Why not come and stay for the weekend and visit Staffordshire? Camping is included on all ticket types with weekend tickets valid from Thursday – Monday. which gives you the opportunity to explore Staffordshire as well as attend an amazing festival
Stafford and surrounding area
Historically Stafford Town is thought to be founded in about 700 AD by a Mercian prince called Bertelin with Stafford Castle originally built in 1090 overlooking the town. Richard II was paraded through the town’s streets as a prisoner in 1399, by troops loyal to Henry Bolingbroke (the future Henry IV).When James I visited Stafford, he was said to be so impressed by the town’s Shire Hall and other buildings that he called it ‘Little London’. Charles I visited Stafford shortly after the out-break of the English Civil War. He stayed for three days at the Ancient High House the largest timber framed Tudor house in the UK
St Chad’s Church dating back into the 12th century. The main part of the church is richly decorated. Carvings in the church’s archways and pillars may have been made by a group of stonemasons from the Middle East who came to England during the Crusades.
The Shire Hall Gallery was built in 1798 as a court house and office of the Mayor and Clerk of Stafford. It houses the Art Gallery, which shows changing exhibitions. It also contains a café and previously the town’s library until its recent move to Staffordshire Place. The Shire Hall used to be the town’s court house, and is a Grade II listed building. It still retains two courtrooms. One of them is open to the general public and has a permanent exhibition showing the history of the building and details of some high-profile cases that were heard there. An old ‘holding cell’ is also open to public viewing. (Not open at this moment in time)
The Shugborough Hall country estate is 4 miles (6.4 km) outside town. It previously belonged to the Earls of Lichfield, and is now owned by the National Trust and maintained by the leaseholder, Staffordshire County Council. The 19th century Sandon Hall is 5 miles (8.0 km) northeast of Stafford. It is set in 400 acres (1.6 km2) of parkland, and is the seat of the Earl of Harrowby. Weston Hall stands 5 miles (8.0 km) east of Stafford, in the Trent valley, with a large park and it was once part of the Chartley estate. It is believed that the main part of the hall was built around 1550
Victoria Park, opened in 1908, is a 13 acre Edwardian riverside park with a play park, bowling green, bird cages and greenhouses
Other places of interest in the area include; Wedgwood, The Black Country Living Museum, Cannock Chase , The Monkey Forest, Gladstone Pottery Museum, Izzak Walton Cottage, German Military Cemetery, The National Memorial Arboretum Alrewas near Lichfield, Drayton Manor Park, West Midlands Safari Park, Alton Towers
Lichfield Cathedral is close by with Warwick Castle and Stratford upon Avon an hour’s drive away
Little Haywood is cited in the Domesday Book of 1086. Although originally a small village its name is derived from the Old English “haeg wadu,” meaning an enclosure in woodland.It lies beside a main arterial highway, the A51 (linking the Midlands with Liverpool
Saint Mary’s Abbey
The most prominent building in Little Haywood is Saint Mary’s Abbey, Colwich. This Roman Catholic abbey is home to a community of enclosed Benedictine nuns and although part of the neighbouring Colwich parish, the abbey and its grounds lie alongside the road that runs through Little Haywood.
The Abbey Church of Saint Mary used to cover a large amount of Little Haywood and it has been said that there are tunnels leading from the abbey to Lichfield Cathedral, 10 miles (16 km) away, and to Shugborough Hall, a little over 1 mile (1.6 km) away in the opposite direction. Within the village, on land owned by Shugborough Hall, there is evidence of small-scale stone quarrying in the area known to locals as “the cliffs”.
Pubs and shops
The village and its outlying neighbours have an active parish community; the parish council organises events such as village fetes and on a day-to-day basis the social life of the village revolves around its public houses: the ‘Red Lion’ and the ‘Lamb and Flag’ There is no church in Little Haywood, no village green and no school. There are, however, the two pubs and a general store. The nearby village of Colwich is less than 1 mile (1.6 km) away and has a church and a primary school but no pub or general store, and so amenities are often shared.
J. R. R. Tolkien
The village was home to the newly married Edith Tolkien, wife of author J. R. R. Tolkien, from March 1916 to February 1917. Tolkien stayed with his wife in Cottage 1, Gipsy Green, on the Teddesley Park Estate, near the village during the winter of 1916, whilst recuperating from trench fever. The surrounding landscape was said to be an inspiration for his early literary works about Middle-earth.. At the cottage he began work on what would become The Silmarillion. The village of Norbury lies about 14 miles (23 km) away and may relate to the “Norbury of the Kings” that appears in The Lord of the Rings.
