Wednesday, 11 November 2009

A Stately Visit

A stately Visit

Rolling hills drenched in purple heather, October bracken coloured of brandy snaps, heady pine scented air only begins to touch on the beauty of Cannock Chase. For Staffordshire’s of all ages the Chase is our tranquil heaven of loveliness.
Whether it’s a brisk walk with your canine pal, or a more meditative stroll; woodland pathways and hills will never fail to leave you refreshed and energised. After your revitalizing exercise, enjoy a welcome cheeseburger and coffee down the road at Milford. Or an ice cream if you’re not so hungry.
Adjoining the chase is the former home of Patrick (Lord) Lichfield. A drive into ‘Shugborourgh’ will prove memorable. For families with young children, an animal farm with a play park is available, where an open air picnic can be enjoyed.
Enter the estate through the walled garden. Workers adorned in period costume will answer questions about the eighteen hundreds. They’ll tell how they are paid beer not wages. “Not very good beer,” they add. A miniature train delivers you to the main hall. Alighting the pleasant trip, you arrive at the servant’s quarters. Here, find hidden gems around every corner. From the old lady spinning in a barn, to a replica of the kitchen, complete with maid knitting next an open fire. Fresh gridle scones topped with homemade gooseberry jam were cooking on the day we went. “Take a sample.” She smiles.
With working mill, farm animals; tearooms aplenty and superb gardens, Shugborough has charms each which way. A nineteen sixties photo gallery displaying Patrick’s personal collection including George Best, and Edward and Mrs Simpson are upstairs in the main hall. On display, his birth certificate showing royal connections.
You’ll leave with pockets of home- made fudge and liquorice sticks and a heart full of nostalgia.

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