There are almost as many bikes as there are tents at Chase Camping, a pop-up campsite spread across some 30 acres of open land behind Four Oaks Farm in Staffordshire. Not that this comes as a surprise. The campsite, open just a handful of weekends a year, is a mere hundred metres from Birches Valley Forest, home to the Midland’s first dedicated mountain bike trail and attracting hundreds of riders all year round. In the heart of the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the campsite is also a hive for the worlds’ less hardy cyclists, with family bikes and tiny tots’ trikes peppering the grassy meadow, too. There’s something for everyone here, whether you bring a bike or not.
The campsite itself is a wonderfully laid-back affair. There’s room for almost 100 tent pitches, though the reality is the place is never totally full, so campers are left with endless space instead. Pets are welcome, campfires are permitted (with firepits available to rent and logs for sale) and a live-and-let-live atmosphere pervades, while those without their own camping clobber can hire it all instead, with fully furnished bell tents available to book.
Just across the road, the Birches Valley Forest Visitor Centre is a handy starting place for getting your bearings. As well as the mountain bike trails, the forest is home to a GoApe activity centre with treetop walks and ziplines, as well as a Gruffalo nature trail for children. It also houses a decent little café and fistfuls of brochures about other good things to do in the local area. Take a browse and plan your stay – perhaps you’ll follow local footpaths to the local pub (a warm old establishment with cask ales, a vast gin list and a Little Trekkers menu) or take a tour of the National Trust’s nearest and grandest Staffordshire property Shugborough Hall. Whatever you choose, there’s more than enough to do to fill a weekend and then some. And, since Chase Camping isn’t open during the week, to do it all you’ll just have to come back more than once!
The campsite owner says
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