Cannock Chase

Cannock Chase is situated approximately three miles from Hammerwich and in 1958 it was designated as ‘An Area of outstanding Natural Beauty’.(AONB)

Although it is a relatively small AONB, covering 26 sq. miles, it has a remarkable range of landscape and wildlife including a herd of around 800 fallow deer which roam freely all over the area. There are also a number of rare and endangered birds to be found.

There are five canals which surround the area in a pentagon shape, these provided transport for the booming coal industry during the 19th century. The last mine closed in 1993.

There are a number of visitor centres, museums, and paths which are enjoyed by walkers and cyclists alike. The area is popular with cross-country mountain bike users and there is a ‘Follow the dog’ trail which is a challenging app. 6 mile route (not for beginners).

There are three towns in the area; Cannock, Hednesford, and Rugeley. The oldest of these is Cannock which was founded during the Iron age and there are burial mounds on ‘The Chase’ dating back to the bronze age. The Norman Kings used the Chase, proclaiming it a ‘Royal Forrest’ which allowed the nobility to have access to the deer. There were monthly hunts across The Chase regularly until the Stuart Period.

There are several war memorials, including German and Commonwealth war cemeteries and they are very peaceful and moving places to visit.

The Chase is now also used as a venue for outdoor concerts during the summer months and acts such as Status Quo have been known to perform at these concerts.

Just outside Hednesford town can be found The Museum of Cannock Chase which was once the home of the Valley Colliery. This was the training pit for thousands of young miners entering the coal industry for the first time. The museum contains many interesting features including a miner’s cottage and a coal mining gallery where you can crawl through a tunnel. It contains a toy museum and a coffee shop to name but a few. It is well worth a visit. It is open from Easter Saturday until the end of September from 11am to 5.pm.

In autumn the colours of the trees would rival any New England scenes; as illustrated in the photographs which were taken in November 2010.