War and Peace - West Midlands day walk
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Come along for this circular walk through the history-rich forest and heathland of Cannock Chase.
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty located just 20 miles from Birmingham city centre, Cannock Chase is a mix of ancient woodland, managed pine forest, heathland and open parkland. Away from the popular country park area there are many quiet forest rides that belie the area's varied past, first as a royal hunting ground and later for charcoal burning and coal mining on an industrial scale. More recently it played a significant military role, especially in the two World Wars with training camps, an RAF practice bombing range and a POW camp.
Having left Hednesford behind we will walk up to the strangely fascinating German military cemetery. The remains of nearly 5000 soldiers including Zeppelin aircrews rest here in this peaceful setting. Alongside the nearby Commonwealth cemetery it is a thought-provoking place, especially in the lead up to Remembrance Day. Our walk then continues a few miles farther through the forest to where, after a lunch stop, there'll also be the chance to visit a reconstructed WWI hut.
We'll then follow a hillier route to return to our start point via the heathland of the Hednesford Hills and some liquid refreshment.
What to bring
You'll need boots and a waterproof jacket for this one, as usual. Dress warmly! For more information see below:
Water: bring at least two litres
Medicines: if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments etc.
Day rucksack: typically 20-30 litres, they are comfortable to wear and allow you to use your arms freely
Boots: waterproof and breathable and designed for hiking, trainers are OK if the ground is dry and there’s little chance of rain
Gaiters: recommended for wet weather or boggy conditions
Socks: proper walking socks will keep your feet dry and help prevent blisters
Layered clothing: lets you quickly adapt to changes in the weather and body temperature. Go for a base layer (vest or t-shirt) and a mid layer (a micro fleece or shirt) and in cooler weather add an outer layer (a windproof jacket or thick fleece)
Trousers: ideally no jeans as they become heavy and cold in the rain, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry and on warm days shorts are OK
Waterproof jacket: essential when hiking in all but the calmest of weather, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry
Gloves: Windproof, or better still, waterproof gloves are the best choice, bring a spare pair if expecting rain
Hat or cap: stay warm in winter and shaded in summer
Sunglasses: for any sunny day, even in winter
Sun cream: can be useful even on cloudy and winter days
Snacks: bring biscuits, energy bars, gels, bananas, chocolate or dried fruit for example and put them somewhere easy to get hold of
Lunch: bring a packed lunch unless otherwise stated
Food & drink
Please bring a packed lunch and plenty to drink to keep you going through the day. There'll be refreshments at the end of the walk (either a pub or a cuppa). If you forget anything there's a Co-op next to our meeting place.