Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Cannock Chase: Birches Valley

I've written about Cannock Chase before but this review is for another location.  And to be honest I found Birches Valley a better family destination than the Marquis Drive visitors centre.  Maintained by the Forestry Commission it is the place to go for mountain bike paths and Go Ape and if you are accompanied by under 5s it provides plenty of scope for a family outing.

The playground in the forest is vast with a range of swings, climbing frames and walls, cargo nets and slides. The paths are good for small cyclists, and my small son was surprisingly interested in the fairy grotto. When we were there there was a Gruffalo trail which we didn't follow but looked like fun.  There are lots of good picnic sites if you want to bring your own.

The cafe is also a lot better than the one on Marquis Drive.  We went in the school Easter holiday so the cafe was busy and I queued for a while but the service was still good. We enjoyed coffee and apricot muffins, which were delicious, but we could have had freshly made baguettes, soup or jacket potatoes. There is also an ice cream kiosk which was doing a great trade.

 Overall on a fine day this is a lovely spot for family play and exploration.

Round up
Cafe latte price: £2.70 for a large one
Favourite cake: super fruity apricot muffins £1.60
Child friendly highlights: Great playground, lots of biking paths, gruffalo trail, fairy grotto, baby changing
Buggy friendly: Yes in parts, but it would need to be a sturdy one to cope with forest paths

Car parking: £3 all day
Birches Valley is a great outdoor playing spot in a beautiful location and makes for a good value family destination.

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