Fairoak Trail, an easy walk on Cannock Chase

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Walks on Cannock Chase don’t always have to be challenging. It’s a great place to visit with little ones or even if you don’t have long for a dog walk. The Birches Valley area has recently experienced a bit of a face lift with new hiking, jogging and biking trails. This one, taking in the Fairoak pools, is my ultimate easy walk on Cannock Chase. Especially when I’m with my daughter, it’s pretty flat, well organised and there’s a sweet little stream to paddle in half way round. Read more about Birches Valley, Cannock Chase here.

The Fair Oak Trail Route Details

Start this one in the Birches Valley car park (WS15 2UQ). This is where you can pick up a takeout coffee or warming hot chocolate to start your walk at Ground Cafe. Head up past the cycling centre towards Go Ape. Here you’ll find the route maps and can choose which trail to follow. We opted for the Fairoak trail which was the light purple route.

The trail takes you off to the right and keep going under one of the aerial walkways. Keep following the route. Some of the pathway is still under construction so is currently fenced off. You can still get past.

You’ll be walking through beautiful tall trees, the sunlight is especially beautiful at this time of year.

Once you hit the first pool keep going past keeping it on your left. Then keep following the trail to the next pool, again, keeping it on your left. The pools are an important part of this habitat, you’ll probably spot swans, ducks and perhaps even a herd of deer if you’re lucky.

view of fairoak pool in autumn

Eventually you’ll get to the third and final pool, this one may be a bit busier with a few cars parked to the side. Best to keep kids and dogs close at this point. You’ll be crossing this pool, turning to the left, again following the lilac trail sign. Then it’s left again at the end.

This section is again back through the trees and eventually you’ll make it to the stream with some lovely stepping stones leading the way across. Perfect for a mid walk play or quick drinks stop if you’re walking with a dog. It’s similar to the Stepping Stones walk from the Punch bowl carpark, another favourite of ours.

stepping stone over a small stream with a dog in the foreground

The walk then rejoins your original steps all the way back to the carpark. Easy! You can download and print a map of the trail from Forestry England.

Walk Details

Length of Walk: This easy walk on Cannock Chase is just 2 miles long. If you want to complete the full Fairoak trail loop then don’t cross over the third pool, keep going all the way around. This will add an extra half mile to the route.

Walk duration: We completed this loop in 45 minutes, if you’re visiting with little ones and want to stop for a good paddle, it may take a bit longer.

Difficulty: The Fairoak trail is super easy. It’s all flat and the paths are clear and well maintained. The stepping stones may cause issues for buggies and wheelchairs. You can always just turn round and retrace your steps. It’s still a lovely walk. This route is dual use which means its also open for cyclists so keep an ear out for bikes as you go.

Facilities: One of the things that makes this such a great walk on Cannock Chase with kids is the many facilities. There are toilets and a lovely cafe at the car park at Birches Valley. There’s also a fabulous kids play area and a short gruffulo trail if you want to extend your walk.

Car Parking: Parking for this walk is at the main Birches Valley Carpark on the Rugeley side of the Chase (WS15 2UQ). It’s pretty pricey, £2 for an hour, £4 for two hours and £6 for the whole day. The good news is you can pay by card so no need to carry loads of cash. At a push you can easily complete the walk within the hour but we normally opt for all day parking as there’s so much else to do there.

This is one of the busiest car parks on Cannock Chase and although it is huge it can fill up quick at weekends and holidays. Please park responsibly and be prepared to leave if it’s full, you could always try the walk from Fallow Forest just down the road.

Make sure you join the Marvellous Midlands Walks Facebook Group where you can share your favourite routes, photos and recommendations for walks in the Midlands. It’s also a great place to ask for recommendations and find inspiration for your next hike.

For another quick walk on Cannock Chase but a little more challenging try this walk from Seven Springs.

Make sure you pin for later to plan your next easy walk on Cannock Chase.

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