Shugborough Walks – The Hall, Canal and Cannock Chase

Please share

I love a visit to Shugborough Hall, it has everything I love from a day out. Outdoor space, a little bit of history and fabulous cafe. It also a brilliant place for a hike in the Staffordshire countryside. This 5 mile loop if one of my favourite Shugborough walks. With plenty of amazing scenery a a few challenging spots.

The Shugborough walk route.

This year entrance to Shugborough has been a little different. You’ll need to book a slot online to ensure entry. This was particularly tricky over summer as so many people were looking to visit. This walk in fact doesn’t require you to enter the ticketed grounds but still includes a large chunk of the Estate.

If you do fancy a visit then make sure to read this post on everything you need to know about Shugborough Hall, Staffordshire.

row of charming brick cottages

We parked just before the Hall. If you’re coming from Rugeley, drive towards Shugborough. Pass the service entrance and before you reach the main gate, there is a small carpark on your right. Go slow and you shouldn’t miss it.

Leave the carpark on foot keeping the road to your right. There’s a small path to follow. You’ll soon come to a wooden gate which will take you onto the grounds.

Follow the road towards the Hall. If you look to the left you’ll see one of the many follies Shugborough is famous for. You could veer off to it on the top of the hill. Keep going past the ticket entrance. If it’s open, the walled garden opposite is a lovely place to pop in for a bit of colour at anytime of year. This is also where you’ll find the kids playground although it has been closed for the whole of this year.

Keep walking along the tarmac path, you won’t be allowed to take the fork to your left if you don’t have a ticket. Just keep to the right. This part is a flat and easy path through beautiful fields and you’ll be able to see the Hall in the distance.

At the end of the path you’ll find some gates off into the woods. Although not part of the route, this is a great option for a break. If you’re visiting with kids there are plenty of trees to climb, stumps to jump over and a river to paddle in if the weather is fine.

Head a little further into the woods for the most perfect socially distanced picnic spot. Places like this kept us sane over summer. We were finally able to meet up with my parents but didn’t want to risk getting too close.

Once you’ve had your fill of fun in the woods head back out the gate, turn right and cross over Essex Bridge. This Grade 1 listed packhorse bridge crosses the River Trent. It’s a wonderful place for pooh sticks if it’s not too busy. It links the Shugborough Estate to the village of Great Haywood and will lead you down to the Canal. Unlike other Shugborough walks, you’re now leaving the main Estate and heading along the water.

Once you hit the Trent and Mersey canal, turn left and take the path under a bridge. If you need a snack stop you could always cross this bridge to the sweet canal cafe on the other side.

Follow the canal path for a good way and you’ll come to a waterways cross roads. This is a major junction between the Trent and Mersey canal and the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal. So can get pretty packed with boats. Turn left, cross the bridge and follow the Staffs and Worcs waterway.

girl in leggings and white t shirt looking over a wooden fence towards green fields

I love this stretch of canal, bordered on each side with aces of fields, crossing under quaint little bridges and past floating homes all painted the prettiest of colours.

Keep on going and you’ll see the canal start to get wider. You can spot Ingestre Hall in the distance on the other side followed by the Tidal Gatehouse which was built in 1580. I have no idea where the main house has gone but it must have been super impressive if this was the gatehouse!

When you finally get to this very sweet lock keepers cottage you’ll want to keep a look out for the next bridge. Leave the canal path here and follow the road to your left. This will eventually get you to Milford Common, a popular part of Cannock Chase for ball games and picnics.

Turn left and head back towards Shugborough. Ignore the main entrance and keep going a short distance along the road until you see the first clear path to your left. Hopefully you have plenty of puff left at this point, you’re nearly back to the car now but it’s now it gets hilly. You’ll be going up hill into the woodlands of Cannock Chase. Once you reach the top of the hill turn right and follow the path and far as you can get before hitting Shugborough boundary fence. There are several paths to follow here, just keep in mind the road should be to your right, no matter how far away and you should not pass through any more gates. You should finally see the car park to your right.

Shugborough walk details

Length of walk: This circular walk was around 5 miles in total. Having a wander off around Shugborough or a windyer route through the Cannock Chase woodland will add some mileage.

Duration of walk: We spent around four hours doing this walk. Whilst that sounds like a lot we spent plenty of time finding things to play on. We also had a good stop for lunch. It was extremely hot on the day we completed this walk so we had to take it slow.

Completing the Shugborough walks with dogs: Our Hungarian Viszla Holly loves this walk, it’s a great one with dogs. They have to stay on the lead through the grounds at Shugborough and wherever there is livestock. She was fine to be off, running free alongside the canal and in the woods. Make sure you get a firm hold of their lead when walking on the roads, cars do go pretty fast and dogs may want to chase the many birds or squirrels that call the Chase home.

Facilities on this walk from Shugborough: If you can get tickets you’ll find plenty of clean toilets on the Shugborough Estate. There are also a couple of really lovely cafes. You could also visit the Canal side cafe when you get to Great Haywood. Once you make it to Milford Common there’s alway an ice cream van in summer, The Barley Mow Pub and my favourite fast food outlet in the area, a good old fashioned Wimpy.

two people walking along a canal path infront of a sweet bridge

Difficulty of the walk: Whilst I wouldn’t categorise this one as difficult it does have a few challenges. The majority is flat, along roads, trails and canal paths. The last little bit does involve a few steep gradients to navigate. If a member of your group might find it a bit challenging, you could always do what we did and leave them safely at Milford Common while you go and get the car. Picking them up before you head home. Piper and Granny were more than happy to enjoy an ice cream while Grandad and I did the hard work!

Parking for Shugborough walks: Park outside of the Estate in one of two car parks to the East of the main entrance to Shugborough. These will be found on the A 513 to your right when coming form the Rugeley direction.

If you’re local to Cannock Chase you might also like this walk from gorgeous new out door cafe, Fallow Forest. Or if you’re short on time you should try this walk from Seven Springs, just down the road from Shugborough.

Make sure you pin for later for planning your Shugborough walks.

shugborough walks pin

Leave a Comment