For the past 6 months, we’ve really enjoyed spending time outdoors and exploring new local areas that are either free family days out or at a low cost. One place that had been on my places to visit as a family is Cannock Chase and The Gruffalo Trail. Cannock Chase is based in Cannock Staffordshire, around 45 minutes from Solihull.
We arrived around 11.30am and the carpark (which is huge by the way!) was already filling up. You can park here all day for £6 which I thought was a fair price. The only issue we encountered was the queue to pay, as it seems one of the car park machines was not working. Add that factor in with the social distancing and the queue was wrapped around the carpark. Having said that, the queue went down quickly and at least everyone was abiding by the rules!
As soon as we got out the car we were greeted with huge fir trees, trails and lots of places to explore! This place reminded me so much of Centre Parcs and I immediately knew we were going to have a great day exploring! There is loads to do here, but first on our agenda was The Gruffalo Trail.
This is located just past Go Ape area (this looked fab by the way and although we haven’t completed this course, we did absolutely love the Go Ape at Coombe Abbey in Coventry!) If you wish, you can purchase a Gruffalo Trail map for £1.50 from the Grounds Cafe or Go Ape, which we did as it was our first time completing the trail and didn’t have a clue where to begin!
My younger two immediately grabbed the map and tried to navigate where the first stop off point was. We had to look out for figures from the Gruffalo and wooden posts, which would display a small picture.
The trail took us down tracks, across a field and into the woodlands which the kids thought was great fun! We came across the fairy garden too, which is next to the large Gruffalo figure where it seems lots of people were having a photo taken. The younger two enjoyed exploring the fairy garden and making a wish at the worry sign. This is also a place that children can bring their dummies to the dummy fairy!
I’d say the Gruffalo Trail is perfect for children aged 2-8. My 3 and 6 year old throughly enjoyed it but I did feel my 10 year old son was a little too old. Having said that, he found the walk enjoyable. The trail took us around 1 hour to complete and was 1 mile in length.
Our final Gruffalo Trail stop was right next to the play area (perfect location I’d say for a pit stop and a picnic!) and the kids loved exploring the large play area. We managed to get a picnic table right next to the gated playarea and the kids enjoyed having a good explore of the wooden apparatus. There was a small wooden house, which was unfortunately blocked off, but there was a climbing wall, an assault course, a net swing, baby swings and various apparatus.
We spent a good hour at the play area before we decided to take a walk and set on on one of the walking trails. We passed all the Go Ape area again and wondered down to the lake, past the bike trails and ended up jumping over stepping stones on the river. It was a lovely walk and we were all exhausted after! There are four walking trails at Cannock Chase in total; Chase Heritage Trail, Fairoak Trail, Ladyhill Trail and Sherbrook trail, all at different distances and abilities. There are all colour graded and their trail length is noted on the walking trail maps. You can download these from the Forestry England website.
There are several bike trails here at Cannock Chase, of many abilities and distance. We spotted a few as we took our walking trail and it looked super fun to see the bikers tackle different terrains. One trail we noticed was in the middle of a thick forest, to the point where it looked so dark inside. For a skilled biker, this must be fantastic to complete! The bike trails have various maps to follow and you can check out the difference in level and ability on notice boards at the beginning of the tracks.
As I mentioned, whilst we didn’t complete this Go Ape Course we have completed a family Go Ape Course before at Coombe Abbey, which we all thought was fantastic! The Go Ape Course is next to the Car Park and bike centre. There are various courses to tackle and some areas looked brand new. This is a place I think we will be returning too soon but it is something you have to prebook through the Go Ape website.
If you love to explore as a family then I would 100% recommend to visit Cannock Chase. It’s a free family day out if local to West Midlands, (small charge for carpark at £6 for all day) has some beautiful scenery and it great for stretching those legs! Don’t forget, take a picnic! We can’t wait to go back!
Thanks for reading xxx
Hi and welcome to The Willow Tree. I’m Michelle, also known as Shel and I am a mama to three beautiful crazy kids – I have two handsome boys and a wild and wonderful girl.
I really wanted a concrete place to share my love for travel, in particular Disney and offer my readers a chance to gain some knowledge around what we love to do as a family of 5.
I share our family adventures which include days out, travel advice and tips, holiday reviews, restaurant visits and of course, our love for Disney, including Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World.
Life is about creating memories, and here we are sharing them with you