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Cannop Cycle Centre facts for kids

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Cannop Cycle Centre
Visitor centre
Type Cycle Centre
Location Cannop, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, UK
Operated by Forestry Commission
Open All year

Cannop Cycle Centre is a small woodland cycling centre, comprising mountain bike trails, a visitor centre, car parks and uplift service. It is located on the former site of Cannop Colliery in the Cannop Valley, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. The nearest village is Parkend, 3 miles (5 km) away. The cycle centre (Pedalabikeaway) has been an active supporter of the Hands off our Forest campaign and hosted a 'cycle protest rally' in January 2011.

In 2012, work was completed on a £100,000 redevelopment of the centre, culminating in the opening of a new cycle bridge.


Use of the visitor centre and trails is completely free. There is a charge for car parking and some facilities, such as use of the bike wash.

Facilities include;

  • Visitor centre.
  • Uplift service.
  • Several large car parks
  • Picnic area.
  • Information boards.

Visitor centre

Operated by Pedalabikeaway. The visitor centre comprises a café, bike shop, bike hire, bike repair workshop, showers, toilets, bike wash and compressed air.

Open all year.

April to October, 9am to 6pm (open every day).
November to March, 9am to 5pm (Wednesday to Monday).

Uplift Service

Operated by 'Flyup Downhill'. Mini bus and purpose built trailer transport riders to the top of the downhill runs.

Open all year.

April to September, 10am to 5pm (Friday to Tuesday).
October to March, 10am to Dusk (Friday to Monday).


Three main waymarked trails start and finish at the cycle centre;

The Freeminer Trail (formerly the FODCA Trail)

A 3.5-mile (6 km) all-weather loop, designed, built and maintained by volunteers in partnership with the Forestry Commission. This is a challenging and varied single track with several tricky switchback climbs, rooty drops and hairpin bends. The trail is graded RED on the CTC classification of cycle trails and is suitable for experienced riders only. It received a glowing report from Mountain Biking UK magazine, when they reviewed it in 2008.

The Verderers' Trail

Widely acclaimed as the best new trail of 2011. This is a 7-mile (11 km) fast flowing single track trail with flat out corners, big berms and rollovers. It is graded BLUE on the CTC classification of cycle trails, but also incorporates several RED alternative sections. It gently winds uphill before a swooping, flat top section and a steep undulating descent known as the Dragon's Tail. This trail was also reviewed by Mountain Biking UK in March 2012, who scored it as 4 out of 5 stars, describing the berms as 'the very best they'd ever ridden'.

Family Cycle Trail

An 11-mile (18 km) circuit, with connecting spurs to several local villages. Follows wide gravelled tracks and is suitable for riding all year round. Mostly level gradients with some short climbs and suitable for all ages and abilities. The route passes along the old Severn and Wye railway line, passing former stations at Drybrook Road, Cannop Wharf and Speech House. Remnants of former coalmines can also be seen at Foxes Bridge, Lightmoor and New fancy.

In July 2007, the Forest of Dean Family Cycle Trail was number one in a list of 'Best British cycle routes', published by The Guardian And in June 2009, it was voted the best 'family cycle route' by The Daily Telegraph.

There are also two more semi-waymarked routes which can be followed with the help of a guide;

The Iron Road

A 5-mile (8 km) family trail which follows wide gravelled tracks. Mainly flat, with some gentle climbs. Suitable for young children.

Rally Around the Forest

A fairly challenging 14-mile (23 km) circular route, following some of the wide gravelled tracks used by the famous Wyedean Rally. This trail has no technical sections, but includes some long steady climbs and fast downhills. Aimed at fit cyclists, but not suitable for young children.

Downhill tracks

In addition to the waymarked trails there are seven or more excellent downhill tracks. From the visitor centre, a short push-up path leads to the downhill tracks. The route initially follows the Freeminer Trail and is marked by white arrows on a yellow background.

Most of the downhill tracks are easy to find, with several beginning at a trailhead just to the east of the top information board. The shorter trails start further down the hill. All the downhill tracks feature difficult technical sections, big jumps, steep drops and one; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, features two very tricky drop-offs. Other downhill tracks include Endo, Mr Rooty, The O.C., Flatlands, The Corkscrew and Sheepskull.

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