Cannock Chase has a diverse landscape, ranging from ancient woodland, conifer plantations, river valleys and rare wetlands, to open heathlands, historic parklands and farmland. The Chase covers 69 square kilometres or 68 square miles and was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1958.
Although originally a royal hunting ground The Chase also has an industrial past. Coal mining was a huge industry with the earliest recordings of mining dating back to the 13th century. During the first World War it was used extensively as a military training ground housing over 40,000 men!
What’s special about Cannock Chase?
The varied landscape provides the perfect habitat for a wide range of wildlife, and much of the area is also designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Listen carefully and you will hear the rare Nightjar and Woodlark singing in the trees. Look closely to spy four of Britain’s six reptiles in the undergrowth or catch a glimpse of the fallow deer as they roam the parkland. See the beauty of unique plants such as the rare “Cannock Chase berry”, which is an unusual hybrid between bilberry and cowberry.
What to see and do on Cannock Chase
Whether you’re on holiday with your family, a larger group of friends, or simply enjoying a romantic escape for two, Farm Stay can offer accommodation to suit your needs so you can explore this beautiful countryside.
Take a walk up Castle Ring, an Iron Age hill fort at the highest point on the chase (242 m / 794 ft), to enjoy spectacular far-reaching panoramic views over the countryside.
Visit Shugborough Hall, the ancestral home of the Earls of Lichfield, which dates back to the 17th Century. Now maintained by the National Trust, you can explore the house, Georgian Park Farm and Walled Garden, and 900 acres of parkland.
Lying in between Castle Ring and Shugborough, and occupying the heart of the AONB, is a 1000 year old hunting forest, used by royalty and bishops.
If you have a passion for history you’ll love The Museum of Cannock Chase, located in Hednesford, which tells the fascinating story of Cannock Chase from its beginnings to the present day. The AONB also has a wealth of industrial remains, with evidence of glassmaking, ironworking, coal mining and quarrying.
During WWI Cannock Chase housed one of the largest military training camps in England. Other military features include the Commonwealth Cemetery and the German Military Cemetery, both of which are open to the public.
Get outdoors and get active!
Birches Valley Forest Centre has plenty to offer, including scenic woodland walks, challenging technical mountain bike trails, Go Ape Treetop Adventures, and Go Ape Forest Segway.