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The best summer holiday activities at Cannock Chase Forest

With the summer holidays nearly upon us, it's time to plan activities to keep the kids entertained for the next six weeks. Forestry England offers lots of fun, low-cost and engaging activities for families in the West Midlands to enjoy at Cannock Chase Forest.

Enjoy the Gruffalo party trail activities. Photo: Forestry England

From picnics in sun-dappled clearings to bike rides and adventures along the Gruffalo trails, there’s something for everyone. Best of all, many of these activities are budget-friendly or even free, ensuring all families can join in the fun.

Here’s a sneak peek at the exciting activities awaiting families this summer holiday:

Gruffalo’s 25th birthday trail at Cannock Chase Forest - enjoy lots of interactive panels and activities as you journey through the forest with the Gruffalo and other characters. Families can work together to find missing party items while enjoying fun games along the trail and learning how plants and animals care for each other. This trail is a delightful and educational experience for Gruffalo fans of all ages. Cost: £4 per Gruffalo trail pack plus parking charges. Free parking for members.

The Gruffalo Games at Cannock Chase Forest - enjoy some Olympic-sized excitement in the forest this summer and embark on a quest to find hidden Gruffalo character signs and enjoy Olympic-inspired challenges on this fun family trail. Cost: Free, parking charges apply. Free parking for members.

Picnic in the great outdoors - Cannock Chase Forest has the perfect picnic spot in Pingle Slade! Also known as the event space where the popular Forest Live concerts are held, this is a large open area within the pine forest which is ideal for picnics and ball games. It’s just a short walk from the car park and you don’t even have to bring your own picnic because you can buy tasty treats from Grounds Cafe.

For even more fun, download the free Gruffalo Picnic Party Park. This is jam-packed with everything you need to host your own Gruffalo 25th birthday party picnic, from party invites to food ideas and party games! Cost: From free, parking charges apply. Free parking for members.

Go on a family bike ride - Cannock Chase is a great place to explore on your bike. However many parts of The Chase are ecologically sensitive and therefore bikes aren't permitted due to the damage they would cause. But at Cannock Chase Forest we are a hand-planted woodland so the conditions in the part of The Chase we manage are more robust. This means we have been able to design and build bike trails and facilities suitable for all off-road cycling abilities - whether you've just bought your first bike, or you're happy shredding through rock gardens.

For families, highlights include our Pedal & Play trail, Perry’s Trail (which was part of the event route for the 2022 Commonwealth Games) and the Fairoak Trail circular trail popular with both cyclists and walkers as it goes past the magnificent Fairoak Pools.

A wellbeing journal in front of a sign. Photo: Forestry England

And if you don’t already have a bike you can visit the Cannock Chase Cycle Centre when you get here to either hire a bike or buy a bike. And if you already have a bike you can visit the shop for servicing and repairs, or to stock up on accessories. Cost: Free, parking charges apply. Bike hire charges apply. Free parking for members.

Improve your health and wellbeing - holidays can be stressful, so take a serene pause and reconnect with nature on Forestry England's wellbeing trail at Cannock Chase Forest. A forest wellbeing journal is also available to help you get even more benefits from the experience, offering additional mindful things to do while you’re out in the forest and at home. Get your free copy on-site from our visitor centre or download your forest wellbeing journal before you visit.

Families can also try forest bathing with free, downloadable activity sheets from Forestry England. Cost: Free, parking charges may apply. Free parking for members.

Disc golf - this is a great way to spend time in the forest with your friends and family this summer. To play, you take aim and throw frisbee-style discs at fixed targets through the forest. Like golf, the player who completes the course with the fewest throws wins!

The Cannock Chase Forest course is on the Ladyhill Trail and has options for both beginners and those who are more practiced at this sport! Cost: Free to play with your own discs, disc hire available, parking charges may apply. Free parking for members.

Forest play - forests are an immersive, inspiring playground for children and adults alike! And Cannock Chase Forest is renowned locally for its free play facilities. Get the whole family involved as you scramble, slide and swing around one of the nation’s favourite forests this summer.

If you all feel creative and want to test your older children, then set them a challenge in the shelter-building area which is set underneath our towering pine trees.

And if you want to take the playing to the next level – literally up in the trees – book in with Go Ape on their Tree Top Challenge with zip lines, nets, rope ladders and swings at the top of the skyscraping trees at Cannock Chase Forest. Cost: Play areas and shelter building is free, parking charges may apply. Free parking for members. For options and prices for Go Ape visit the Go Ape website.

By Laura Howard - Contributor

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