Birches Valley, Cannock Chase. A great day out.

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Cannock Chase is always our go to for some time outdoors with the whole family. No more so than this year when things to do have been few and far between. We normally head out for a long walk but sometimes we need a little organised activity to keep the ten year old happy. Birches Valley, Cannock Chase has everything you need to keep the whole family happy and its easy to spend the whole day here.

wooded path through cannock chase

Things to do at Birches Valley

Where do I start? There’s just so much to do at Birches Valley. If you’re visiting with little kids then you’re going to want to head straight for the playground. It’s totally enclosed with plenty of benches so you can relax and let the young ones play. There’s equipment to swing on, climb up and balance along. We always have to drag Piper away.

Once you’re played out head up past the main cafe and Go Ape area and you’ll soon come to some natural play equipment along with a super fun drum set. When we’ve visited with school friends, this is always a huge hit, the kids just love “making music ” together. Keep going along the path, following it round to the left and you’ll reach the main wooded area. Let the little ones free here for a while and they’ll love building dens. There are always half built one left behind by others the could add to or they can completely start from scratch. I’m always amazed at the size of log my tiny daughter can drag from one side of the forest to the next when she has a den building goal.

Next up we head to the little fairy forest, this can be reached just behind the carpark. It’s such a clever piece of work and really brings the imagination alive. If you can remember, its always nice to find a little gift to leave for the fairies on your walk up. Maybe a colourful flower or pretty stone.

young girl gazing at fairy house carved into tree

The Gruffulo Trail at Birches Valley

Any fans of the famous Julia Donaldson stories describing a fantastical gruffulo with purple spikes and turned out toes will love the short trail around the woods. Imagine you’re the mouse and see who you can meet on the way. There are twelve characters to spot around the forest culminating in a huge gruffulo statue near the fairy forest. You can pick up a trail map and certificate in the cafe for £1.50. The trail is only around a mile long and all fairly flat so easy to complete with little ones.

They shake up the kid friendly trail often, in the past we’ve tried a stick man trail and a Zog one.

Go Ape at Birches Valley, Cannock Chase

Go Ape is always a good idea and the one at Birches Valley is fab. Balancing, swinging and ziplining through the trees definitely get the adrenaline spiking and its a great one to help develop kids confidence. This one has the longest combined crossing of any Go Ape and separate areas for kids and adults. They also have segway tours you can take part in should you wish to see the chase from two wheels. We’ve had a few kids parties here and they always go down a treat! Find out more and book your slot via the Go Ape Website.

go ape ariel ropes at birches valley

Walking and Biking

Birches Valley is one of the most popular places on Cannock Chase for mountain bikers. There are 4 trails of varying difficulties to try ranging from super family friendly to hair raisingly difficult. They’re currently developing new ones which should be open in summer or 2021 which look great. If you don’t own a bike or can’t transport it then you can always hire one from the cycling centre.

stegosaurus bike trail at birches valley

There are also several walking trails you can follow. Most are fairly short and easy to complete being under 3 miles. Check out this easy walk on Cannock Chase following the Fairoak trail. Look at the map by the cycling centre to decide which one to try.

walking trail between tall trees

Birches Valley Cafe

Whilst there are plenty of places for a picnic at Birches there is a lovely little cafe near the main entrance. A take out coffee on a walk always keeps me motivated. This place also does fantastic sandwiches and jacket potatoes for lunch. Its a firm favourite with me and the mums from school.

birches valley cannock chase cafe

Taking dogs to Birches Valley

This is one of the few parts of the Chase I don’t often visit with Holly. For her, there’s just too much going on. and she will never wait patiently whilst her humans try out all the fun things to do. If we do bring her, we make sure she has a good long run first to tire her out like this walk from Fallow Forest.

green field with trail on cannock chase

That said, dogs are perfectly welcome at Birches valley, you’ll always find a bowl of water outside the cafe and the main field is a good place to give them a run. There’s even a dog activity trail to follow which I really must try out. Please do keep them under control, there will be lots of tiny kids running around and you wouldn’t want to scare them. Dogs are not allowed in the playground or Go Ape.

taking dogs to birches valley on a lead

Parking at Birches Valley, Cannock Chase

There is a large car park at Birches Valley which has recently been extended. It’s £2 to park for an hour and £6 for the whole day. Best to choose the second option as you won’t want to rush.

Parking machines accept cash and card and are sanitised regularly. You can also purchase an annual parking pass, well worth supporting the forest if you’re going to visit often.

views at birches valley cannock chase

Birches Valley is open everyday except Christmas day. Coming times vary depending on the season. It’s 9pm in summer and 5pm in winter.

Other Facilities

Currently only limited toilets are open but ordinarily there are plenty available. The cafe is also only open for takeaway. It will hopefully open up fully in May.

Remember to keep a safe distance from other households and sanitise hands regularly. Whilst the playground is open, make sure you give hands a good was before and after using the equipment.

For another brilliantly family friendly walk on Cannock Chase, check out this Stepping Stones Walk from the punch bowl carpark. Or if you have an interest in history, I’m sure you’ll love this war memorial trail on Cannock Chase.

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