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Follow the Dog Diversion – British Cycling Nationals XC Race

2 August, 2016 at 12:00

As has been the case in recent years, Cannock Chase is one again the venue for Round 5 of the British Cycling National Cross Country series. The event is taking place this weekend on the 6th and 7th of August, at Tackeroo Campsite.

The race route will use part of Follow the Dog, and as such, Son of Chainslapper down to Hugh’s Bridge will be closed to the public from Thursday 4th to Tuesday 9th of August. For your safety as well as the safety of the race organisers and entrants, please do not attempt to ride these sections.

A signposted diversion will be put in place taking you down the trail that runs parallel to Penkridge Bank Road.

Birches Valley Forest Centre and The Monkey Trail will not be affected by the race and are both fully open as usual.

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,
Andrew

Current Trail Closure Situation

16 March, 2015 at 20:00

We’ve had a lot of comments on Facebook regarding the state of the trails and harvesting works currently going on. Rather than try and compress all our replies into a Facebook comment, this is a much more in-depth blog post explaining why everything is the way it is at the moment.

Bomb Hole

We closed Bomb Hole back in November last year to do a complete rebuild of it. At the time, no other sections were closed. The plan was to completely rebuild the section, as well as add some smaller new features – including resurfacing 100% of the trail, rock armouring the entrance into the bomb hole itself, and adding new little rock feature. The old trail was from when Follow the Dog opened, and was about 10 years old. It had gotten to the point where it was very worn out and it was decided that we would do a complete rebuild, to bring it back up to “flagship” standard. We had actually planned to hold a Big Build Day late last year to do the majority of resurfacing work, but by the time we got close to organising it, we decided against it as we had done enough work that there probably wouldn’t have been much point to it.

The work on this section is now complete, and it has been left to bed in. We’re leaving it as long as possible to ensure that it will hopefully last for another ten years. While several people have complained about how smooth it looks now – and for that matter, about the work to Son of Chainslapper last year – it would be wise to remember that at one point, every single trail was the same when it was opened. The braking bumps and roughness will eventually come back over time. You might not like it, but we’ve had plenty of comments about it from other people saying they love it – it’s fast, flowy, and smooth. We have 14 miles of trails to choose from, so there should be plenty for everyone. One comment on Facebook suggested we build more “rough trail” – this is easier said than done. Cannock’s landscape is very sandy, and as such, there’s only so much we can do. One of Chase Trails’ and the Forestry Commission’s aims when building trails is to build them out of local sustainable material – this means that you’re unlikely to see rough rocky trails like you’ll find elsewhere in the country at places such as Coed Y Brenin. We know this isn’t to everyone’s tastes, but we like it, and it works for us.

We’re expecting to have the section open by Easter as long as the weather is kind to us. Frosts will soften the surface which is not good for a new trail.

High Voltage, Zig Zak, Devil’s Staircase, and Kitbag Hill (singletrack climb)

These were originally closed by the Forestry Commission a while back, due to harvesting work being done in that forest block (nothing to do with the mountain bike trails). Whenever the FC close a section of trail, we usually try and get some work done on the section as well, before it’s reopened. This is currently the case and for the past few weekends we’ve been working on the Devil’s Staircase. We’ll also be working to improve drainage where necessary on all four sections, and repair the log roll at the end of Zig Zak. In parallel the FC are organising for a trail building contractor to come and carry out the repair work on High Voltage.

As for why all four sections in this forest block are closed – at this moment in time the Forestry Commission take the approach that it’s better to keep the section closed for the whole period of working on it, rather than, say, opening it for a week then closing it again for us to work on. Before a section can be reopened, it has to be inspected on foot so that it is safe, the diversion has to be removed, diversion maps (online, on the notice boards around Birches Valley, in Swinnos, etc) updated, and so on. If it’s only going to be reopened for a week, it is easier for all concerned to just keep it closed.

Lower Cliff

At the moment, the felling contractors are still on site. Nothing can be done until they have finished. Then a decision will be made on how to proceed. Over the past two weekends we’ve visited the section to inspect it, and the conclusion is that while the trail is still there, in most places it’s buried under up to 2 foot of debris. In other places, it had been destroyed which was anticipated due to the gradient of the ground and the method used to remove the large trees. These sections will need to be rebuilt from scratch.

Due to how much work is to be done, a contractor will be brought in to reinstate the trail. As Lower Cliff is the flagship section of the Monkey Trail, we’re pushing hard for it to be restored to it’s former glory that everyone absolutely loves. We’ll provide an update as soon as we know more.

Lung Buster and Tight Squeeze – Entire Monkey Trail Closure

From today (Monday 16th March 2015), the entire Monkey Trail is closed. This is due to harvesting works on Lung Buster and Tight Squeeze. The reason for the total closure is due to lack of access – a way marked diversion cannot be safely put in place with harvesting machinery working in the area.

The Forestry Commission are endeavouring to complete the works this week and, if possible, have a diversion in place for the coming weekend. Once the work on Lung Buster and Tight Squeeze is complete, the extent of damage to the trails will be assessed and we’ll provide an update.

Thanks.

Concerts – Birches Valley Car Park Information

22 June, 2014 at 16:00

News from the Forestry Commission regarding the Forest Live concerts this coming week. 🙂

Due to Forestry Commission Live Music Concerts, Birches Valley Car Park will be closed early to the General Public on both Friday 27th June and Saturday 28th June 2014.

Friday 27th June 2014– Closed at 3.30pm
Saturday 28th June 2014 – Closed at 3.30pm

The upper car park will be closed all day on both the Friday and Saturday.

The Concert Carpark will open at 5pm for Concert Ticket Holders only. Concerts Ticket Holders arriving before 3pm will be able to park in the normal visitor car park during the daytime but must return to their vehicle and move them to the Concert Carpark when they open at 5pm.

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 27th or Saturday 28th June, alternative car parking will be available at Tackeroo Campsite.

Also from Monday 23rd to Wednesday 2nd 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.

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-98CBSW

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 ÂŁ46.20 (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 www.forestry.gov.uk/music.

Info
www.paulweller.com
www.forestry.gov.uk/music

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 ÂŁ42.90 (including ÂŁ3.90 booking fee) go on sale at 9.00am Thursday 19 December from the Forestry Commission box office tel 03000 680400 or buy online at www.forestry.gov.uk/music.

Info
www.jessiejofficial.com
www.forestry.gov.uk/music