Great Haywood on the River Trent, where the Trent is met by its tributary, the River Sow. The village is also the site of a significant junction of the English inland canal network, Haywood Junction, where the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal meets the Trent and Mersey Canal. The waters around the village are widely regarded by guidebooks as some of the most attractive on the network.
St. Stephen’s Church was designed by Thomas Trubshaw, and became the centre of a parish in 1854. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th Earl of Lichfield and other members of the Anson family of Shugborough Hall are buried in the churchyard of St Stephen’s.
St. John the Baptist’s Catholic church was originally built in Tixall, about three miles (5 km) away, as a private chapel to Tixall Hall, which was owned by the Aston family. When the estate was sold to Earl Talbot, the church was dismantled and rebuilt with a few alterations in Great Haywood. The marks made on the blocks to allow reassembly can still be seen inside the church.
There was originally a mill and a brewery in the village, but both have been closed down and demolished, commemorated by the names of the roads where they once stood (Mill Lane and Brewery Lane). Following a fatal automobile accident in 1905, the mill pond was drained and the road straightened.
Samuel Peploe Wood (1827–1873) was an English sculptor and painter who was born in the village. He undertook work on many Staffordshire buildings, including the reredos at All Angels’ Church, Colwich; corbels and bosses at St. Stephen’s Church, Great Haywood and an oak lectern for Stowe by Lichfield.
The Stone to Colwich railway line passes through Great Haywood, and the village was served by a railway station which was opened by the North Staffordshire Railway on 6 June 1887 and closed in 1957. The Great Haywood bypass opened 24 April 1964.
In August 2002 advertisements were placed in the national press for a “hermit” to take up residence on the Great Haywood Cliffs above the nearby Shugborough estate, ancestral home of Lord Lichfield. Fifty-five people applied, and Ansuman Biswas was chosen as hermit. Shugborough also serves as the headquarters of Staffordshire’s arts management team.
Great Haywood is the site of Essex Bridge, one of the largest surviving packhorse bridges in the country which stands over the River Trent near Shugborough Hall. It borders Cannock Chase, designated an area of outstanding natural beauty since 1958.
Shugborough Hall (mentioned above)
Shugborough Hall was the ancestral home of the Ansons, earls of Lichfield, four miles (6 km) NW by W of Rugeley. The estate was purchased by William Anson in the early 17th century and is now in the care of the National Trust.
St Michael and All Angels serves as the parish church of Colwich and belongs to the Diocese of Lichfield. It is a grade II* listed building and the centre of the old parish of Colwich, which was reduced in size twice when the parish of Hixon was established in 1848 and again when the parish of Great Haywood was formed in 1854. The exact date when the church was first built is unknown, but from the style of the architecture it may have been sometime in the late 14th century. A major renovation was carried out by the Victorians between 1852 and 1857. The church has a fine set of choir stalls and a reredos of angels by local sculptor Samuel Peploe Wood.
Inside the church are many tombs, wall tablets and other memorials connected with the landed gentry in the parish, including the Wolseley Baronets and the Ansons of Shugborough Hall, earls of Lichfield, many of whom are buried in the church. A tablet commemorates Field Marshal Garnet Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley, KP, GCB, OM, GCMG, VD, PC (1833–1913), buried in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral, London. The Anson family vault is located underneath the organ loft, formerly the private gallery of the owners of Shugborough Hall. It is accessed through an upright door that is normally concealed behind the panelling of the choir stalls, and neither visible nor accessible to the public. The vault itself is a small, almost square room. Inside there are three niches for coffins opposite the access door, and twelve openings for coffins in each side wall. 15 bodies are currently interred here, including the 1st Earl of Lichfield, Admiral Lord Anson, and his wife. After 1854, when the parish of Great Haywood was formed, the Earls of Lichfield and other Ansons of Shugborough Hall were buried there at St Stephen’s Church until the 5th Earl decided to return to the vault at St Michael and All Angels and whose lead-lined coffin was placed there after his death in 2005. In the churchyard is the grave of Adelbert Anson, first Bishop of Qu’Appelle, and also a large and elaborate memorial cross carved in 1866 by Samuel Peploe Wood to his brother, painter Thomas Peploe Wood and other members of his family.
