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Cannock Chase (grid
is a mixed area of countryside in the county of Staffordshire, England.
The area has been designated as the Cannock
Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Chase gives its name to the
Cannock Chase local
Cannock Chase is located between Cannock, Lichfield, Rugeley and Stafford.
It comprises a mixture of natural deciduous woodland, coniferous plantations,
open heathland and the remains of early industry, such as coal
Despite being relatively small in area, the chase provides a remarkable range of
landscape and wildlife, including a herd of around 800 fallow
The landscape owes much to the underlying Triassic bunter formations.
Efforts are currently underway to
increase the amount of heathland on
the chase, reintroducing shrubs such as heather in
some areas where bracken and birch forest
have crowded out most other plants.
The Chase is home to a number of less-common and endangered birds, not least
A feeding station at the Marquis Drive Visitors' Centre, sponsored by the West
Midland Bird Club,
attracts many species, including Brambling,
Yellowhammer and Bullfinch.
There are a number of visitor centres, museums and waymarked paths,
Heart of England Way and
Way. Additionally, there are many
unmarked public paths. On the Chase's north-eastern edge can be found Shugborough
Hall, ancestral home of the Earls
of Lichfield. At its southern edge are the
Castle Ring, an Iron
fort, which is the highest point on the Chase.
The Chase has several war
including German and Commonwealth war
cemeteries. A memorial to the victims of the Katyn
unveiled by Stefan Staniszewski, whose father Hillary Zygmunt Staniszewski (a
high court judge) died in the massacre. Preserved below the memorial are phials
of soil from both Warsaw and the Katyn forest.
Cannock Chase was designated as an Area
of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
September 1958 and
is the smallest area so designated in mainland Britain,
covering 68 km˛ (26 square miles). Much of the area is also designated as a Site
of Special Scientific Interest
The Chase is popular with cross-country mountain bike users. The purpose-built
XC 'Follow the Dog' trail (supported
is an 11 km (7 mile) technically challenging route, starting and finishing at
the Birches Valley Visitors/Cycle Centre. It is open to all, however it is not
recommended for beginners. Here are a few features mountain bikers can look out
for when riding on the chase, these include Kitbag hill, Rabbit hill, Quagmire
bridge, Roots hall and Brocton shorts to name just a few.
Since 2006, the forest has been used as an open air music venue as part of the Forestry
Commission nationwide Forest
with acts such as The
Quo and Jools
in a forest clearing.