Sunday, 28 October 2012

It’s dirty work – Trail building

As mentioned in last week’s post, the two berms above Werewolf Drop were targeted this week. We’ve got the routine down to a “T” now – cut and mark out a diversion then start digging! That’s the clean bit, the dirty work entails excavating the rather smelly sediment out of the bottom of the sumps. Our four legged trail builder, Bertie, was having great fun paddling in the muck much to his owner’s disgust!

Martin, Steve and I worked on the upper berm while Ben, Bruce2, Dave and William worked on the lower one. Making good use of a closed trail, Original Bruce and Jez filled in a number of braking bumps then struck gold – well, trail builder’s gold – good quality material for reshaping the lower berm.

After much barrowing and wackering, the berm repairs were finished just as the rain set in – it was “adjourn to the urn” time.

To capture our grafting on camera, William set up his Go-Pro in a tree to do a time-lapsed video – have a look here for laugh.

Next Sunday, the later part of the first section of ‘The Dog’ is ear marked for some TLC so we’ll be diverting riders along the Heritage Trail to the start of the Stegosaurus.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Monkey Trail Diversion UPDATE

* * *    For latest update - see here   * * * 

From today (Monday 22nd), the FC are extending the diversion as the harvesting contractors are making swift progress and have now using the same track as the existing diversion. This will turn into a bigger mud bath than it already is with the forwarder making deep ruts.

The new diversion will be from Klondike Bridge, up Rainbow Valley, to the start of The Original Monkey as shown by the purple line on the map above. This is likely to be for 4-6 weeks. Please follow the signs for your own safety.


Sunday, 21 October 2012

No More Swimming Pools – Trail building

The early morning fog didn’t deter the usual suspects from turning up with recent recruits Ben and William coming back for more – thanks guys. Today’s plan was to hit the first two big berms on Tackeroo that have resembled swimming pools recently.

After cutting and signing a diversion around our work area, we set to work digging trenches into the backs of the berms to drain the water and later take the pipes. Once Jez had broken through the dam on the upper berm, a torrent of mud and water cascaded down the bank for several minutes.

We were expecting to find a shopping trolley or rusty old bike in the sumps but other than rather smelly silt, there were no surprises – that said a couple of mobile phones did end up in the mud …. remember to zip up your pockets!

Once the pipes were in place, the trenches were filled and the material compacted. To finish the job, the berms were reshaped and wackered smooth – let’s hope with the drainage pipes in place, they stay that way.

Next on the list are the two berms above Werewolf Drops so expect another short cut through the trees next Sunday.


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Special Delivery

A big thanks go to Stuart from the Cemex quarry for organising the free trail surfacing material and Neil, the tipper truck driver, for making four drops on Saturday morning. Following these deliveries, we now have 80 tonnes of material dotted around the Dog ready for our vital repairs.

The guys will be delivering more material in coming weeks for future work on the Monkey Trail.


Sunday, 14 October 2012

Four down .... loads more to go - Trail building

The last two Sundays have seen us make a start on improving the drainage to the many berms on the Dog and Monkey. To do a proper job, we’re cutting a channel through the wall of the berm and installing a 150mm diameter drainage pipe to carry water from the sump well away from the trail.

It’s going to take us a while but the end results will be well worth it.

Next Sunday, we'll be making a start on the seven berms or should that be swimming pools in Tackeroo.


Friday, 5 October 2012

Future works

With the darker evenings, winter is most definitely on its way so our attention is turning to winterising the trails as best we can. Anyone who’s ridden the Dog recently will know that several of the berms have turned into lagoons – experience has shown that after a couple of years the sumps slit up and no longer drain effectively. With this in mind, we have mapped all the berms on the Dog and Monkey that need drainage pipes (20 in total).

Experimenting with the top two berms on the descent into Deercote has proved that we can cut a trench, lay the pipe and back fill without needing to close the trail long term. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be hitting these berms so with a bit of luck, your socks should stay drier for longer.

Some remedial work has already been done on the worst berms until we can get around to doing a proper job so please bear with us.


Forthcoming Events

The following events are happening on Cannock Chase over the coming months - check out the websites for further details:

Saturday 6th October – Evans “Ride It” Mountain Bike Ride
Starting at the 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 likeminded cyclists and get out and ride in stunning surroundings.
For more details see

Sunday 7th October – Evans “Ride It” Road Sportive
Starting at the 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. More details

Saturday 20th October – Specialized UK Demo Day
Birches Valley Forest Centre
Specialized UK demo day starting at Birches Valley giving you the chance to test ride the latest Specialized bikes.

Saturday 3rd November – Forestry Commission 4x4
Starting at Birches Valley Forest Centre
Join the Rangers in your 4x4 to explore Cannock Chase from behind the wheel. Follow a Forestry Commission guide in your 4x4 vehicle and view Cannock Forest from a different perspective.

Saturday 1st December – Trailplus Adventure Challenge
Starting at Tackeroo Caravan Site
Team adventure challenge event including trail running, mountain biking and kayak canoeing and special challenges.

Saturday 1st December – Santa’s Grand Arrival
11am Birches Valley Forest Centre
See Santa and his reindeer make their grand arrival at Birches Valley.

Saturday 1st til Wednesday 19th December– Christmas Tree Sales
Birches Valley Forest Centre
Come and visit our winter wonderland selling a wide range of sustainably grown real Christmas trees in the beautiful woodland setting of Cannock Chase.