From a picturesque side through the Fairoak Valley, to a single track with stunning views, there`s a trail waiting for you to explore.
Forest and woodland always are our past, our present and our future. And, beyond you can see beautiful stories...
Forest and woodlands are calling me and I'm a great enthusiast of these places. This time I'm going to Cannock Chase Forest, which is an enjoyable place for mountain bike adventures, walking and even for looking at Gruffalo sculptures hidden in the woodlands.
In the forest there are trails with variable surfaces including loose stones, tree roots and occasional muddy in places.
There are several fantastic views of trees, fishing pools and streams.
I am going to the forest following the route for runners, but there are walkers like me too. This route has a distance of about 7,5 km with additional climbs and more challenging terrain underfoot.
I am walking along the footpath into the forest surrounded by hundreds of Corsican Scots Pine trees, which usually smell beautiful in the summer months.
Looping around the Fairoak Valley you will experience broadleaf and conifer woodlands. I see a lot of wanders and cyclists, who'll on their bikes and cross trails with different levels of difficulty, from beginners and novice cyclists to greater challenges and high extremes.
I see the cyclist passing the black severe trail called Evil Slab, where there are large and unavoidable features, uneven or muddy sections at the times.
On my way I see a long water between wetlands, surrounded by ancient and young trees of Alder tree and Birch Valley. Alder tree is a great for boggy areas and near water courses and I wrote about this tree in my post here:
The main tree species are Scots Pines, which like sandy soil and survive period with little water. I have seen some children hug those trees, which are tall and wide, so you can’t embrace them whole. I can see the smile on kids' faces. They were hugging the tree and their faces looked calm and bonding.
According to the Woodland Trust, a tree might be ancient if it had 1 adult hug of Scots Pine.
When I walk along the walking path, the wind suddenly stops blowing in my face and I also feel less cold. This is because the trees are a natural barrier to the wind.
The Cannock Chase Forest is a very well maintained place with great forest management plans. In this place, the seeds from trees are collected to grow in the nurseries. They can supply millions of trees a year to re-plant and create new forests and woodlands. These homegrown saplings help to avoid importing new pests and diseases.
Can you imagine that a seed smaller than a pea can grow into a 90 m tall tree?
This place is a mosaic of rich and diverse habitats, such as wetlands, forest meadows and heathlands. I am greatly impressed that there are white - tailed eagles, white -faced darter dragonflies, sand lizards, beavers, chequered skipper butterflies and water voles.
We are surrounded by wildlife, even if you can`t see it.
None of this wildlife I could see, but near fishing pools and streams are beavers` herds and dams.Those builds slow down the current, raise the water level and expand the flooded area. Those wetlands and damp places are needed for trees and shrubs which like wet habitats.
I`m going further and hearing a chirping birds. Take a moment to listen out for them too, but there is also a delicate noise of the forest.
I reach a fork in the road, where two ladies on a mountain bike apparently don't know the way back. The map or route marks reading are very useful. 🗺️😊
Surfaces are uneven or potholed in places and not following warning signs, instructions and color diversions on timber posts can lead you to stuck for longer in a place where you can even get lost, like those two ladies.
They waved at me and shouted if I knew where the visitor's center was. They couldn't remember the way back to the car park. Of course, I showed them the way and they happily rushed on their bikes.
Near the car park starting another adventure, which is a shelter building. You can make your own den, like in the movies about forest survival. Next, along the walking path are more exciting things, like for example, Pedal and Play, Gruffalo Trail sculptures, and Fairy Trees.
This place is also a place for the birds. At the fishing pools you can spot Canada geese and ducks. Near the visitors centre I could see the gray wagtail. The Cannock Chase Forest has Northern Lapwing and bird nests, which are built on the ground, not only in the trees.
Above - Cannock Chase Forest gallery. Copyright © Agnes R, 2023
Be careful not disturb any wildlife in the forest, because the forest care for us and we can care for forest.