 2013 at 12:00

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

24 June, 2013 at 08:00

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.