Staffordshire’s world class cycling set for global showcase

Top cyclists from across the globe will tackle Staffordshire’s world class mountain biking routes this summer as the Commonwealth Games come to Cannock Chase Forest.

Spectators will be treated to spectacular cycling as competitors thunder around a challenging off-road course on Wednesday 3 August as part of the Games, which are being hosted by Birmingham from 28 July to 8 August.

Cannock Chase already offers world-class mountain biking, with cross-country courses like ‘Follow the Dog’ and ‘The Monkey Trail’, but new twists and turns have been created for the event as part of a £900,000 investment.

Leaving a lasting cycling legacy for Staffordshire, the trails – developed by Forestry England – will not only provide top quality courses for elite mountain bikers but will also remain afterwards as permanent attractions for visitors.

Once the Games are over, any cyclist will be able to experience the thrills of tackling the same off-road challenging courses raced by the medal-chasing international athletes.

And for the event itself, temporary structures will be erected to create a spectators’ area with stand, shelter, toilets and refreshment and merchandise units at Cannock Chase Forest Centre, at Birches Valley, near Rugeley.

Around 3,000 ticketed spectators and 9,000 non-ticketed spectators are expected to attend the event along the mountain biking course, with 85 athletes and team officials. Spectator tickets cost between £8 – £22, and must be booked in advance, with more details available at

Because of limited parking, the advice is to use public transport to get to the venue, and a special shuttle bus service, from Stafford train station to Birches Valley, is being introduced for the event.

Among the new permanent facilities created from the new funding at Cannock Chase – including a £50,000 contribution from Staffordshire County Council – is a new Pedal and Play Trail, a mountain bike adventure for children aged 3-11 years. Aimed at helping younger people who want to get involved with cross-country mountain biking and gain skills and confidence in off road cycling, the new trail is suitable for beginner/novice cyclists. There are three challenges to try, each a bit trickier than the last and featuring different trail surfaces and features; and there are also play areas to discover along the way (

While mountain biking offers a real adrenaline rush, Staffordshire has plenty more on offer for cyclists of all ages and abilities. Miles of former railway lines and breathtaking natural backdrops combine to create a haven for cycling.

For more about cycling in Staffordshire, see

More information about visiting, and staying in, Staffordshire, visit

Photo: Forestry England