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Beat the winter blues in Cannock Forest

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cyclists in wood at cannock

The Forestry Commission in the West Midlands is encouraging people to beat the winter blues by getting out and active in Cannock Forest.

Experts claim that Monday 18 January is the most depressing day of the year, based on a combination of post Christmas debt levels, the benefits of the festive season having worn off, harsh weather conditions and people starting to fail their New Year’s resolutions.

Jason Maclean from the Forestry Commission in the West Midlands, said:

“A visit to Cannock Forest is a great way to cheer yourself up. There are lots of different things to do here that will suit people of all levels of fitness and exercising in the forest is a great way of boosting both your health and happiness.”

There are three self-guided walking trails in the Cannock Forest: Deer Dash Trail (1 mile) Chase Heritage Trail (12 mile linear route linking Rugeley with Cannock) and Route to Health Sculpture Trail (1 mile).  The sculpture trail was created by local artists, students, schools and community groups. The unique art pieces are all themed around health issues and are designed to generate interest in areas such as exercise, relaxation, mental health and a healthy heart.

For cyclists there are 2 very different trails, which both start from the Birches Valley Forest Centre. The Follow the Dog (7 miles) and Leisure Cycle Routes (19 miles) are good for cyclists with mountain bikes, the Follow the Dog is difficult and only suitable for experienced riders whilst the Leisure Cycle trails are ideal for beginners. A brand new trail for mountain bike enthusiasts will be opened just in time for Easter this year.

The Cannock Forest Visitor Centre also has a restaurant, picnic area and an adventure play area for children aged 4 to 13 years, including swings, scramble nets, tyre tower, slides, play fortress, and an adventure trail.  A Discovery Pass is available for parking and also offers additional  benefits including discounts off Go Ape high wire adventure course and seasonal newsletters.  The Centre is open every day except Christmas Day.  Usual daily opening times are 10am to 5pm. 

For further information visit:


1. How to get there: From Rugeley head towards Penkridge along Hagley Road. The road changes into Penkridge Bank road as it enters Cannock Chase AONB. The Forest Centre is signposted on your left. From Stafford head towards Cannock on the A34. Follow the signs for Pye Green or Rugeley. Once on Cannock Chase continue to head for Rugeley until signs for the centre on your right.  OS Grid Reference: SK018170
1.2. The Forestry Commission is the largest provider of countryside recreation in Britain with responsibility for over one million hectares (2.4 million acres) of forest, woodlands and open countryside.  The West Midlands region covers the counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, the West Midlands and parts of Derbyshire and Leicestershire.

Jason Maclean (Environment Manager) or Andy Coggins (Recreation Officer) at the Forestry Commission’s Birches Valley Forest Centre at Cannock Chase on 01889 586593 or email or