• This topic has 76 replies, 43 voices, and was last updated 3 days ago by Moe.
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  • Forestry Commission and mtb’ers (Cannock Chase content)
  • Premier Icon timbog160
    Full Member

    Wow……some real d**kheads in those comments, but then it is FB I suppose!

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    @convert

    I’m yet to ever see it actually reported in black and white or a land owner report factually that it has actually happened to them.

    https://www.getreading.co.uk/news/local-news/new-swinley-forest-bike-trails-4193423.amp

    Premier Icon jekkyl
    Full Member

    Just been reading all those comments on fb again. It is privately owned land after all so builders have no right to complain, but the trails that were recently destroyed, the risk of injury on those was no greater than some of the tracks at Stile Cop, where the tracks promote jumps! if the reason is because insurance companies are asking for the high injury risk trails to be destroyed (because of potential liability claims) what’s the difference there?

    As an aside, what’s history of the chase? who owns the land, Forestry England?, are they publicly owned? or funded. The council own some of the land too I think.

    Premier Icon DickBarton
    Full Member

    Here is a reference to claims from a senior person in forestry (at the time, no idea if he still is) –

    https://www.aigasforest.org.uk/userfiles/file/Minutes%2520of%2520Meetings/59%2520-%2520%25202%2520Feb%25202018.pdf

    Hope that works – page 2 and 3…

    Premier Icon vazaha
    Free Member

    “The council own some of the land too I think.”

    Ay, there’s the rub – the Chase is a patchwork of purview; much of it is Staffordshire County Council territory. The plans to make all car parks paying ones is a SCC one, for example.

    Bear in mind that it was not too long ago that cordoning off a large part of it to be a Centre Parcs style affair was seriously on the table.

    There is a recently published plan on ‘going forward’ – that includes the parking proposals – that i have yet to properly read that i’ll post up if i’m not beaten to it

    Premier Icon markrh
    Free Member

    National trust also own a part of it

    Premier Icon st
    Free Member

    The two primary land managers of Cannock Chase are Forestry England and the Council. Of the land managed by FE some is owned and some is leasehold which they manage long term.

    FE self-insure.

    In some ways from a selfish mountain biking perspective there’s never been a better time to ride on the Chase. Follow the Dog is now fully open again and the amount of off piste stuff is at an all time high with some really really fun and technical options available.

    Sadly some of this has been built in areas that should have been avoided thus exacerbating the situation, others have pushed the boundaries too far to the point of becoming extreme in the eyes of those who’s job it is to be concerned about such things.

    The balance has been lost and FE will be forced to do something about it whilst non-cycling public perception will be further skewed against mountain bikes.

    FE need to have a degree of control, Stile Cop was mentioned in an earlier comment. One of the factors that allowed us to establish the Cop (against a number of odds at the time) was to focus downhill riding in a defined spot. FE became quite relaxed about it but with trails that compare and in some cases exceed the perceived risk of the Cop popping up in at least 2 other locations there is going to be a bust up at some point.

    FE will have no choice but to take chainsaws to trails and close them. The level of entitlement to build trails is significant. People want to build and believe they can do so as they like. FE will try to encourage them to get involved with groups like Chase Trails but they won’t. They either feel like the official stuff is too tame,out of date or just not their style so will do their own thing. End result is the ban hammer being dropped.

    Premier Icon dirkpitt74
    Full Member

    @st very well put Sir 👍

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Full Member

    Good old days all the trails were natural off piste stuff at Cannock. Totally disagree with building big jumps and on SSSI sites and wooden structures but the nice cheeky natural twisty trails were great plus they don’t seem to attract the e-bikers.

    This. I have been riding at Cannock for 3 decades now. Never built any trails but have definitely found new ways through the trees. I’m all for finding a route but not for building.

    Oh, but one thing – I now ride an e-bike on the same stuff! Sorry!

    Premier Icon SirHC
    Full Member

    They either feel like the official stuff is too tame,out of date or just not their style so will do their own thing.

    Every year the Dog/Monkey are being sanitized. People are seeking out progression, the off piste stuff satisfies this, the FC at Cannock don’t understand this, they need to take a look at FOD official trails, they’ve seen there is a need/market/want and have built stuff.

    Rather than putting effort into demolishing trails, why dont the FC come up with guidelines of whats acceptable (there is a document, but cant find it) and where is acceptable and go from there.

