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Cannock Chase Walks In Staffordshire, England, UK

Cannock Chase Walks In Staffordshire

This Cannock Chase Walks route was about 7 miles in distance. The terrain of this route was a mixture of woodland and heathland tracks and paths with some road sections, a tarmac driveway and a towpath. There were no stiles to negotiate.

This is a pleasant picturesque walk on the north-western periphery of Cannock Chase. It features landscaped parkland, waterside meadows and open heathland. There is also finest remaining area of traditional oak wood in the Chase. On an historic note, you go past an 18th-century mansion, go over an ancient packhorse bridge. You also traverse part of the disused “Tackeroo Railway”, that was built during the First World War.

Cannock Forest originally covered a large area between Stafford in the west and Tamworth in the east. It also stretched from the Trent valley in the north to Wolverhampton and Walsall in the south. It was a royal forest, but in 1290 Edward I granted part or it to the bishops of Lichfield as their private chase.

During the 16th century, the Pager family, who pioneered the growth of the local iron industry, later to become the marquises of Anglesey, took ownership of Cannock Forest. Unfortunately, the demand for charcoal for iron smelting resulted in the felling of many of the woodlands with much of the chase becoming bare heathland.

In the 1920s, the Forestry Commission commenced large-scale conifer plantations, mostly of pine. Today, Cannock Chase is mainly heath and conifer forest, although some older broadleaved woodland remains, mostly in the area of this walk.

Starting from Milford Common car park, leg one headed eastwards on short road sections plus woodland bridleway path; then north east on a tarmac driveway and surfaced track to Essex Bridge across the River Trent. Leg two turned south east along a canal towpath; then south along a road to a road junction.

Leg three went south along a surfaced track; then south west and south on woodland and heathland tracks to a track junction. Leg four turned north west on heathland tracks; then north east by road section and track through woodland to a track junction. To complete the walk the fifth and final leg headed north west along woodland tracks and a path to return to Milford Common car park.

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Cannock Chase Walks Route

The Cannock Chase Walks route was circular in a clockwise direction with five legs.

Leg 1

On this first leg we started from the Milford Common car park, heading eastwards along short road sections and a woodland bridleway path; then north east along a tarmac driveway and surfaced track to Essex Bridge over the River Trent.

  1. From Milford Common car park we walked east across grass, parallel to trees on our right, towards the A513 main road.
  2. Turning right along the road we passed the entrance to Shugborough Hall and Shugborough Park on the left, and followed a wall on our left for about 150 metres.
  3. At the corner of the wall we turned left along a signposted bridleway path.
  4. We followed the path uphill between bracken and a great range of silver birch trees.
  5. At the top of the hill near railings guarding a covered reservoir, we veered right where the path divided.
  6. From here we kept straight ahead, eventually descending to re-join the A513 main road.
  7. Here we turned left along a roadside path for about 400 metres around a right hand bend.
  8. On reaching a signposted bridleway to Great Haywood on the left we turned left through a gate.
  9. Now on a surfaced a path we continue ahead through a second gate about 70 metres further on.
  10. Now on a tarmac drive we kept straight ahead across Shugborough Park.
  11. On our left was the Anson Arch commemorating Admiral George Anson’s circumnavigation of the world in the 1740s.
  12. We crossed a bridge over a railway line and passed a National Trust visitors’ centre on our right.
  13. At a first fork we went right, then soon after at a second fork we went left to pass Park Farm Museum on our left.
  14. Soon the elegant Shugborough Hall came into view on our left.
  15. Where the main drive veered left towards the hall, we went through a gate and continued straight ahead along a narrower track between fields.
  16. At the end we crossed the 17th century Essex Bridge over the River Trent.

Leg 2

Having walked about 1.75 miles to this point, the second leg turned south east along a canal towpath; then south along a road section to road junction.

  1. Beyond the bridge, before a second bridge, we turned right through a gap in a wall.
  2. From here we followed a towpath beside the Trent and Mersey Canal.
  3. The towpath made very pleasant walking, initially squeezing between the river on the right and the canal on the left.
  4. There were also great views across the meadows towards Shughorough Hall.
  5. After about 1 mile we reached road bridge number 72.
  6. Just beyond the bridge, we climb steps on our right and turn left along a roadside path.
  7. We followed this path under a railway bridge and across a bridge over the River Trent to a junction with the A513 main road.

Leg 3

Having walked about 3 miles to this point, the third leg went south along a surfaced track; then south west and south on woodland and heathland tracks to a junction of tracks.

  1. Crossing over the road we took a surfaced track straight ahead, which led us uphill to a woodland car park and picnic area at Seven Springs.
  2. Here we fork right to pass a wooden barrier and waymark post 145.
  3. We followed a gravelled track to another fork and went right again along a broad track.
  4. We continued along an undulating track through a mixed area of heathland, broadleaved woodland and conifer plantations.
  5. Eventually the track descended gently into the Sherbrook valley at the Stepping Stones picnic area.
  6. We crossed a brook on the stepping stones to reach a crossways.
  7. Here we turned left along the Staffordshire Way and walked through the delightful Sherbrook Valley.
  8. The woodland later gives way to more open country of sloping heathland dotted with random groups of trees.
  9. We ignored the first broad track on our right and continued ahead for about 230 metres to waymark post 141, at a broad track on our right, just before a small picnic area on the left.

Leg 4

Having walked about 5 miles to this point, the fourth led turned north west along heathland tracks; then north east by short road section and track through woodland to a junction of tracks.

  1. Here we turned right to double back on ourselves along a track.
  2. The track soon curved to the left and headed uphill between banks of heather and bracken.
  3. At the top of the track we reached a T-junction and veered right along the Heart of England Way.
  4. We continued on the track until we reached a wooden barrier that barred our way at a tarmac access road.
  5. Here we turned right along the road and passed through a small car park.
  6. At a barrier we kept straight on along a gravelled track ahead of us.
  7. We continued ahead for about 230 metres to a blue waymark post “B” at a fork in the track.

Leg 5

Having walked about 5.75 miles to this point, the fifth and final leg headed north west on woodland tracks and a path back to Milford Common car park.

  1. We went left here to follow a woodland track as it descended gently at first, then more steeply, through the ancient woodland of Brocton Coppice.
  2. Near the foot of the hill the track zigzagged left, then right, to join a similar track above Mere Pool on the left.
  3. Now on a track that was once part of the “Tackeroo Railway”, we reached a crossing of several tracks and paths.
  4. Here we kept straight ahead through a deep cutting towards Milford.
  5. At the end of the cutting we forked left at the red-topped waymark post 4 and continued to a wooden barrier.
  6. We kept straight ahead through a small car park and after about 80 metres we reached a fork.
  7. Here we went right onto a track which headed steadily uphill.
  8. We passed a small pool on our right.
  9. After reaching the top we descended gently back towards Milford Common.
  10. At a fork just before a left bend, we continued straight ahead past a wooden post.
  11. We followed a path through trees and around a barrier back into the car park.

When Done & With Whom

I did this hike with my partner Anne whilst on a day hike on Boxing Day during December 2013. We drove from our home in Birmingham, West Midlands to the starting location of Milford, Staffordshire and parked in Milford Common pay and display car park which was also the start location of the hike.

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