Visit Cannock Chase
The Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) falls within the county of Staffordshire in western-central England, to the north of Wolverhampton and south of Uttoxeter, with the towns of Cannock (south), Lichfield (south-east), Rugeley (east) and Stafford (north-west) falling close to the boundary but outside the AONB itself. There are no large towns within Cannock Chase AONB itself.
It covers a relatively small area (68 square kilometres) - in fact Cannock Chase is the smallest AONB in England, but despite the small size it contains a very interesting diversity of landscapes, typically ancient deciduous woodlands, pine forests and open moorland, which in turn contain a wide range of flora and fauna (deer are a common sight within the woodland areas). The Forestry Commission managed woodlands of Cannock Forest fall with Cannock Chase.
Other highlights include Shugborough Hall (see below, and pictured above) to the north and the remains of an Iron Age fort to the south (little remains of the fort, but it is in a lovely location with far-reaching views so well worth visiting).
Outdoor activities at Cannock Chase
Not surprisingly Cannock Chase is a magnet for local walking and cycling enthusiasts, with many trails to follow. The Staffordshire Way and the Heart of England way long distance walks also both traverse the region. Mountain bike enthusiasts won't be disappointed either - the region is well known among enthusiasts and there are various routes available for all levels of ability.
Visiting hikers and fishermen might like to get their bearings at Fairoak Valley while mountain bikers could head for the Birches Valley Forest Centre.
The main visitor information centres can be found at Birches Valley Forest Centre (to the east) and Cannock Chase Visitor Centre (to the south).
Owned by the National Trust, Shugborough Hall is set in a very large area of managed parkland and gardens about six kilometres from Stafford. Great effort has been made at Shugborogh Hall to recreate lfe as it might have been here 200 years ago. Characters in period dress guide you through the mansion itself, as well as the farm and servant quarters, relating anecdotes about their 'lives'. Varous children activities, tea-shops etc are also on site making for an entertaining experience for all the family.