    FC claiming that non sanctioned trails destroy habitats is nonsense, they are quite happy to drive a harvester and then a bulldozer through the forest and decimate the place.

    Premier Icon Kuco
    Free Member

    FC claiming that non sanctioned trails destroy habitats is nonsense, they are quite happy to drive a harvester and then a bulldozer through the forest and decimate the place.

    Totally agree with this comment, look how many times over the years the surrounding area has been destroyed by harvesters & Forwarders. I totally understand the trees are grown to be harvested but don’t comment that a trail destroys an ecosystem (unless it’s SSSI) then destroys acres when it’s time to harvest with the compacted ground, 2-foot ruts, diesel, and oil spills. Plus the damage to the surrounding trees they make when harvesting and just leave them smashed up and damaged and all the brash left on the ground covering up any growth from small plants and vegetation especially when you can get brash bailers that can collect it as biomass.

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Full Member

    There are SSSI’s on the Chase and they should be respected 100%.

    As far as I am concerned, trails found through mature farmed forest areas are fair game. Building your own stuff on someone else’s land is not on though.

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Full Member

    Agree with above from Kuco and SirHC

    Natural singletrack snaking through the trees causes no damage and is no more dangerous than sanctioned trails, less maybe as the nature of them means you’re slower in general.

    It’s where folks build big jumps and kickers and dig out huge holes for this where problems occur.

    FC will never sanction it though as it would basically open the floodgates for all sorts of stuff.

    Premier Icon kjcc25
    Free Member

    Just a point about the above comment regarding FE dumbing down the Dog and Monkey, unfortunately most of the dumbing down is by fellow so call mountain bikers who think it is ok to build short cuts on corners and chicken runs on every feature that Chase Trails have ever built. Take Zik Zag a great piece of trail building to gain height, there is now a route that cuts every corner, making it virtually a straight line from top to bottom. Not sure if it’s ebikers just ploughing their way to the top through every corner or those on, certain nights, when it seems acceptable to do the Dog in reverse. The result however is a confusing mess.

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Full Member

    Not sure if it’s ebikers just ploughing their way to the top through every corner or those on, certain nights, when it seems acceptable to do the Dog in reverse

    More likely Strava lines. They happen everywhere.

    Premier Icon trumpton
    Free Member

    I fully support the FC and think we should listen to them.things are only going to get worst with an influx of new riders.over on pinkbike theres comments about newbies giving abuse to trailbuilders when they close of sections due to wear and weather.we need to be patient and help guide the newbies.same with skills advise them to get skill courses otherwise a and e may be overwhelmed and give us a bad name with people riding beyond their ability.i understand that some experienced people build trails too and pros doing this and posting videos are bad news.if we get it right what with increased numbers our sport we prosper with more rights and places yo ride.we must stick to the rules though and encourage others to do the same.swimley is not fc but a great example of how the sport can legally grow.we now have a great money making popular trail centre.the jump gulley was knocked down due to people who were probably experienced in xc riding without thought and getting injured.i know everyone gets injured at some point but this needs to be limited if possible.others riders should help others and spread the love.i also personally think we should all get bells and stay on the right side of walkers as they are very influential.theres loads of them.imho.please don’t flame me though.

    Premier Icon DickBarton
    Full Member

    Not flaming but sticking to the rules won’t improve them. Saying that, I’m not saying ignore them, but there is no collective voice campaigning for us.

    New riders have an I’m-alright-Jack attitude and do what they like and have no interest in what others rightly or wrongly think. So they keep ignoring things as people generally don’t like being told they can’t do something (and seem even more displeased when an alternative is offered).

    Premier Icon st
    Free Member

    There are some really good and valid points made in this thread resurrection.

    Interestingly with the recent start of works to the new Blue trail (in readiness for the Commonwealth Games in ‘22) FE have finally acknowledged that in recent years Follow the Dog has been toned down due to the absence of viable alternative trails for developing riders.

    This has been a real source of frustration for Chase Trails who’ve been unable to develop anything new for a long time now. Whilst some riders may not like what our volunteers do Chase Trails have always pushed to continue the development of trails.

    Whilst C-19, red tape and an ever dwindling number of regular volunteers has temporarily put Chase Trails on hold (all FE volunteering through the country has understandably been stopped) the small team who remain are eager to get back to it and build new sections and upgrade existing trails. It’s not our volunteers preference to be devoted to puddle draining as has been the case for some considerable time.

