Former model opens Cannock Chase Trekking Centre
A former model who swapped the catwalk for a career working with horses has just opened a unique welcome centre which she hopes will bring visitors flocking to Cannock Chase.
Lisa Gregory, owner of Cannock Chase Trekking Centre near Penkridge, has unveiled the ranch-style building which is open to the public as well as riders.
The floor-to-ceiling glass windows afford panoramic views of the Chase as well as the corral, new covered riding arena and stables.
Inspired by the lodges she has visited in Norway, she describes the welcome centre as 'après-ski style' but for equestrians. It is the result of half a million pounds investment and has been eight years in the making.
Miss Gregory's original trekking centre was set up in 1995 using her earnings as a model.
It now attracts around 17,000 visitors a year from all over the country, keen to enjoy the landscape of Staffordshire's best-known beauty spot.
"My dream has always been to take the centre to the next level," said Miss Gregory, 45.
"Now that ambition has come true and it is very exciting.
"This has been years in the planning and I can hardly believe that I am there.
"The welcome centre is absolutely stunning. I always had a vision of what it would look like, but the real thing exceeds that vision.
"It has a coffee shop area with floor-to-ceiling glass offering panoramic views out to the Chase.
"The lovely outdoor seating area mirrors those views and our visitors will also be able to see the horses coming and going on the treks."
Miss Gregory, who has a teenage daughter Georgia, grew up with horses and was riding almost as soon as she was walking. At 14 she was scouted for modelling but the dream of setting up a riding school never left her.
"I always said I would come back home and start my own trekking centre.
"I loved modelling and it was an exciting life but I'm a country girl at heart."
Read the full story in the Wolverhampton Magazine which is out now.