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Cannock Chase Tourist Information

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StaffordshireCannock Chase

Cannock Chase lies between Cannock, Lichfield, Rugeley and Stafford. 

Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1958, this is the largest surviving area of lowland heathland in the Midlands.  The 26 square miles of the AONB forms a high plateau, bordered by the Trent Valley to the north and the West Midlands to the south. 

Cannock Chase has a wide range of landscapes including natural deciduous woodland, coniferous planations and open heathland.  There are also the remains of industry, such as coal mining.

The area's wildlife and plant communities are part of an historic landscape that dates back thousands of years.  Cannock Chase was an ancient hunting forest and the wild fallow deer roaming here today are probably descended from the original herd introduced by the Normans. 

Near Sherbrook Valley stands a Commonwealth War Cemetery and the German Military Cemetery, containing 5,000 graves of German servicemen who died in both World Wars.  

The history of Cannock Chase and its coal mining tradition is brought to life at the visitor attraction Museum of Cannock Chase in Hednesford. 

The Heart of England Way, a long-distance footpath, runs for 100 miles from Milford Common on Cannock Chase to Bourton on the Water in the Cotswolds.

Cannock Chase covers several areas:

Cannock Chase Country Park, managed by Cannock Chase council, covers 4.5 square miles and is one of the biggest country parks in England.  Large parts of the country park are important sites for wildlife and have been designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).  Within the country park lies Castle Ring, the remains of an Iron Age hill fort.  The Cannock Chase Visitor Centre is located in Marquis Drive. 

Cannock Forest, managed by the Forestry Commission, takes up most of the rest of Cannock Chase.  The Forestry Commission Visitor Centre, in Birches Drive, includes a Forestry Musuem.

Shugborough, now owned by the National Trust, this fine house, set in a large estate, lies on the north-east edge of Cannock Chase.  Shugborough was the ancestral home of the late 5th Earl of Litchfield (the photographer Patrick Litchfield).

Hazelslade Local Nature Reserve lies near Hednesford on the border of Cannock Chase and the Forest of Mercia.  Managed by the council, this small area includes secondary woodland, a pool, wetland and agriculturally improved grassland.

Wolseley Garden Park, managed by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, stands on the north-east edge of Cannock Chase.  The park boasts circular nature trails, lakes and a visitor centre.

Chasewater Country Park and Forest of Mercia
To the south, Cannock Chase adjoins the Forest of Mercia and the edge of the Black Country.  Chasewater Country Park, at the heart of the Forest of Mercia, lies 4 km south of the Iron Age hill-fort of Castle Ring on Cannock Chase.  The lake, created in 1797 as a canal feeder reservoir for the Wyrley and Essington Canal, remains the largest in use in the region today.  The park's 360 hectares of water and open space offer many activities including walking, cycling, sailing, water skiing and angling.  The Chasewater to Lichfield Walk, a long-distance footpath, starts here.   At the centre of the park lies the Forest of Mercia Innovation Centre, the main information centre for the Forest of Mercia and Chasewater Country Park.  This has regular exhibitions and houses 10 craft workshops. The Country Park also boasts a steam railway.

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