Chase Trails

Can I hire a bike?

If you don’t have a bike, you can hire one from Cannock Chase Cycle Centre, at Birches Valley. They offer a range of hire bikes and demo bikes as well as buggies or ‘tag-a-long’ bikes for children. Booking is highly recommended and you’ll need a deposit and ID to hire – see their website for more information. Note that Cannock Chase Cycle Centre is closed on Wednesdays.

What do the trail grades mean?

All the trails at Cannock Chase use the green, blue, red, and black grading system. Each trail is signposted with coloured arrows and the Forestry Commission’s grading panels. These are as follows:

Green: Easy. Suitable for: Beginner/novice cyclists. Basic bike skills required. Most bikes and hybrids. The green route can take trailers.
Blue: Moderate. Suitable for: Intermediate cyclists/mountain bikers with basic off road riding skills. Mountain bikes or hybrids.
Red: Difficult. Suitable for: Proficient mountain bikers with good off road riding skills. Suitable for better quality off-road mountain bikes.
Black: Severe. Suitable for: Expert mountain bike users, used to physically demanding routes. Quality off-road mountain bikes.

If you’re unsure which trail to choose, pop into Cannock Chase Cycle Centre and speak to the staff there – they’ll be able to recommend the right trail for you.

How much does parking cost and when does the car park close?

Parking costs and opening times are available on the Forestry Commission website (these can be found under ‘Visitor Information’). Part of the car park income at Birches Valley goes toward the mountain bike trails! Apart from the parking cost, the trails are free to ride and open all year round.

Where can I get a map?

Cannock Chase Cycle Centre stock two maps – one showing the XC mountain bike trails and another showing the green/blue walking and cycling routes. There are also information boards at the start of the trails, and all routes are signposted.

You can also download maps from the Forestry Commission website.

Facilities? Cafe, bike wash, etc?

  • Grounds Café Birches Valley Cafe serves sandwiches, paninis, toasties, soups, cakes, and ice cream, plus hot and cold drinks. Open 7 days a week.
  • Cannock Chase Cycle Centre have a bike wash available for a small fee until around 16:30. Closed on Wednesdays.
  • Birches Valley does have toilets, but unfortunately there are no changing rooms or showers.

What should I do in an emergency?

All the marker posts (usually at the start of each section and near technical features) have emergency information on them, including the grid reference, nearest hospital, and emergency contact numbers. In case of an emergency you should contact the ambulance service and, if possible, Cannock Chase Cycle Centre and/or the Forestry Commission. Both numbers are listed on the emergency info posts.

For the downhill trails at Stile Cop, there are marker posts located at the top and bottom of the hill – these show the same emergency information including the post codes, grid references, etc.

Will my bike be stolen?

Unfortunately, due to our location we’re a target for thieves and they do hang around, even in winter. We’d recommend always locking your bike up (or have a friend stay with it) when visiting the cafe, toilets, or bike shop. And never leave it unattended in or on your car! Put it another way – if you spent £500 on a bike, would you leave £500 cash lying around on a table unattended?

Both the Grounds Café and Cannock Chase Cycle Centre provide locks if you need one while you’re having a bite to eat or shopping for shiny new bike parts – just ask for a key from a staff member if you need it.

Are there any local pubs or places to stay?

The two closest pubs to the XC trails are The Horns Inn and The Chase. The closest pub to Stile Cop is The Chetwynd Arms.

For accomodation, Follow the Dog passes through Tackeroo Caravan Site, or if you’d prefer to stay in something a little more luxurious, have a look at Cannock Chase District Council‘s website for a list of nearby accommodation, or try the usual places (Trivago, Booking.com, AirBnB etc).

Note: With the exception of Cannock Chase Cycle Centre, Birches Valley Cafe and the Tackeroo Caravan Site, Chase Trails and the Forestry Commission do not endorse or recommend any of these businesses, organisations, or events and the provided links are for information only.