Ride report: Cannock Chase 24th October 2010

We’d heard a lot of good things about the Cannock Chase trails so were keen to go and find out what they were like for ourselves. The trails are located between Cannock and Rugeley near the M6 North of Birmingham. Chase trails website.

There are two main trails:

  • Follow the Dog This is the main loop and is approximately Red grade.
  • The Monkey Trail This is an add on loop that joins about half way round the Red trail and is Red/Black grade.


View Cannock Chase 08/05/10 in a larger map

Official trail map.

Google map

View Cannock Chase 08/05/10 in a larger map

Alt trail map:

We met at 10am in the Birches Valley forest centre near Rugeley (WS15 2UQ). The large car park was already near capacity when we arrived. The trails are close to a large conurbation and are very popular.

We started out on the Follow the dog trail. A lot of trails start with a boring climb up a fire road, but this one was interesting straight away. A tight section through trees, rocks, wooden ramps and a ludicrous black option along a narrow branch at waist height all within the first ten minutes.

Some sections were closed for forest maintenance so we missed the turn off for the Monkey Trail. We think that the diversion sign had been torn down. Someone who’d been to the trail before worked out where to go and we soon joined the Monkey Trail.

Wood near start.
Follow the dog at Cannock Chase.
Rocks near start.
Rocks near start of Follow the dog trail at Cannock Chase.
First climb on Monkey Trail.
Start section of the Monkey Traila at Cannock Chase.
First climb on Monkey Trail.
Start section of the Monkey Traila at Cannock Chase.
First climb on Monkey Trail.
Start section of the Monkey Traila at Cannock Chase.
First climb on Monkey Trail.
Start section of the Monkey Traila at Cannock Chase.

The Monkey Trail is in a more hilly area across the railway line and road. This is a really fun trail that makes good use of the terrain. There’s virtually no fire road climbing on it. The grading is a bit more tough than the main loop. We found the three steep and twisty rock descents in the trees. In a slimey condition these struck me as being a lot tougher than the rest of the trail.

We followed some unofficial single track down into the quarry about 2/3rds of the way round. This was fun and cut out some fire road according to two riders who had been there before.

The Monkey Trail had two really good descents before crossing back over the road and joining back onto the Follow The Dog trail.

Rocky descent near start of The Monkey Trail.
Rocks on The Monkey trail at Cannock Chase.
Wooden section near start of The Monkey Trail.
Wooden section on the Monkey Trail at Cannock Chase.
Regroup at top of second main climb on The Monkey Trail.
Riders near start of Monkey Trail at Cannock Chase.
View towards end of The Monkey Trail.
View of woods at Monkey Trail in Cannock Chase.

The main trail looped back round to start with some fast and flowing single track. There was a fun descent down a rock ramp near the end. We really liked the final section, especially the final set of mud pile rollers.

We liked it so much that we did the main loop again (sadly it was getting too late to do the Monkey again). We finished off with three loops round the final section.

Overall we really liked the trails and plan on going back.

The main problem is that the trails are a victim of their own success. This is clear with the packed car park, number of riders on the trail and the big queue in the cafe. It would be worth riding the trails at off peak times.

Railway crossing.
Railway crossing at Cannock Chase.
Just following instructions (sign showed upside down bike).
Upside down rider at Cannock Chase.
Still following instructions (sign showed bike on side).
Another upside down rider at Cannock Chase.
Do not climb the sculpture.
Monkey sculpture thing.
Steps near end of the Follow The Dog trail.
Final section of Follow the Dog trail at Cannock Chase.
Getting air near end of the trail.
Getting air on the final section of Follow the Dog trail at Cannock Chase.

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