The people perspective
How this National Landscape touches the lives of its residents and businesses
Cannock Chase is not just a beautiful place, rich in wildlife with a fascinating history. It is a working, living landscape: home to 9,200 people, with nearly 200 businesses operating within the AONB, and a further 5,000 located within 3 kms of its boundary. The following six interviews showcase the relationship of Cannock Chase with people’s lives and livelihoods.
Anna Barton, Canalside Farm Shop, Great Haywood
Local food and products play an important role in the sustainable visitor economy because they appeal to people’s desire for a more genuine and authentic local experience. Canalside Farm Shop and Café lying alongside the historic Trent and Mersey Canal on the northern edge of Cannock Chase, has been growing and selling its own produce for nearly 40 years.
Jack Swinnerton, Cannock Chase Cycles, Birches Valley
Cycling is a popular recreational activity on Cannock Chase. The plentiful bridleways and dedicated cycle trails offer opportunities for exercise and fresh air in a beautiful setting, and a range of technical challenges for people of different abilities. Cannock Chase Cycles (formerly Swinnerton Cycles) was the first dedicated cycle shop established on Cannock Chase, and is still trading in the heart of the AONB nearly 20 years on.
Mary Cope, Beaudesert Park Farm, Rugeley
Cannock Chase may be best known for its heaths and forest, but this National Landscape includes extensive areas of farm and estate landscapes around its fringes. Beaudesert Park Farm lies on the eastern edge of Cannock Chase, partly in an historic Humphrey Repton designed parkland. It is a mixed cereal and cattle farm run by the Cope family for 4 generations, also offering educational visits for schools and youth groups.
James Elwell, National Trust, Shugborough
During the period of agricultural improvement in the 18th and 19th centuries, many large landowners created extensive areas of ornamental parkland around their place of residence. Cannock Chase includes survivals of a number of historic parklands dating from this and earlier times, for example, at Beaudesert, Teddesley, Hatherton Hall, Tixall Hall and Shugborough Park. Shugborough Park, now managed by the National Trust, is a well-unified and self-contained landscape, with a strong identity and impression of timelessness. It is the most popular visitor attraction on Cannock Chase.
Andrew Robson, Silvertrees Camping and Caravanning Site, Rugeley
Over 2.5 million visitors are attracted to Cannock Chase each year to enjoy its natural beauty, and opportunities for outdoor exercise and exploration. The majority live locally (within 6 kms) and are day visitors. Silvertrees Camping and Caravanning Site lies in a beautiful woodland setting in the heart of the Chase, and is one of a range of accommodation that is available locally for those who want to stay longer, take their time, and explore the area.
Gary and Nicola Thomas, Chetwynd Arms, Upper Longdon
After a long walk or cycle ride through the delightful forests and heaths of Cannock Chase, there is nothing better than stopping off for lunch or ending the day in a traditional inn and family friendly pub. The Chetwynd Arms in the village of Upper Longdon on the western side of the Chase is a local family run business offering freshly cooked homemade food.
Kaye Le Page, Springslade Lodge, Cannock
Britain is a nation of tea lovers, and tea is still the drink of choice for millions of us. A walk in the countryside often includes stopping off to refuel in a traditional tea room or café with tea and home-made cake and sandwiches. Springslade Lodge lying on the western side of Cannock Chase is an ideal starting place for walkers, cyclists and horse riders to explore the Chase and then recuperate in the comfortable Tea Room and private garden. Camping is available too!