Work starts on new trail in Staffordshire

Local contractors have moved into the Forestry Commission’s Cannock Forest near Rugeley in Staffordshire to begin work on a new mountain bike trail as part of a £200,000 project to improve the visitor facilities at the centre.

The money will be spent on developing a red graded 8km singletrack trail, as well as updating the existing Follow the Dog trail. Clixby’s, the same trail builders that brought us the trails in Dalby Forest, Whinlatter Forest and Stainburn will begin work this week.

Giant UK has stepped forward to sponsor the new trail for the next three years. Work is expected to take up to six months to complete and the new trail will be officially opened to the public in summer 2009. The project will help safeguard six existing jobs.

The trail has been “specially designed as a contour trail,” and will feature short sharp climbs and long flowing decents plus a dose of berms, rooty drops and lots narrow flowing singletrack. Natural features will be incorporated in the trial where possible, and locally sourced stone will be used for the trails surface, ensuring it blends into the forest.

“It’s really exciting to see progress being made on what will become the region’s top mountain biking venue,” says Jason Maclean, Environment Manager for the Forestry Commission at Cannock. “This new trail will allow thousands of mountain bikers and forest visitors to develop their cycling skills or simply go out and have fun.”

Chase Trails volunteers and partners have raised over £60,000 for the project, £28,000 of which came from the Staffordshire Aggregates Levy Grant Scheme. Sport England’s West Midlands Regional Sports Board (RSB) recently awarded the initiative £130,800 from the National Lottery funded Community Investment Fund.

Chase Trails is a volunteer group of local mountain bikers who have given up countless weekends to help enhance the cycling facilities at Cannock Chase. Martin Bave from Chase Trails, says: “It’s great that after almost two years of detailed planning by Chase Trails, that work is starting on what promises to be the most technical trails on Cannock Chase. The new trail will be both physically and technically challenging for riders and will be a mixture of machine and hand built sections.

“We’re appealing for any bike enthusiasts who want to put something back into the tracks to join Chase Trails as either a basic member or better still as a fully active volunteer to help us create the best purpose built track in the Midlands.”

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