Boardwalks? There are half-a-dozen or so on FtD mostly quite short but apart from one or two they’re over streams or boggy ground and not really avoidable. It’s a friendly trail and not intended to catch you out but if you’re unsure you can always get off and walk across it’s not a problem. Sections 8 and 10 are closed with diversions in place which eliminate a fair bit of trail it might be worth heading over to the Monkey if you have time.
The wider area is unrestricted you can go pretty much anywhere you want to. Loads of fireroads but Cannock has a rich history of XC racing dating back to the late 80s and there are trails everywhere.Posted 4 years agoThe PinksterSubscriber
If you are going off piste at Cannock make sure you know which direction you’re headed in as it’s quite easy to get lost as all the trees look very alike.
The boardwalk sections of the FTD are very easy, and probably a good way of building up your confidence with them. The only one I can think of that could cause any issues at all is the first one you hit after leaving Birches Valley (at the end of the Stegosaurus)as it has a small rock step-down onto it. As long as you don’t brake suddenly going into it you should be fine.
The second bit of boardwalk has a chicken run if you don’t fancy doing it – it does have a couple of narrowish bits that are still easily ridable – but other than that the others are all pretty low to the ground, mostly very short (think wooden bridges rather than techy trail stuff) and easy to cross as they’re more than wide enough.
Give them a go, the sense of achievement will be more than worth it. 😀Posted 4 years agoMrs ToastMember
Yep, section 8 (High Voltage) was re-opened last weekend. 🙂
As for woodwork, if you’re starting from Birches Valley (where Swinnertons Cycles and the trailhead is), then you’ll encounter it as follows:
First section (which is called Twist and Shout, used to be called section two) – starts off with a short boardwalk that goes onto a rocky slope. Bypass available.
Second section (called the Stegosaur, used to be called section six) – there’s a rock garden that goes down onto a short bridge. It’s very wide though. You can bypass it by following the fireroad around the rock garden which runs parallel to the trail and sneak onto the trail just after the bridge.
Third section (called Watch Out! Trolls! used to be called section seven) – this is the one with the original, longer boardwalk. There’s a bypass running down the right hand side though, you get onto it just before you go onto the rock garden that would lead down to the boardwalk.
Fifth section (called Aunt Flow, used to be called section nine) – there’s a very short bridge that goes over a mucky patch. I came a cropper on this a month or two ago, so now I’m paranoid and walk over it.
Seventh section (called Billy Goat’s Gruff, used to be called section eleven) – has 3 very short bridges, easily walkable.
Tenth section (I think, I get a bit fuzzy with the ‘new’ stuff!) – the bypass to Werewolf Drops has a very short bridge.
Eleventh (I think? Right towards the end) – has two short bridges. Hugh’s Bridge is at the beginning of the end, then there’s an unavoidable one leading onto the Rollers, right at the very end.Posted 4 years agostMember
Almost of of the bridges on FtD and Monkey are there for a reason i.e. they are genuine bridges. The very first one we ever built (the second on FtD) spans what was once known as the Puddle if Doom so that gives a clue. There are a couple of short bits which are there to (slightly) spice up plain sections of the trail but a handful of pedal strokes and they are over with.
Please don’t bypass the boardwalks, long term it will result in trail creep and undermine the trails themselves.Posted 4 years ago
st, i am not looking for bypasses on unsurfaced muddy tracks as i accept that is not a good plan, more wondering if there are fireroads/access paths that have a hard surface that can be used to avoid bits if the weather is questionable.
End of the day bikes don’t pay the wages and crashing on wet/slimy wooden walkways is not a good plan in my opinion.
Never been to cannock, am aware that there are some boardwalks if it is a few metres then not an issue, if it is hundreds of metres then i am not likely to bother riding there.Posted 4 years ago
Looks like i may have a couple of hours to kill in the Cannock area on Saturday.
Was thinking i could do a couple of laps of the FTD, but i have a hatred of boardwalks, i don’t see the point, never found one that i have remotely enjoyed, it may be raining which i find makes wood even less fun etc.
So how much is there, how greasy does it get in damp weather, can it be bypassed reasonably easily.
As for the wider area, how much riding is there? what is the access situation like?Posted 4 years agoThe PinksterSubscriber
There are no long sections of boardwalk and having ridden there in pretty much every weather condition available the only traction problems I’ve ever experienced on them is when its really frosty.
As scruff says, the pebbles are a far bigger risk in the wet.Posted 4 years agoMrs ToastMember
When I’m talking about ‘bypasses’, I’m talking about the official chicken runs, not just walking around the side (because as Stu said, the boardwalks are there because they’re to avoid the gloopy sections of trail that never drain well.
But I was told that I shouldn’t call them chicken runs, because they make manly men feel all unmanly. 😛
Most of the bridges are really short, so if you do think they look a bit sketchy it’ll take seconds to hop off the bike, push it across the bridge and get back on. Just make sure that if there’s anyone behind that you let them pass first. They’re generally fine in the wet though, as long as you take it easy. I’ve only come a cropper on the boardwalks twice:
* Once on the Stegosaur – the people in front had suddenly stopped, so I stopped. They set off, I let them get a bit of a headstart, went to set off… and somehow managed to shoot sideways. Bike went off to the left, I landed on the bridge in a slightly bemused fashion.
* Second one was the aforementioned accident on Aunt Flow, where I hit the rock step onto the bridge a bit iffily – I would have been fine with a bit more speed. I stopped, and put one foot down, but it was off the side of the bridge. I stood for a few moments, with one leg on the ground, and the other cocked over the bike, still on the bridge. Then I fell over, and slashed my leg as my bike landed on top of me. My pedals are sharp.
It’s interesting to note that both of these incidents occurred when I was actually at a stop, rather than riding. I should also point out that I’m not terribly good at mountain biking.
It’s all just a blur when I go round
I only pootle around at sloth-like speed so that I can give handy information! It’s a dangerous job, but somebody has to do it! 😛Posted 4 years agopatriotproMember
You sound like one of my riding mates!
He over-thinks things just like you.
There’s nothing to worry about at Cannock, just take the wooden bits slowly if you don’t like them and stay off the front brake.
Go with an open mind and enjoy it would be my advice.
Oh and do the Monkey, not the Dog if you only have a couple of hours.Posted 4 years agostMember
I really don’t think you’ll find it an issue mrmo, there are a number of man made trails around which seem to have suffered from boardwalk overload and I’d like to think that the Chase isn’t one of those locations. Yes there are a couple of bits which could be considered trail builders indulgences but these are minor.
As said above I wouldn’t over analysise things, mountain biking (even in its watered down trail centre guise) is a sport with it’s risks. Accept that you’re exposing yourself to these and ride within your abilities and after that what will be will be.Posted 4 years agomindmap3Member
The best bit of woodwork is no longer there…the option if the skinny over the stinky bog of doom fairly early on in the Dog. That was great fun…it was also fun spotting those who hadn’t hot it quite right and ended up in the stinky mud.
Mrmo if you want some company, feel free to give me a shout as I was planning on heading up there in Saturday anyhow.Posted 4 years agobutlerjamespSubscriber
I personally would worry more abiut the tight rocky switchbacks on the black section than the woodwork. Can ride it all in the ice with a bit of care and attention. Just chill and do a couple laps of the monkey then grab a coffee and some cake and you’ll have had a good couple hours riding.Posted 4 years ago
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