The Rivette QUESTars Adventure Race Series

Cannock Chase Adventure Race

 

Course & Conditions

Information about the course area and its condition for the adventure race on Saturday 6 June 2015

 

Special Notes

Cannock Chase is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). This means the area is protected by law because of its important landscape and wildlife. You must not do anything to damage either of these. You must therefore remain on paths / tracks at all times and put all litter in a bin or take it home.

Parts of the Chase are suffering from extensive Phytophthora infection - a fungal-like disease that kills many trees and plants. A condition of our permissions to hold this event is that you cycle single file on the forest tracks (so others users don't have to go onto the verge to get out of your way as this spreads the disease) and you don't go into the areas where the disease is prevalent - these have been marked out of bounds on the course map. To ensure you don't spread these and other diseases your bike and footwear must be clean and free from mud and detritus before you start - you won't be allowed to start until they are so please clean these at home before you leave if necessary. Likewise please be responsible and wash your bike once you've finished / before using it again elsewhere.

This time of year is when birds are actively establishing breeding territories and nest sites. Important herpetofauna may also be out on site, in particular in warm weather, including adders and other reptiles that may be basking on tracks. Please be aware of the possible presence of these protected species and ensure you do not harm them.

Cannock Chase is very popular and hence likely to be very busy. Watch out, slow down and give way to other people and animals especially families with young children and dogs not on a lead. A bike bell is recommended so you can politely warn others that you are behind them. Please make sure you shut all gates behind you.

 

Trail Run

The Trail Run starts and finishes from a remote transition point so you will need to carry your running shoes with you if different from the shoes you wear when cycling.

Most of the Trail Run takes place off road but there are one or two short sections where you will be on the road / pavement. There are some good flat sections along the canal towpath with the rest on the Chase itself, which is open access land. Whilst on access land you must keep to existing paths and tracks that are marked on your map at all times. Cutting across the open heathland or through the woodland is not permitted under any circumstance.

The ground is relatively flat with a few short sharp ups and downs. As a result some areas don't drain well and the gravel paths / tracks across the heathland can be quite wet after rain. In the forests some sections of tracks remain wet and muddy for much longer as the shade from the trees prevents them from drying out so quickly. Trail shoes with a decent tread are therefore recommended if you have them. 

There are a couple of shallow fords but they have stepping stones across so you can keep your feet dry when crossing these.

The ground in Cannock Chase is occasionally subject to subsidence and fissuring from past mining activities, so care is needed to avoid any suspicious dips or hollows appearing in paths. Please let us know if you discover any so we can report them to the Rangers. There is also a risk of falling limbs from veteran trees particularly during periods of high winds. And there are many exposed tree roots in some paths which are very slippery when wet.

When not on access land you are only allowed to use the public rights of way that are marked on your map.

 

Mountain Biking

Bikes are only allowed on roads, bridleways and designated off road cycle routes. It is illegal to take a bike on a footpath so under no circumstances may you do this. Obviously how much you do on road / off road depends on your route choice but to give you an idea, the shortest route to visit all the mountain bike checkpoints is about 20% on road, 50% on purpose built single track (Red routes) and the rest on forest tracks (Green & Blue routes) and bridleways.

There are lots of bridleways marked on the map on the access land but not all of them are suitable for cycling along - some don't exist on the ground, some go through particularly sensitive areas and others are in a fragile state and are at risk of being irreparably damaged if you use them. The mountain bike checkpoints have therefore been positioned only on those bridleways which you are permitted to cycle along, and the bridleways that you are allowed to use to get from one checkpoint to the next have been highlighted in blue. Please make sure your bike remains on the bridleway / main track at all times - you are not allowed to take your bike off the main track to punch a control or cycle along the many informal paths that run along the sides of the bridleways / tracks as this damages the verges.

The forest tracks are generally wide and provide good all weather surfaces on which to cycle. However some of the short steep inclines are suffering from erosion and as a consequence their surface is breaking up - they are covered in loose stones and are rutted in places. Please moderate your speed over such sections and don't do anything to cause further erosion such as locking up the back wheel i.e. skidding.

The purpose built Mt Bike trails (Red routes) are only suitable for mountain bikes. These trails are largely single track and can only be cycled in one direction; hence you must go round them in the direction stated. Please be considerate and let faster riders pass you at convenient opportunities. Take care over the stoney sections - they are slippery (even when dry), well rounded and can be loose like marbles sending you sliding sideways. Some sections are heavily worn and eroded. All the technical difficulties - rocky sectionsboardwalksplanks and drops - along these trails can either be cycled or walked around if you are not that confident. There is one loop of 11km with the option half way round to do a different loop of 13km. This 13km loop can be cut short at various intervals if you are running out of time. A section of the one of the trails was closed for maintenance a couple of weeks ago when we recce'd it - follow the signed diversions

Please take care whilst cycling on roads, especially at road junctions. The B roads across the Chase are busy and vehicles often speed at 50-60 mph along these so take extra care when crossing these.

 

Kayaking

The kayaking takes place on the canal. The Trent & Mersey or Staffs & Worcs? You'll have to wait and see!

Access to the water is via the side of the canal - a low bank - so there should be no need to get feet wet. Best to sit on the bank, put your feet on the kayak (which is on the water) and swivel your bum round and down onto the middle of the kayak, keeping your weight low so you don't unbalance it.

Once on the water, there is no need to get off until you have finished kayaking - all the kayak checkpoints can be reached from your kayak and there are no portages around locks etc.

When you come off the water you will need to stand in a shallow foot bath to disinfect the soles of your shoes (unless you kayak barefoot). This is something we have been asked to do as a biosecurity measure to ensure you do not transfer water borne diseases from the canal to Cannock Chase AONB.

 

Photos

View all the photos taken on recent recce's showing different parts of the course here

 

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