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Friday, 30 September 2011

Cycling on Cannock Chase

For some time I had intended to have a day out cycling on Cannock Chase, and the recent spell of hot sunny weather was the spur, so off  I went with the three essentials, (bike, tent and camera) plus a few minor items such as food, clothing, and of course a car. 
Cannock Chase is the country's smallest area of outstanding natural beauty, not so far from Derby, and is mainly forest and heathland criss-crossed with dozens of bridleways and forest tracks. It has become a popular area for mountain bikers, with many marked trails and some high level mountain bike competitions are held there from time to time.

There are several good camp sites on Cannock Chase and I stayed for two nights at the Camping Club's Wandon site, and with an early arrival and a late departure, this gave me three days cycling on various routes. I had forgotten how hilly the terrain is, and how rough are some of the surfaces, so that is why I lie here exhausted, hardly able to lift finger to keyboard.
It really is tough cycling, more for the young and fit amongst us.  Mountain bikes are essential. No good taking folding bikes, hybrids or road bikes. There are some bridleways with acceptable surfaces, but these are very much in the minority.
Even so a wonderful area to visit for walking, photography and bird watching

This is one of the better and easier routes, with a passable surface, but  yet another hill to climb. Groan!

Another of the forest tracks. Note the wall to wall pebbles in the forground. Great if you like riding on ball bearings.

Early morning mist on the camp site

In spite of the unseasonal heatwave, some signs of the oncoming Autumn, with leaves changing colour and beginning to fall to the ground.

Another sign of Autumn with this giant fungus, compared with my left shoe size 8.

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