Road through Cannock Chase reopens after three-month closure
A traffic-clogged road through Cannock Chase has reopened today after a being shut for six weeks due to the threat of fire.
Chase Road and its car parks were closed on May 30 by Staffordshire County Council after numbers heading to the site soared when lockdown restrictions were eased.
The county council said the decision was taken to protect the Chase after two grassland fires broke out at the spot when people lit barbecues.
Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member responsible for Cannock Chase, said: “The ground has been so dry – even after heavy rainfall – that we have been concerned that a disposable barbecue or carelessly discarded match or cigarette could cause great damage.
“The risk has been reduced – but still remains – and we would urge visitors to take great care.”
With country parks one of the few places open as lockdown was eased amid May’s hot weather, it was estimated that Cannock Chase saw its highest visitor numbers for 20 years as thousands flocked there.
However there were incidents of littering, anti-social behaviour and several fires, including one near the Seven Springs car park which destroyed 22 acres of the country park.
Visitors are asked to help care for the Chase by not using barbecues or lighting fires, parking carefully to avoid blocking roads – make sure fire vehicles can always get through if they need to, staying on the paths to protect wildlife habitats, taking litter home and following guidelines in relation to coronavirus.
Councillor Winnington added: “There will be patrols by the police, fire service and county council rangers to monitor the situation and should the situation change, and the level of risk increase again, we will close the road temporarily once more.”