    Premier Icon sr0093193
    Free Member

    FC claiming that non sanctioned trails destroy habitats is nonsense

    Where have they said that?

    What the post actually said was:

    Sadly, some have been built through sensitive wildlife and ecological areas

    Those are fundamentally different things.

    Here’s a scenario for you.

    You build a trail over a day in an out of the way bit of woodland. It’s actaully got a nest of a protected bird of prey in it. You are no more than 100m from the nest all day despite building 300m of trail. You disturbed the birds off the nest for 6 hours and the eggs became unviable after 30 mins. This years breeding season is a failure.

    The FC fell the entire area in November. It has no impact on the bird of prey because it’s not nesting and isn’t even in the country. When it returns it nests in the area of woodland next to where it nested last year.

    You then build a trial in that and cause it to fail for the second time.

    You’ll shout about habitat destruction and how that justifies your trial building whilst totally ignorning that the habitat that wildlife use still exists in close proximity to where it was. Habitat’s aren’t a stagnant entity they change over time naturally and by human intervention that actually makes the countryside more biodiverse.

    The problem is you can only see if from the perspective of what you want whilst having little understanding of the complexity around matter you are commenting on.

    Premier Icon Kuco
    Free Member

    You build a trail over a day in an out of the way bit of woodland. It’s actaully got a nest of a protected bird of prey in it. You are no more than 100m from the nest all day despite building 300m of trail. You disturbed the birds off the nest for 6 hours and the eggs became unviable after 30 mins. This years breeding season is a failure.

    Having worked a lot in the area that reintroduced Buzzards and Red Kites a few years ago believe me they take no notice of you even with a chainsaw going.

    Premier Icon sr0093193
    Free Member

    Well having worked and had an interest in this area for 15 years I can tell you that isn’t the case for everything.

    And to be frank I would question your actual understanding given your previous post in this thread, and ‘buzzard reintroduction’ given it’s one of the most common raptors in the country and has been for decades.

    Premier Icon Kuco
    Free Member

    Well, they were reintroduced about 20 years ago where I’m on about may be different where you are? As for my previous post, I’ve ridden over the Chase for nearly 30 years and it’s first-hand experience of the comments I’ve made. Which parts are you questioning?

    Premier Icon exsee
    Free Member

    Having built wild trail and also legit trail I can understand both sides of the fence. You can make progress (kind of??) working with FE, I know that’s the long game and people need to engage with that process but tbh the process is piss poor and the dynamics are completely skewed.
    if I were advising wild builders in my area today I would tell them to avoid working with FE if they can. Build and accept it will be knocked down, build again, don’t get attached to a spot, build multiple discreet lines and as they become more popular start building elsewhere in prep for demolition, then back to the original lines and start again.
    FE are not ready to engage in a reasonable process so don’t waste your time
    Reeespekt to the boneheads who try though👊

    Premier Icon trumpton
    Free Member

    I take back what I said as I’ve discovered some of the trails I’ve ridden are not official. Still not sure if it’s right though. I understand people don’t want to be told what to do so I’ll keep my mouth shut. Apologies to all the trail builders. Also thought back to some of the walkers who wouldn’t get out of my way and blocked the whole bridle way.The world isn’t perfect and I have been a d1ck.

    Premier Icon scruff
    Free Member

    This thread was resurrected to show the link about free to park areas that are either closing or having charges introduced.

    https://www.expressandstar.com/news/local-hubs/staffordshire/cannock-chase/2020/09/08/demand-for-re-run-of-consultation-into-controversial-cannock-chase-plans/

    Premier Icon walleater
    Free Member

    Still building big booter in the forest Scruff LOL

    Sounds like a similar situation to over here (although we don’t have the bureaucracy as we are mainly building on private land and the owners either don’t mind or don’t care). Loads of people wanting to build new trails, and far less people wanting to help with the upkeep of old ones. Add Covid into the mix and multiply both issues by 10…..

    Premier Icon vazaha
    Free Member

    This is correct

    *i don’t know why a reply to scruff doesn’t appear as such*

    I took a drive over the Chase today – where you are now parking is where you will not be allowed to park under the proposals outlined ^above.

    Get ready to find your access quite seriously restricted.

