Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty


Press release: 1 November 2017
Working dogs to be remembered at Armistice Day ceremony
A service to remember working dogs will be held at Cannock Chase on Friday 10 November 2017 at 2pm, which heralds the start of the Friends of Cannock Chase’s seventieth anniversary celebrations.  
The Friends of Cannock Chase, supported by Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), are inviting working dogs and their owners to a remembrance service this November.  
The annual service, now in its eighth year, was inspired by Freda, a Harlequin Dane that was the New Zealand Rifles’ mascot, when the regiment was stationed on Cannock Chase during the First World War. She died in 1918, while the regiment was training on Cannock Chase, and is buried there.
In memory of Freda, and dogs like her, the service will be held at her grave, which is off Chase Road, near Stafford.
Last year around 50 people, many accompanied by their dogs, gathered at Freda’s grave to take part in the ceremony. This included listening to readings and poems, and laying wreaths at the grave.
This year is extra special as it will be a chance to celebrate all that the Friends of Cannock Chase do for this important environment. 
June Jukes MBE, Chairman of the Friends of Cannock Chase, said: “We hope plenty of people and their dogs join us for this special ceremony.
“It is a moving service, so whether you’re remembering the bravery of a military or police dog, a missed support or pet dog, or simply want to celebrate 70 years of volunteering for the Friends of Cannock Chase, everyone is welcome.”
Dogs can also attend the service, which takes place in the beautiful surroundings of Cannock Chase.
Freda’s grave is 0.6 miles south east of Brocton Village, near Stafford. It is marked ‘Meml’ on the Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 244 – Cannock Chase and its grid reference is SJ978188. The Milford Common Trail passes the grave. A leaflet is available from the nearby Cannock Chase Visitor Centre at Marquis Drive in Cannock Chase Country Park.
To find out more call the AONB office on 01785 619185 or email
Esther Epstein
Cannock Chase AONB Press Officer
About the Friends of Cannock Chase

The group was formed in November 1947 when groups from Cannock, Hednesford, Rugeley, Stafford and Penkridge became concerned about the future of the area.
In the early days the Friends campaigned for recognition of the area by granting it AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) status, to give it greater protection. This was granted in 1958. 
The group offers programme of walks and visits and has a hard working committee that monitors all aspects of events on Cannock Chase. The Friends also do heathland management work throughout the autumn and winter and litter picks in the summer.
Notes about Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
In England and Wales landscapes considered most valuable are designated as National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). These landscapes are protected by law and managed to maintain their special character for now and the future.
Cannock Chase was designated as an AONB in 1958 because of its beautiful landscape, wildlife and history. It has the largest surviving area of lowland heathland in the Midlands. This is an internationally scarce and threatened habitat. Cannock Chase also has extensive areas of forest and woodland, along with areas of designed parkland, sand and gravel quarrying and mixed agriculture.
There is now considerable economic and recreational pressure on this landscape and the Cannock Chase AONB team is working to make sure the right balance is struck to conserve and enhance the area, while maintaining it as a living, working environment.
Cannock Chase AONB is funded by DEFRA, Cannock Chase Council, Lichfield District Council, South Staffordshire Council, Staffordshire County Council and Stafford Borough Council.  

AONB grants on offer to community groups
A pot of money is available for community groups to develop projects that focus on Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The Cannock Chase AONB Partnership is inviting community groups, public sector organisations and local businesses to apply for a grant for small projects that will take place in 2017.
Of the grant scheme, Anne Walker, commented: “We have £16,000 available in our Sustainable Development Fund, which is a really valuable resource to help local projects along. We hope we receive plenty of applications and are looking forward to helping projects that will boost Cannock Chase AONB.”
Applications will be assessed against criteria that includes whether projects conserve or enhance the natural beauty of Cannock Chase AONB sites, whether they are sustainable, if they involve local communities, and more.
Last year’s successful bids included wildlife monitoring equipment for Cannock Chase, dementia walks from Cannock Chase Visitor Centre, a five-yearly bird survey, photography training for AONB volunteers, and a project to help people living with mental illness access a local farm and its surroundings.
Small projects will be funded up to £500 and larger projects will be funded up to £2,000. Some element of match funding is required, but this can be in kind such as volunteer support.
To find out more and to request an application form, please contact Anne Walker on 01785 619185 or email
The deadline to apply for a grant is Thursday 8 June 2017. The applications will then be assessed by a panel later in the month.