“The first impression I got from the trail was: “f**k this is flat”
In a last minute turn of events I changed my ride plan from the red graded Monkey Trail at Cannock Chase to the significantly less demanding Blue Trail at Hicks Lodge.
At 9.3 kilometres(5.3miles) I had to take an extra run round the small lake to feel like I’d really done anything, but there was an appetising level of fun. As somebody who is used to riding red graded trails and dabbling in black features there wasn’t a great deal to get overly excited about but for the sake of aiding my recovery it was a satisfactory first ride back.
The first impression I got from the trail was: “f**k this is flat”. It’s a constant pedal all the way round with little in the way of climbing or descending. Good for cardio, bad for my short attention span. The saving grace of the trail was the intermittently placed rollers and a few small tabletops. The tabletops are super easy to clear with the speed you’re naturally carrying round the trail and are just often enough to keep the trail entertaining.
Most sections of this trail had a few berms thrown in there but most of these are rather shallow and make it difficult to really rail round them at speed, but at the end of the day at least they weren’t all flat corners!
The ground conditions were wet this weekend, as to be expected this time of year, but considering the trail is 90% gravel I still managed to get a good thick layer of mud into everything – always a sign of a good ride.
Obviously due to COVID I had little interaction with the amenities but there was a nice little Cafe on site that I’m sure would’ve been welcome had I gone round the trail maybe another 4-5 times over.
Overall it’s a nice little trail, more suited to gravel bikes than trail or enduro and especially not aimed at proficient riders. For somebody thinking of getting into MTB or those in the area with a spare half hour it’s definitely worth a visit. Although I’ll certainly be happy to get back into the thick of it next weekend at the Forest of Dean.
Flow – most sections flow but it’s connecting these sections where the trail is let down.
Airtime – there’s a bit of air to be had but unless you fancy landing to flat going into a berm or roller you’ll want to bank the other side of those tabletops.
Distance – at just over 9km you’ll need a few blasts to really make a day of it but there’s just not enough character or challenge to put up with that in my opinion
RATING – 5/10
I certainly wouldn’t recommend anyone who rides often to make a trip there but for those who are yet to dip their toe’s into the world of MTB it’s a great place to practice those core skills and really ready yourself for the proper stuff.