Cannock Chase (Staffordshire) loop from Stafford – Train to Trail
Includes a segment in which cycling is forbidden
You will have to dismount and push your bike.
0.29 mi in total
Mountain Biking Highlight
Katherine Moore planned a mountain bike ride.
April 2, 2020
A loop from the county capital of Stafford, this mega 32.7 mile (52.6 km) takes in some of the very best mountain biking trails in the Midlands and is not for the faint-hearted! Cannock Chase is a well-known area for riding, nestled between Stafford and Birmingham, offering a great network of trails not only for mountain bikers, but for gravel riders, walkers and horse riders too.You’ll need to be an experienced mountain biker to tackle this route, which features the red rated (or difficult) ‘Follow the Dog’ and ‘The Monkey Trail’ courses. If you’d like to visit the area and are less confident, there are loads of fire roads too and some more intermediate blue rated trails for you to try. Leaving the town centre of Stafford from the train station, after a few roads you’ll hug the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal on the towpath, a flat and easy start (and later finish) to the route that’s traffic free. After crossing the main road through Milford, you’re at the edge of the Chase, where you start to climb up past Oat Hill. Take the Sherbrook Valley Trail to the east and then south, climbing up to the high point of The Butts. Next you’ll cross the road over Penkridge Bank and join the wiggly red-rated trail ‘Follow the Dog’ to reach the Birch Valley Forest Centre, or trail centre hub, where you’ll find Cannock Chase Cycle Centre and the cafe too. Surely time for a snack, right?Now you’ll be in the thick of it, and you have the brilliant singletrack trail of ‘Follow the Dog’ to enjoy first, which leads to ‘Follow the Monkey’ on the other side of the Hednesford Road.This second trail is more technical and demanding, and if you really want to go for it then there’s even a few black-rated sections (severe/expert) that link back up with the main trail. Expect challenging drops, exhilarating jumps, tricky rock gardens, and boardwalks. After the whole ‘The Monkey Trail’ loop, rejoin ‘Follow the Dog’ for the second half, rejoining the Sherbrook Valley Trail after the ‘Evil Slab’ section. From here you’ll make your way back to Stafford, following Sher Brook to start, gently descending off the chase. Then you’ll rejoin the way you left the town before, taking the towpath back along the canal to the train station.This is a big ride for a single day, so if you’d like to camp on the route and enjoy it over two days, you’ll find a good selection of campsites, holiday lets and even glamping pods close to the trail centre.