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 at the site courtesy of 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.
|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.