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Keep an eye on who is following you home …

26 April, 2013 at 11:00

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.


Mid-week Maintenance – Trail building

25 April, 2013 at 17:00

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. 🙂


Monkey Trail diversion reduced in length – Trail building

21 April, 2013 at 21:00
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 …..

‘Tread or Shred’ Event this weekend

19 April, 2013 at 11:00

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.


Forthcoming Events on Cannock Chase

16 April, 2013 at 17:00
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.

That’s a big crane …..

14 April, 2013 at 20:00
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.

Trail Diversion Updates

10 April, 2013 at 12:00
‘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

10 April, 2013 at 11:00
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.


How will this affect our trails?

9 April, 2013 at 11:00
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 CannockForest 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 BirchesValley 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.”

No Trail Building on Easter Sunday

25 March, 2013 at 12:00

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.


Birches Valley Forest Visitor Centre Remains Closed

23 March, 2013 at 08:00

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

23 March, 2013 at 07:30

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.


Slip / Slide – Midlands XC Race Report

17 March, 2013 at 22:00
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.

No Trail Building – Sunday 17th March

16 March, 2013 at 19:00

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.


Warning: Marshals on our trails – Midlands XC race

15 March, 2013 at 12:00

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.”