The village is noted for Saint Mary’s Abbey, a community of Roman Catholic nuns of the English Benedictine Congregation founded in 1623 at Cambrai in the Spanish Netherlands. In 1836 the community, having been expelled from France during the French Revolution, finally settled at The Mount, Colwich, where they established the present house, raised to the rank of an abbey in 1928.
The Wolseley Centre, south-east of the village, is the headquarters of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. There is a visitor centre, and a nature reserve of 26 acres (11 ha). The site of the nature reserve was formerly the grounds of Wolseley Hall, demolished in 1966. The estate was the home of the Wolseley family from the 11th century.
Penkridge is a market town and civil parish in Staffordshire, it has a history since the 17th century as an industrial and commercial centre for neighbouring villages and the agricultural produce of Cannock Chase, strengthening its interpretation as a small town.
The wealthiest establishment in Penkridge in the Middle Ages was that of its collegiate church, the church building of which survived the abolition of the chantries and is the tallest structure in the town centre. The parish is crossed towards its eastern border by the M6 motorway and a separate junction north of the M6 toll between the West Midlands and Stoke-on-Trent. Penkridge has a minor stop on the West Coast Main Line railway next to the Grade I listed medieval church. Penkridge Viaduct and the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal are to either side of Market Street and the Old Market Square and are among its landmarks.
Early human occupation of the area around Penkridge has been confirmed by the presence of a Bronze or Iron Age barrow at nearby Rowley Hill. A significant settlement in this vicinity has existed since pre-Roman times, with its original location being at the intersection of the River Penk and what became the Roman military road known as Watling Street (today’s A5 trunk road). This would place it between Water Eaton and Gailey. The Roman settlement of Pennocrucium and earlier settlements were in the Penkridge area, but not on the same site as present town of Penkridge.
The town of Penkridge dates back at least to the early Middle Ages, when the area was part of Mercia, although the foundation date is unknown. King Edgar in 958, described it as a “famous place” so it was already of importance by then. In the Tudor period, it was claimed that the founder of the collegiate church of St. Michael at Penkridge was King Eadred (946-55), King Edgar’s uncle
Large areas surrounding Penkridge were placed by the Norman kings under Forest Law, a savage penal code designed to protect the ecology and wildlife for the king’s enjoyment. These areas were part of the Royal Forest of Cank or Cannock Chase and were known as Gailey Hay and Teddesley Hay. Forest law kept most of south Staffordshire in an economic straitjacket. Conflicts between the barons and kings in the 13th century forced a relaxation, starting with the first issue of the Forest Charter in 1217. So it was in Henry III’s reign that Penkridge began to grow economically and probably in population. Local people began to create new fields, called assarts, by clearing the trees and scrub (still a capital crime), and Penkridge acquired an annual fair and weekly market.
Penkridge’s local market has been revived and is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The substantial tower of the Grade I listed Church of St. Michael and All Angels on the western edge of town, parts of which date back to the early thirteenth century, is visible even to passing road and rail travellers. A smaller Methodist church is on the largest road (the A449) route through the town, and there are three short streets of buildings dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, from the railway station eastward. Penkridge has its own historic stocks and cells remain in the town centre.
Cannock Chase is located between Cannock, Lichfield, Rugeley and Stafford. It comprises a mixture of natural deciduous woodland, coniferous plantations, open heath land and the remains of early industry, such as coal mining. Cannock Chase was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1958 and is the smallest area so designated in mainland Britain, covering 68 km2 (26 sq miles)
Despite being relatively small in area, the chase provides a remarkable range of landscape and wildlife, including a herd of around 800 fallow deer and a number of rare and endangered birds, not least migrant nightjars. A feeding station at the Marquis Drive Visitors’ Centre, sponsored by the West Midland Bird Club, attracts many species, including brambling, yellowhammer and bullfinch
There are also accessible trails to enable people to experience the health benefits of Cannock Chase, there are many unmarked public paths, cross mountain biking is also popular
On the Chase’s north-eastern edge can be found Shugbrough Hall, ancestral home of the Earls of Lichfield. At its southern edge are the remains of Castle Ring, an Iron Age hill fort, which is the highest point on the Chase. Several glacial erratic boulders are also found on the Chase, remnants of glaciation. One is mounted on a plinth.
The Chase has several war memorials, including German and Commonwealth war cemeteries.
Free camping on site with all tickets, basic camp site, no electric hook ups .So bring along a tent. camper van or caravan
Dogs welcome but must be kept on a lead at all times
© 2013 Vibration. All Rights Reserved.