The Forestry Commission has a number of Mountain Biking Trails at Cannock Chase. Some of these are marked as ‘green’ all-ability trails suitable for the family. So we went along and checked them out.
Cannock Chase has two family-friendly mountain bike routes.
Ladyhill Green Trail
The Ladyhill trail is relatively flat accessible trail found at the Birches Valley Forest Centre and is only 1.6km (1 mile), and is ideal if you have very young kids.
Note that this is also the Gruffalo trail, and so there are lots of young children walking on this route.
Fairoaks Green Trail
The Fairoaks Trail is another ‘green’ all-ability circular trail, and a lot more fun if your children are getting into mountain biking.
The trail can be accessed from either the Birches Valley or Cannock Chase (Marquis Drive) Visitor Centres and is 4km long (2.5 miles).
It runs either side of the Fairoak Pools, and at one point (F1 on the map), you get to cross the stream that connects the pools.
Fairoaks is a simple route, though very young riders may find it a bit long, and it has a few small inclines. It is also fine gravel and stones in places.
Accessing the Trails
We parked at the Cannock Chase Visitor Centre (also known as the Marquis Drive) instead of the main visitor centre and Birches Valley (where GoApe is also located). At the time we visited, the carpark only cost £1 for up to 3 hours. Marquis Drive was much cheaper than the carpark at Birches Valley.
However, if you have very young kids or kids not used to descending on gravel, then please park at the Birches Valley Visitor Centre. That’s because to get to the green routes from Marquis Drive you have to descend on part of the ‘blue’ Sherbrook Trail.
Blue trails require some basic mountain biking skills. Although it’s not a technical route, you do have to descend on gravel, which might be difficult if you are not used to it. Your kids might also have to walk their bikes back up this hill when you return to your car!
It’s not just for bikes
These routes are also shared with walkers. So if not everyone in the family want’s to cycle, there are plenty of walks, including areas where bikes aren’t.
We had a great time on these trails, and I’m sure we’ll be back to ride the Fairoak trail again. We also want to try the much longer Sherbrook ‘blue’ route.
It gets the thumbs-up from us.
The Ladyhill Route is an accessible trail and pushchair friendly. If you just want to do that route, then park at the Birches Valley Visitor Centre.
Here’s where you can find Cannock Chase Family-Friendly MTB Trails.
We’ve provided directions to the Cannock Chase Visitor Centre, also known as Marquis Drive carpark. When we visited, we found the pay-and-display at this carpark much cheaper than the main visitor centre at Birches Valley.
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