By Kim Nash
With the sun shining and both of us in need of some fresh air, Chasewater Country Park seemed the perfect place to head to with my four-year-old Oliver for a fun-packed day.
We took my my sister, my nephew, and my Dad too, who isn’t mobile and was in a wheelchair.
When we visited, the park was undergoing some essential improvement work to the dam, which will make the reservoir safe for the future, but this didn’t affect the fabulous facilities on offer.
We were greeted at the Innovation Centre by a stunning art display by local artists in the reception area – there’s also a small gift shop which you’re probably going to get dragged into if you have children, which seemed quite well-priced.
We started our walk at the small lake, which has kayaks available to hire and lots of ducks and geese waiting to be fed, before strolling on to the old castle ruins. The children had masses of fun running around here and posing for photos. You can also hire go-carts and play crazy golf if you want, for a small charge.
Naturally, we ended up at the very well-equipped play park, which is surrounded by lots of tables and benches, so an ideal place to have your picnic, or for parents to take a break while the kids are wearing themselves out.
I have to say the country park was ideal for our wheelchair – it was flat and well-accessible, making it good for pushchairs too, which is a great feature.
The layout also makes it great for cycling, and there’s a cycle hire shop if you fancy seeing the sights on two wheels.
Food and facilities
The park’s a great place for a picnic, but there’s also plenty of places to buy lunch.
We ate in the cafe, which was really clean, the staff were very friendly, and the food was great and reasonably priced.
The toilet facilities were also very well-looked after, and included disabled toilets and baby changing facilities.
There’s also an old-style tea room, with lovely home-made cakes, and the Station Cafe, elsewhere in the park, which are also good quality and well-priced.
Things to do
Throughout the year, Chasewater plays host to a variety of events including a vintage steam exhibition and some family fun days.
In fact, their annual charity day takes place this weekend , on Sunday, August 14, when you can go along and support local charities whilst having lots of fun.
Throughout the summer holidays, there are loads of workshops for kids, from decorating old clothes to having fun as pirates and learning circus skills, which seem great value at £2 per child.
Chasewater Railway is based in a different area of the park, at Brownhills West.
The steam train trip covers four miles through the country park, and a rover ticket allows you to hop on and off throughout the day.
There’s a Heritage Centre, with a large collection of vintage carriages, steam and diesel locomotives on display, and there’s also a museum with loads of railway-related items, some dating as far back as the 1800s.
There’s a couple of shops here too, selling some lovely souvenirs and heritage-related gifts, suitable for all ages, not just youngsters. They have a super range of children’s toys, including Hornby and Thomas, as well as books and DVDs, and lots of pocket money toys.
Phew! So all in all, there’s plenty to choose from at Chasewater, both inside and out. And we didn’t even realise there’s a small brewery based in one of the units. Apparently the beer is wonderful – not that we need another excuse to go back!
We thoroughly enjoyed our day, and as I’m lucky enough to have the park on my doorstep, I’m already looking forward to our next visit.
Chasewater is located just off the A5 between Cannock and Burntwood in Staffordshire. There’s lots of free parking.