The people perspective: Anna Barton

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.

How would you describe your business, and what is the story of your relationship with Cannock Chase?

Our business was initially a fruit farm selling to local businesses, but is now a farm shop and café.  Being near Cannock Chase means we are in a unique position surrounded by an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and it’s a great reason for people to visit us if they go for a walk and then come back and have a coffee or a lunch here or visit the farm shop afterwards. We definitely try to promote Cannock Chase as a reason to come here with our walk and cycle routes.

How would you say your business benefits from its location and relationship with Cannock Chase?

If you come here on a Saturday or Sunday morning there will be cyclists galore coming for coffee or a tea cake who have obviously been out on the Chase and then cycled down to us for a bit of a stop or respite. So that definitely helps. We sell Cannock Chase artwork and other related things in the shop; for example, cards by local artist Lisa Henderson. We also have someone who has done some photography of the Chase and surrounding area for us that hangs in our café.  I would say we get business because of our location. We are one of the nearby cafes and it has a knock-on effect here.

How would you describe Cannock Chase to someone who has never visited?

Beautiful. Inspiring. Relaxing. A lovely day out with your family.