Technical documents

Our range of technical documents are aimed at helping people appreciate and understand the nature and work of Cannock Chase AONB Partnership, so that their policies and actions can help to contribute positively to conserving and enhancing the area’s natural beauty and people’s continued use and enjoyment of it.

Guidance for assessing landscapes for designation as National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England 2011 (392 KB)

Natural England’s published guidance on the legal framework for AONBs, the approach to their designation, and the relevant governance and statutory procedures.

England’s statutory landscape designations: a practical guide to your duty of regard 2010 (1 MB)

Natural England guidance to improve awareness and understanding amongst public bodies of their duty of regard to the purposes of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – indicating how these authorities can demonstrate compliance, and outlining the process by which they will be monitored.

Designation History Series 1999 (94 KB)

The Designation Order to confirm Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was confirmed on 16 September 1958. This document is one of a publication series written by the former Countryside Agency setting out the origins and designation histories of the nation’s AONBs.

Dementia Friendly Strategy 2016-2021 (975 KB)

This strategy, developed through consultation and participation, sets out a vision for Cannock Chase AONB to become a dementia friendly community, with practical actions to improve access and enhance the experience for visitors to the area. It is aimed at those living with dementia with low to moderate needs and their family/friends who care for them.

Historic Environment Assessment 2015 (6 MB)

The landscape of Cannock Chase AONB has been forged by centuries of interaction between people and nature, and the historic environment is therefore fundamental to its special character. Over 600 heritage assets (both designated and undesignated) are currently recorded within the AONB.

This Historic Environment Assessment reviews the significance of this resource, and highlights the contribution of the historic character and heritage assets to the AONB. It sets out opportunities for the enhancement and/or management of heritage assets, the need for further investigations, and ways in which the history of Cannock Chase and the visitor experience can be enhanced through interpretation and education.

Chase Through Time 2018 (4 MB)

The Chase Through Time project (2016-18) explored the rich history of Cannock Chase using volunteers and archaeological investigations. This report describes the approach and findings of this partnership between Staffordshire County Council, Historic England and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Historic England’s contribution to the project is available as a separate report.

Horsiculture monitoring within Cannock Chase AONB 2012 (1 MB)

This 2012 report repeats, and extends, the 2008 survey. It re-emphasises that horsiculture was becoming an increasingly significant land use within the AONB, and showed a slight improvement in the condition of sites surveyed in 2008 and 2012. It includes recommendations for equine managers to implement improved practices on their land.

Horsiculture monitoring within Cannock Chase AONB 2008 (153 KB)

Previous AONB Management Plans have highlighted concerns about increasing numbers of horses being kept within the AONB and their impacts on the landscape. These impacts were identified as the prevalence of horse paddocks, overgrazing and inappropriate fencing. The aim of this study was to provide a simple repeatable methodology to assess the impacts of horse keeping that would highlight trends and determine the extent and type of impacts on the landscape and environment of the AONB.

Cannock Chase AONB Interpretive Strategy 2006 (3 MB)

The role of interpretation is to provoke and inspire people’s thinking and behaviours through instilling knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the places being visited. Not only does this make such visits more enjoyable and rewarding, but hopefully it helps people understand their own place in looking after this special landscape. The strategy identifies a series of themes around which interpretation across the AONB can be delivered.

State of bats within Cannock Chase AONB and surrounds (15 MB)

New research has shown that Cannock Chase provides a home for 9 out of Staffordshire’s 12 species of bat. Go out at dusk on the Chase and you stand a chance of seeing common and soprano pipistrelles, Natterer’s bat, whiskered bat, Brandt’s bat, Daubenton’s bat, Leisler’s bat, noctule and brown long-eared bat. Broadleaved woodland, parkland and wood-pasture, agriculturally unimproved grasslands and river corridors are the best places to look.

An invertebrate species audit for Cannock Chase AONB (17 MB)

Annex 2 Cannock Chase Invertebrate Audit post 1995 species list

Annex 4 Cannock Chase Invertebrate Audit 'lost species'

Thanks to the efforts of many dedicated invertebrate recorders over the decades, the heaths, forests, river valleys and historic parklands of Cannock Chase are known to be home to a variety of invertebrates including specialities like the small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly, bog bush cricket, Welsh clearwing and green tiger beetle. New research carried out by ‘Buglife’, the Invertebrate Conservation Trust’ has pulled together and assessed all of these records collected over the last 25 years.  For the first time we now have a picture of the value of the Chase for this fascinating group of creatures, including their distribution, conservation status and ‘hotspots’ for invertebrate fauna.


Review of AONB Landscape Character Framework 2017 (975 KB)

An understanding of landscape character underpins the approach to planning and management within Cannock Chase AONB, ensuring that all decisions affecting the designation conserve and enhance the area’s special qualities.  This framework describes the key elements and qualities that make up the distinctive landscape character of the AONB; the strength of their character and condition.  A short vision statement summarises the overall aims of management for each landscape character type, supplemented by practical management guidelines to help planners and land managers tackle specific environmental and recreational issues.

