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A heavyweight donation from a quarry company is set to help keep popular mountain bike trails in Cannock Forest in top shape.
The Forestry Commission and trailbuilding group, Chase Trails, are celebrating after CEMEX said it would donate 500 tonnes of sand and gravel every year from its nearby quarry to help maintain two of the UK's most well used trails in the 3,480 hectare (8,700 acre) woodland, near Rugeley.
The red graded Monkey Trail has been a massive hit with bikers since it opened in 2010 and was ridden 100,000 times in its first year alone. It was also voted the nation’s top trail by readers of Mountain Bike Rider magazine. Together with the Follow the Dog route, the West Midlands first cross country trail, it offers 22 kilometres of stunning riding starting from Birches Valley Visitor Centre.
Now to cope with the network's surging popularity, rangers and volunteers will use the sand and gravel to re-surface trails where repairs are needed, ensuring they offer a top thrill to riders all year round.
Andy Coggins, Forestry Commission Recreation manager at Cannock Chase, said:
"We’re really fortunate in Cannock because local geology means we only have to dig down a little way to find a firm surface. But because the trails have provided such a hit we need to patch up badly worn areas. This donation from CEMEX is absolutely brilliant and all we need now is a few more volunteers to help us shovel it around!"
The donation was the idea of a local trail rider, Stuart Wood, from Nuneaton, who works for CEMEX.
“I use the Cannock trails a lot and got the idea while out riding. It should be just the answer to keep the routes in good condition and keep pace with their popularity.”
Chase Trails is holding trailbuilding days every Sunday, rain or shine, from 9.45am meeting at Swinnerton Cycles bike hire centre. People of all ages are being urged to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty, learn about trailing building and help steer the future of the mountain biking in Cannock Forest. Tools are provided, but wear sturdy footwear and suitable outdoor clothing. More details at http://chasetrails.co.uk/xc.php
Notes to Editor
- The Monkey Trail was created as part of a £200,000 investment in facilities at Cannock Chase. Chase Trails volunteers and partners raised more than £60,000 for the project, £28,000 of which came from the Staffordshire Aggregates Levy Grant Scheme. Sport England awarded the initiative £130,800 of National Lottery funding.
- Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. To find out more got to www.forestry.gov.uk/WestMidlands
Media calls to Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.