Affiliate Disclosure: We are reader-supported. We may earn a small commission from affiliate links at no extra cost to you. All of our reviews are independently conducted.
The Midlands isn’t exactly known for its rugged mountains, but it’s still a great place to go mountain biking and there are lots of options for a day or two exploring on two wheels. From forest trail centres to open moorland trails, there is a wide variety of terrain to tackle. If you’re new to mountain biking and are looking for new places to ride then these 5 places to go mountain biking in the Midlands should keep you busy for a few weekends.
I used to live right on the edge of Cannock Chase and I’ve spent hundreds of hours riding around this forest on all of the well-known trails and some of the hidden ones too. I’ve even volunteered to help build the trails on a couple of occasions.
Cannock Chase is best known for its two XC trails, Follow the Dog and the Monkey Trail, and the DH area at Stile Cop.
The Follow the Dog cross country trail is just under seven miles long and is a red graded route. Despite the fact that the forest is a relatively flat area this trail really makes the most of the small hills and the singletrack is fast, flows perfectly and makes for a great afternoon of riding.
The Monkey Trail is the newest of the cross-country trails at Cannock Chase and can be added onto Follow the Dog to make a longer – 14 mile -route. The Monkey Trail is steeper, more technical and features some black-graded sections alongside the red.
Even the most experienced riders will find something they enjoy here, but if you’re fairly new to mountain biking these trails will give you plenty of challenges. If you’re a complete beginner and are looking for less of a challenge, Cannock Chase also has a great blue-graded route that takes in some of the most scenic parts of the forest.
Once famous as the hiding place of Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men, Sherwood Pines is now more famous for its forest trail centre and mountain bike routes. Similar to Cannock Chase, Sherwood Pines is a trail centre within a Forestry England site. There are a variety of trails to tackle, from the red graded Kitchener Trail to the family-friendly Adventure Trail.
The Kitchener Trail is the best of the trails if you’re looking for fast singletrack and plenty of action. It’s only 8 miles long but there’s plenty to get both your legs and heart pumping. And, of course, there’s nothing to stop you from doing a second lap if you’re feeling energetic.
The Adventure Trail is a blue graded, 6-mile route that serves as a great introduction to those who are new to mountain biking. It’s not as fast flowing or technical as the Kitchener but it contains plenty of features that will keep you entertained.
If you’re feeling brave there are also dirt jumps and a downhill zone at Sherwood Pines.
The Long Mynd
If you’re looking for something a little bit wilder than a man-made trail centre then the Long Mynd in Shropshire could be the answer.
There are dozens of options for riding on the Long Mynd but almost all of them involve a long climb up the fire access roads onto the plateau and then fast, natural trails back down again.
You’ll want to make a day of it because as soon as you get to the bottom you’ll want to turn around and head back up for another go.
Make sure you head down the famous Minton Batch route at least once. It’s often voted as one of the best singletrack descents in the country, and it’s not for the faint-hearted.
The Malvern Hills
The Malvern Hills are a stunning place to go mountain biking. They definitely aren’t the biggest hills in the world but in a relatively flat landscape, they seem to dominate the skyline. Once you reach the top of the hills you will have incredible 360 views and can enjoy riding along the ridge and taking it all in.
There are several routes, all of varying distances, and they are well signposted so you can forget about having to navigate and just keep your eyes peeled for the next marker.
There is a short, medium or long route to choose from, at 6k, 9k or 19k. All routes will feature plenty of climbing but what goes up must come down and you can enjoy some fast descents as a reward for your climbs.
The Ladybower Loop
Arguably saving the best until last, the Ladybower Loop near the Ladybower reservoir is an epic 28-mile route that takes in some of the best of the Peak District.
This is a challenging ride so a good level of fitness and some technical ability is a must.
The route begins at the Derwent Visitor Centre and heads up into the Hope Valley and then loops into the Edale Valley. Some tough climbs are to be expected but it will all be worth it when you hit the rocky, technical downhill sections.
This is mountain biking at its best and it’s one of the most loved trails in the Peak District – if you’re fit enough to ride it.