The Cannock Chase Landscape 1994 (7 MB)

A landscape assessment of Cannock Chase prepared by the Countryside Commission in order to support the work of the (then) Joint Advisory Committee in its work to raise awareness and understanding of the special character and national importance of the AONB.

Peace and Tranquillity in the Cannock Chase AONB 2016 (2 MB)

Peace and tranquillity is recognised as a key indicator of the health of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In 2010 Cannock Chase AONB produced a series of tranquillity maps for the area.  It was the intention that the study would be repeated every five years to coincide with, and inform, a review of the AONB Management Plan. This report presents the findings of the first 5-year review.

Peace and Tranquillity in the Cannock Chase AONB 2010 (975 KB)

Peace and tranquillity is recognised as a key indicator of the health of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This study applied a methodology for mapping peace and tranquillity within Cannock Chase AONB, involving local people to provide their own perceptions of tranquillity.  The resultant series of tranquillity maps provides a baseline for monitoring and evaluating future management policies.

Tranquillity Mapping in Cannock Chase AONB 2007 (975 KB)

Peace and tranquillity is recognised as a key indicator of the health of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In 2007 the Cannock Chase AONB commissioned a short study to consider a methodology for mapping tranquillity across the area, building on best practice from CPRE and elsewhere.  The findings informed the approach that was taken three years later in 2010 to map peace and tranquillity across the area.

Cannock Chase AONB Design Guide 2020 (15 MB)

The AONB Design Guide has been prepared in response policies and actions in the AONB Management Plan. It aims to promote good practice and encourage any future development to be landscape-led and sympathetic to existing character, so it does not detract from the natural beauty of the AONB.

The Design Guide is for anyone proposing new development as well as those preparing local plans and other community planning guidance that has the potential to affect Cannock Chase AONB.

Cannock Chase AONB Views and Setting Guide 2020 (51 MB)

The AONB Management Plan recognises that wide-ranging uninterrupted views from the AONB are one of the AONB’s special qualities. Views towards the distinctive profile of Cannock Chase are also an important attribute within the surrounding area.

The AONB Views and Setting Guide provides a guide to help ensure that the surroundings of the AONB are developed and managed in ways that conserve and enhance its significance and inherent special qualities.

Highways Design Guide 2005 (2.74 MB)

The design guide examines some of the key themes that should be taken into consideration when making alterations to the highways and related infrastructure within the AONB.

The first part of the guidance identifies the key elements of the local area, the landscape and the highway environment that contribute to local distinctiveness, and takes the reader on a contextual journey along some of the key roads within the AONB, passing through the many different landscapes. The second part then looks at individual elements of highways infrastructure and recommends how best to deal with these in the different circumstances that are common within the AONB.

Car park improvements: A guide to key landscape principles 2021 (2 MB)

The guide sets out planning and environmental considerations that should be taken into account when planning and implementing alterations or car park closures on Cannock Chase AONB, along with key landscape principles, such as layout, detailed design, signage and restoration of car parks and laybys if these are closed.

Cannock Chase Special Area of Conservation

A small area of Cannock Chase is designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The Cannock Chase SAC is one of the best areas in the UK for European dry heath land and is the most extensive in the Midlands region.

An extensive evidence base of visitor surveys, visitor observational and recreational impact studies has been collected over the past decade. These have informed the preparation of Detailed Implementation Plans for car parking and site users on the Chase to mitigate visitor impacts.

Visitor Management Strategy 2015 (2 MB)

Cannock Chase is a popular visitor destination, receiving over 2.5 million visitors a year. The numbers of visitors is anticipated to increase, with implications for the special qualities of the AONB, the ability of the visitor infrastructure to cope with this additional demand, as well as compromising the quality of the visitor experience. This strategy reviews recreation activities within the AONB and likely trends and impacts, and proposes priority areas for action and a delivery programme.

Visitor Survey Analysis 2012

Volume 1: Technical Report (4 MB)
Volume 2: Appendices (6 MB)

To help understand patterns of recreational use on Cannock Chase AONB, a survey of visitor numbers and usage across the Chase was carried out over a twelve month period between September 2010 and August 2011. Data was compared against the first visitor survey on Cannock Chase AONB carried out in 2000 in order to establish any trends and changes in pattern of use over the 10 year period. Interpretation of the survey findings prompted a review of visitor and recreational management across the AONB, which identified a range of strategic issues requiring further investigation.

Cannock Chase AONB Visitor Survey 2000 (4 MB)

The first visitor survey on Cannock Chase was conducted in 2000. Its broad aim was to gather comprehensive and up-to-date factual information on usage of the AONB, together with a range of views and opinions of users on ways in which the public enjoyment of the Chase might be facilitated. Key areas of enquiry included the identification of the profile of visitors; the characteristics of their visits; their patterns of spending and the associated economic impacts; the reasons for visiting and the expectations of the visit; and the identification of problems and issues for management. The survey findings contributed to the production of a new AONB Management Plan.