Cross Country MTB Trails
Cannock Chase is home to two dedicated, waymarked, mountain bike trails. Both trails are free to ride and open all year round. Please observe and follow any sign posted diversions which are necessary from time to time for tree thinning, tree harvesting, trail maintenance or other safety reasons.
Ample parking and visitor facilities are provided by the Forestry Commission at Birches Valley Visitors Centre and cycle hire and support is also available from our on site shop 'Swinnerton Cycles Forest Centre'.
Groups with younger children or novice riders are advised not to ride the trails but to choose one of the green or blue waymarked Leisure Trails. Chase Trails and the Forestry Commission strongly encourage all riders to wear a helmet at all times while riding.
Follow the Dog
Grade: Red · Length: 6 miles · GPX Route: Download
The Midlands’ first dedicated mountain bike trail. Follow the Dog is a red graded 6 mile intermediate mountain bike trail aimed at competent mountain bikers. Opened in 2005, the trail was completely designed and built by Chase Trails and more recently additional sections have been added, including the all new Tackeroo descent which was built as part of the contractor works to the Monkey Trail and opened in April 2010.
Follow the Dog comprises of fast flowing singletrack, with some tight and twisty technical sections as well. There are various TTFs throughout, including boardwalks, rock gardens, wood and rock drop-offs, rollers, and other similar features. Watch out for Evil Root, Evil Slab, and the infamous Werewolf Drop!
Due to how relatively flat Cannock Chase is, you won’t find that much climbing on Follow the Dog – total elevation is just over 500 feet and there’s only one hill to climb up.
The Monkey Trail
Grade: Red – with optional black sections · Length: 6 miles – 12 miles including Follow the Dog · GPX Route: Download
Opened in April 2010, the Monkey Trail is an optional extension to Follow the Dog. Again it’s a red graded trail, but this time it’s a far more technically challenging and demanding trail. It includes bigger climbs, more technical descents and optional black graded lines. The trail is intended for experienced and technically competent riders.
The Monkey has wide fast flowing single track, as well as some very tight hand-built sections which are a lot of fun to ride. TTFs include rock gardens, step ups, step downs, jumps, drops, and more. The black graded lines include large and unavoidable rocks and rock gardens, as well as other obstacles. The Monkey includes over 1200 feet of climbing (which includes Follow the Dog), however it feels like a lot more compared to Follow the Dog – many of the climbs on The Monkey are a lot steeper than on Follow the Dog, and there’s definitely more than just one!
The Monkey Trail is a mix of fast and flowing machine built trail and tight, twisty and technical handbuilt trails created by our volunteers – the end result is a superbly engaging ride.
The Monkey Trail can be ridden by starting Follow the Dog until the “High Voltage” section. Within High Voltage, the trail splits in two – take the one marked “The Monkey Trail”. You’ll descend down to a railway/road crossing – once you cross these, you’ll be on The Monkey. When finished, you’ll cross the road/railway line again, then simply follow the signs to rejoin Follow the Dog.
Leisure Cycling Trails
There are 3 cycle trails at the Chase designed for leisure cyclist and families. These trails are open all year round and are free of charge. The leisure trails have been developed from the long-established family routes around Cannock Chase, and all start from Birches Valley. These trails are shared with walkers, dogs, and horses, so please be polite and careful if you pass other forest users.
If you don’t have a bike, you can hire one from the shop 'Swinnerton Cycles Forest Centre', at Birches Valley – see the Bike Hire page for more information. Trail maps are also available from the shop for a small fee.
Route to Health Sculpture Trail
Grade: Green · Length: 1 mile
An easy, mostly flat, circular arts trail created by local artists, students, schools and community groups. The unique art pieces are all themed around health issues and are designed to generate interest in areas such as exercise, relaxation, mental health and a healthy heart. Includes the popular ‘Fairy Trees’.
Fair Oak Pools Trail
Grade: Green · Length: 2.5 miles · GPX Route: Download
An easy circular trail that takes in the magnificent Fairoak Valley and pools, a rich and important habitat that is home to many wildlife species. The area has an interesting coal mining past and was the location of a colliery in the late 19th century. This trail also provides access to the Cannock Chase Visitor Centre at Marquis Drive and to the blue graded Sherbrook Trail.
Sherbrook Valley Trail (Grade: Blue. Length: 7.5 – 12.5 miles)
Grade: Green · Length: 7.5 – 12.5 miles · GPX Route: Short Route or Long Route
This trail takes in the picturesque Sherbrook Valley with its mixture of woodlands and open heathland. Two loops are available, the shorter Pepper Slade loop and the longer Abraham’s Valley loop which visits the Stepping Stones and Abrahams Valley.
This route – of which most is managed by Cannock Chase District Council – runs from Rugeley to Cannock, and passes through Cannock Chase Forest taking in sites of historic interest along the way. This trail helps explore the people, places and events that have made Cannock Chase and the surrounding area what it is today. You can find more info about the Heritage Trail on the Cannock Chase District Council website.
Stile Cop Downhill MTB Trails
Stile Cop is the only dedicated site for downhill riding on Cannock Chase. Since 2003 Chase Trails have been working with the Forestry Commission and local downhill riders to make the best out of little hill.
