Cannock Chase is the smallest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in the UK. Situated just north of the not quite so beautiful town of Cannock, it is easily accessible with great transport routes leading in and around the area. The Cannock Chase AONB covers a mere 68 square kilometres, but despite this there are plenty of things to do in this historically rich woodland.
See the “Sights”
Recently there have been “sightings” of the so called black eyed girl/children which appears to have made the news all of a sudden. The creepy sightings have been dismissed as being related to the Cannock Chase Murders in the 60’s. As they should be, unless the ghosts managed to get lost and wandered quite a few miles in the wrong direction. Despite my belief that this story is, in essence, a load of crap, plenty of people have headed back up the Chase to try and spot the paranormal. Good luck to them!
Now if you really want to try looking for something, how about the black panther that allegedly lives over Cannock Chase? In my opinion, this story is much more credible, but once again I really don’t see any truth in it. I’ve lived extremely close to Cannock Chase (or parts of it) and we’re talking literally the Chase over the garden fence kind of close, for at least 18 of my 25 years of existence. I’ve never seen it, or anything remotely resembling it.
There you have it. Some background information. Apparently Cannock Chase is haunted, full of dangerous predators and murderers. Seriously though, the best things to do here are the most simple.
First you have Birches Valley and Marquis Drive.
There are visitor centres here, with plenty of things to do including:
- Visit the museums
- Mountain Biking
- Segwaying (whatever this is called)
- Pony Trekking/Horse Riding
Quite a lot really, and then there is also Go Ape for the kids. I don’t have kids, and I’m apparently too big to go screw around on little obstacle courses and stuff these days. This is totally ageist and should be condemned!
See that crazy emboldened section? That is my favourite (and easily the best) thing to do over Cannock Chase. As this post has explained numerous times, it is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In an effort to sway you over, here are a few pictures I took walking over Shoal Hill and Shoal Hill Common recently:
This just happened to catch the morning light quite well. Nothing overly special. The majority of Cannock Chase will have you walking through dense woodland where you can see this kind of beauty all around you. I would definitely recommend heading up early in the morning though, the morning light really does help do this place justice.
Can you tell we’re heading into Autumn? Differing from the ferns and pines that cover a lot of the Chase there are some areas which open up to reveal some huge trees. Not quite as magnificent as some of the giant Oak trees littered around England but magnificent nonetheless.
Once you exit the forest and head up onto the heathland you get to see some pretty good views. I’m at a low altitude here, but there are some spots (read: the “mount” in Huntington) from which you can actually see across the border into Wales on a good day. This is a western view, towards Wales, but not quite high enough.
How does healthland even get its name? Heather of course! The pink/purple stuff that plasters the common. If you catch it in the right light, and if there is enough, it’s actually really pretty! I was really trying to take a picture of a HUGE spider web which is at the front of this photo, sadly, I’m not good enough to capture that sort of detail. Enjoy the heather instead.
The good old quarry. For those that don’t know, Huntington, which is a part of Cannock, used to be an old mining town. The ground that was dug up now lies in a mound that is climbable with a flag on top, and is the spot you can see Wales from. The old quarry has since been built on and now has a bunch of 3 story newbuild houses. The back part of the quarry which backs onto Shoal Hill however, has been like this for years. There are tons of fish in this little “pond” for lack of a better word. This is more to show that Cannock Chase also has some pretty water to help you take pretty pictures. Including the countless streams that litter the “main” part of Cannock Chase (AKA the touristy area).
There you have it. Just goes to show that leaving the tourist areas and heading off the beaten path can lead you to some beautiful places. Who’d have thought it would be right on my own doorstep?