The midlands aren’t as flat as you think and there are some great options for mountain biking here.
A 26 sq mile area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The Chase lies between the towns of Cannock and Rugeley and is a ‘must do’ on any mountain bikers bucket list.
The main trail here the red graded Follow The Dog, which has an optional extension of The Monkey trail (also red), to make the full loop a good 13 miles of technical riding.
There is also a family friendly blue trail and miles of fire roads to explore and spot deer.
All trails can be accessed at various points but the main place I’d recommend starting would be at the Birches Valley Visitors Centre, where you’ll find toilets, bike wash, a café and a bike shop (who also offer bike hire). Down the road at Stile Cop there are also a few downhill routes.
The Chase has a wealth of unofficial trails ridden by the locals so it would definitely be worthwhile befriending a regular who could show you around, if you’re feeling adventurous.
Parking here would set you back a whole £3 – worth it for the amount of riding you can pack in.
Nestled away in Sherwood Forest is a Visitor centre with full facilities, including bike hire and a skills practice area. From here you can access all three trails, graded green, blue and red. The red isn’t a particularly technical or hilly route, which makes it an excellent place to start for those wishing to move from blues to reds, new riders or even riders who are a little nervous.
A small trail centre with basic facilities, based in Leicestershire. Check the bike shop is open before you go if you need hire or help.
There is a network of short, family friendly trails. There are no hills whatsoever at Hicks lodge so you won’t be in for any taxing riding. The blue trail has been well thought out and is packed full of features and tight hairpin bends. The flat nature of the trail makes it a great place to practice your riding skills, such as pumping and cornering.
There are no mountain biking trails here. Just one loop around the water offering you a long, scenic 17 miles of traffic free riding. You can add the peninsula loop to make this a healthy 24 mile ride.
There are two bike shops on the loop and plenty places to stop to have a picnic and enjoy the view over the water.
A small patch of woodlands hidden away in Charnwood. The woods are privately owned and don’t have any waymarked routes. But, if you are up for getting lost and having an adventure, this is a great place to go. With Swithland being quite small, you can’t get too badly lost, and there isn’t anything particularly steep or scary to worry about.
Cyclists are only just tolerated here and generally stick to the ‘unofficial’ trail which runs the perimeter of the woods, or the Quarry (free-ride) area. If you pass walkers, be nice.
There are no facilities here and make sure you take your rubbish away with you (this applies to anywhere you ride really).