    Premier Icon dannyh
    Full Member

    However, Jekyll is correct in that this was all kicked off by some NIMBY Karen on Facebook who doesn’t like to share.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Full Member

    convert
    Full Member

    This is often claimed. Has it ever actually happened in the UK?

    This is half-remembered but an FC bike ranger once told me that at any time FC Scotland has at least one court case ongoing that if successful would probably cause them to close most of their trails the next day.

    Remember, it doesn’t have to be successful- it only has to be enough trouble to really ruin some poor bugger’s year. And even the best landowner/digger relationships are hard-won and easy-lost.

    Premier Icon doomanic
    Full Member

    *i don’t know why a reply to scruff doesn’t appear as such*

    It’s a “feature” of the forum.

    Premier Icon markrh
    Free Member

    Regards to the proposal for the carparks on the Chase Scruff, I can see why landowners might want to control & to some extent limit visitors. Its hard to find a quite corner up there these days and I know post Covid numbers will drop off but I don’t think it will go back to how it was. At weekends the whole area is under stress from the sheer volume of visitors and their cars.
    Plus the main land owner Staffs council have got to find ways to generate more money with less money coming from central government to councils. And its got to be done as cheaply as possible, so if it costs to much to put a ticket machine in they’ll close the carpark…
    Hope they don’t close Chase road as the north west part of the Chase will become off limits to a lot of people unable to walk very far. Already the nature reserve at Brocton is inaccessible to people with mobility issues with the closure off its carpark but I bet it happens.
    The consultation process seemed like a proper pi$$ take, the whole thing could/should have been handled better.
    I don’t agree with whats going on but I can see why its happening.

    Premier Icon prawny
    Full Member

    The car park changes will just mean more cars parked by side of the road, we drove down by the BV visitor centre a couple of weeks ago and there were cars parked a 1/4 of a mile up the road towards Marquis drive.

    The ‘Strava lines’ on zig Zak are from the summer when the diversions sent you down there the wrong way, the trail was completely blown out because it was so dry and loads of people were straight lining the corners either by accident or on purpose. I nearly came a cropper myself it was lethal. Now they’re there though I bet people will carry on using them because they’re lazy.

    Premier Icon vazaha
    Free Member

    However, Jekyll is correct in that this was all kicked off by some NIMBY Karen on Facebook who doesn’t like to share.

    Yes, sorry, the parking thing should probably be a thread in its own right.

    I think perhaps the full implications of the proposed closures hasn’t been grasped – if you look at what has already been done at the end of Old Acre Lane, and at the beginning of the Chase Road, it will mean barring off lay-bys and ad hoc spaces over the whole of the Chase.

    It’s one thing to say that parking charges will force people elsewhere, but if you look at the detail there appears to be an effort to actually physically close off all alternatives.

    Personally speaking, closure of the Chase Road would be like choking me – my son has seriously limited mobility, and getting out of the car and only going from there to look out over Sherbrook Valley is one of the simple pleasures in our lives.

    I think the ‘consultation’ is over now anyway, so it is what it will be.

    TBF it is a bit galling to be told by your LA that because they have granted so much planning permission for housing in the area, picking up the s106 payments in the process, it will now mean that you will have to pay for the privilege of enjoying something because now there will be too many more people wanting to enjoy it.

    I suppose it won’t deter those that already pay for parking, but will it turn other people away?

    Premier Icon rossburton
    Full Member

    Well, to be fair, as the landowner, it’s them that will be facing the litigation when some unlucky kid needs 24/7 lifelong care after crashing on a shoddily built track on their land.

    This is often claimed. Has it ever actually happened in the UK?

    Paging @Moe who might remember the details of the case over at Thetford in, erm, that pit near the end of the old red. Pretty sure that gave the FC a scare.

    Premier Icon cloggy
    Full Member

    Members of the public are permitted to enter Forestry Commission land and buildings entirely at their own risk and on the condition that they will have no claim whatsoever against the Forestry Commission for any loss, damage or injury however suffered or caused, subject to the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 as amended …

    Premier Icon Moe
    Full Member

    Can’t remember the specific details around the Thetford case (I guess you mean at Squirrel Scamper Ross?), but iirc, the crux of the issue is the FC are self insured which means that any successful claim is paid for, in full, by the taxpayer, hence the FC’s caution.

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