Since 2007 Chase Trails have been working with the Racer’s Guild of Cannock Chase to bring the local riding community together through trail building and small scale, informal, timed practice sessions giving every level of rider the chance to test themselves against the tracks. Go to www.racersguild.co.uk for more details and to join.
Also known as Stile Cop Bike Park the hill has a total height drop of just 65 metres so it’s crucial that we eek out every twist and turn on the hill. Like most of Cannock Chase the hill is fairly free-draining so winter clag isn’t too much of an issue.
The trails are free to ride and open all year round, the only closures will be for maintenance or emergency reasons.
Recommended you wear a full face helmet and suitable body armour.
A smooth, wide, fast and flowing course. The original official course on the hill is aimed at intermediate riders with a series of drops and jumps all the way to the bottom. a good warm up for your first run although watch the carpet of loose pebbles during dry summer spells!
The Red Course also leads onto the following trails;
CDL. First left option off the red course, to start it gets tighter and steeper then the Red course. The over the ‘gas line’ and into some off camber roots and flatter corners. Drop off the tree stump and into a fast rooty rattle. Jump towards the fire road then hit the tight Red course finish.
Mega Trail. A pumpstastic, jumptastic playground. Break off CDL at the gas line and get ready to smile as you hit the flowing and progressive jumps and berms finishing with the Wallride.
Snakes ‘n Ladders. Head down the Red course through the large left hander and Snakes breaks right. One of the larger ladder drops on the hill sends you into the snaking steep chute. A small but sweet right hand climbing berm into a left hand hip. Elevated ladder drop into another sweet but tricky berm to finish.
Starting on the same platform as the Red Course the Black is a narrow singletrack line on one of the flatter parts of the hill. A series of small jumps, drops and rock gardens take you down the hill. Some sticky off camber sections and a steeper chute brings you into the grand finale. A step down drop into a long right hand berm with a second step down to the finish line.
Opened in September 2012 after a long closure for upgrading & rebuilding. Walleater is the biggest trail on the hill and is a test for the best riders. Built with a more freeride feel the trail starts with a rock backed double into a short steep chute. A gap into a big left had hip brings you to a steep road gap with bermed corner dropping down to the showpiece Sky Berm. The Sky Berm is an elevated timber berm (not a wallride) which swings you right into a small drop. Land the drop and hit the rock gap into left, then right handed berms before hitting a little kicker to rejoin the Red Course.
The Dark Side
For years the unofficial playground for local riders Chase Trails worked closely with the Forestry Commission to get support to bring these trails up to specification required for the Bike Park. Head up from the main start area to a smaller platform which opens up another range of trails;
Ridge Run. Open, fast and fun. Full speed all the way into sweeping corners, nice jumps with a series of tight and twisty corners towards the finish. Head straight over a short sharp root section into a neat drop through a tree to finish.
Little Bringe. Start on the Ridge Run and break left, off-camber corners and roots, things start to get trickier on this line.
Wonderland. Follow Alice through the looking glass for a wheels on the ground introduction into a more technical trail.
Balboa. Named after Rocky himself, this trail started as an experiment in using bigger rocks on the hill, with a ladder drop and decent sized kicker to lead you into a fast singletrack finish.
Not-so-new anymore this is a culmination of various ideas from elsewhere on the hill and the minds of some of our more experienced local talent. Wide and fast to start, a rock garden take you into the trees for some serious roots and the 2 fastest drops on the hill, a squirmy surface and pinball feel into the tight trees is a must for any serious rider visiting the hill. Tested and given props by Steve Peat himself in the Racers Guild Charity event in the Autumn of 2008 you’ve got to be on it to get the most out of this trail.
All of the courses end along the same track at the bottom of the hill. Head for the end of the black course and spend no more than 10 minutes pushing back up the fire road to the top. There is no uplift service, the hill just isn’t big enough.
Check the courses on foot before hitting them at speed. Full face helmets and body armour are strongly advised.
- Bike parks are suitable for: riders aspiring to an elite level of technical ability; incorporates everything from full on downhill riding to 'big air' jumps.
- Trail and surface types: severe constructed trails and/or natural features. All sections will be challenging. Includes extreme levels of exposure or risk. Jumping ability obligatory.
- Gradients or technical trail features: will include a range of small, medium and large technical trail features, including downhill trails, freeride sections and mandatory jumps.
- Suggested fitness level: a good standard of fitness is recommended but technical skills are more important.
|Green: Easy||Blue: Moderate||Red: Difficult||Black: Severe|
|Suitable for: Beginners in good health with basic bike skills. Most types of bike.
Trail: Relatively flat and wide.
|Suitable for: Riders in good health, basic off road skills. Basic mountain bikes.
Trail: Wide gravel tracks and forest roads with a shallow stream crossing. Trail involves crossing public roads.
|Suitable for: Proficient mountain bikers with good off road riding skills and fitness. Good mountain bikes.
Trail: Challenging climbs, tricky descents & technical features such as drop-offs & large rocks.
|Suitable for: Expert mountain bikers with high level of fitness. Quality off-road mountain bikes.
Trail: Greater challenge & difficulty. Expect large & unavoidable features.