By Kim Nash
We are so lucky to have Cannock Chase on our doorstep. Within a few minutes, we can be in this stunning part of the countryside and forget the hustle and bustle of everyday life and melt into nature, peace and tranquility.
Whether you’re a family of walkers or bikers, there’s something for all the family and you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning landscapes, the lush surroundings and experience the wildlife and there is also a great deal of history to learn about. Best of all, we mustn’t forget that all of this is totally free!
If you’re really lucky, like Oliver and I were a couple of weeks ago, you may be treated to seeing some of the wild deer which still roam the Chase. They put on quite a prancing show for the people who stopped the cars to watch them, and were really quite tame as they didn’t seem to be at all bothered by the people who were amazed to see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.
Cannock Chase was designated as an Area Of Oustanding Natural Beauty in 1958 and is the largest surviving area of lowland heathland in the Midlands. Located between Stafford and Birmingham, it contains the district centres of Cannock, Hednesford and Rugeley. You can become a member of Cannock Chase AONB, and you can find more about it and the benefits here.
Marquis Drive visitor centre is a lovely area to visit. There is also a great park for the kids to play with wooden play equipment which blends in beautifully with its surroundings. There are also toilets, a bike washing area, and a coffee shop, that sells drinks, snacks and ice-creams, all very reasonably priced and clean and inviting. There’s also loads to do at Birches Valley, where there are organised walks and cycle trails, and pond dipping facilities and Go Ape is great fun for older kids and adults. There is even an enchanting Fairy Garden for those of us who still believe in fairies!
Personally I’m looking forward to Christmas time again on the Chase. Every year we take Oliver up to see Santa and then spend what I say is a few minutes, but apparently is more like hours, choosing a suitable Christmas tree which is the right shape and size. It’s a really special time for families with young children and a delightful place for adults too. With a cup of something hot to warm your cockles in the cold winter weather and get you in the festive mood, I’m glad it’s something we experience each year.
Pictures by Johnmuk from Flickr are used under the Creative Commons licence. Check out this photographer’s stream here: Johnmuk.