Can you Wild Camp in Shugborough Estate?
Shugborough Estate is a large Georgian mansion in Staffordshire, England. The estate is situated in the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The majestic stately home is surrounded by picturesque grounds, ornate sculptures, and water features.
The Shugborough Hall was built in the late 17th century, but the estate has been expanded and renovated over the years. There’s been a particular effort made to conserve the wonderful forests and gardens which is good news for hikers!
Due to the natural landscape surrounding Shugborough Estate, many outdoor lovers wish to know if they can wild camp in the surrounding area. The answer is a mixed one, so in this guide we’ll look at all the options for wild camping in and around Shugborough Estate.
Wild Camping in Shugborough Estate
As many frustrated hikers will know, wild camping is a contentious topic in England. Unfortunately, you can’t simply pitch your tent wherever you like, there are rules to be adhered to. Those campers who visit Scotland have unbridled freedom when picking wild camping locations but in England and Wales, one must be more selective.
As a general rule, anyone who wants to pitch a tent for the night should look for a remote location. That means an isolated beach along the Pembrokeshire Coast or a high fell in the Lake District. The bigger the National Park, the easier it is to find a location to pitch in.
Unfortunately, Shugborough Estate is a relatively small nature area in comparison. It is run by the National Trust and much of the surrounding Shugborough Park are the preserved grounds of a stately home. Therefore, it will be difficult to find a private place to pitch a tent without disturbing anyone.
Wild Camping in Cannock Chase AONB
The good news is that Shugborough Estate is located on the Cannock Chase AONB. This is a forested area with 20.6 square miles of land to explore. Amongst the rolling hillocks and old English woodland, campers can find secluded areas to pitch a tent, hang a hammock, or set up a stealthy bivvy in peace and quiet.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that AONBs aren’t as wild as a National Park. They don’t fall under the same legislation and won’t have the same protection. That means you may experience more infrastructure and industry than you would in a National Park.
Essentially, this means that you need to pick your camping spot more carefully if you truly want to be alone when wild camping. Luckily, forests provide great cover for wild camping and there are an estimated 2,700 hectares of trees to keep you out of sight!
Campsites Near Shugborough Estate
If you are determined to camp around Shugborough Estate, there are some official campsites that can give you the next best thing. Granted, this doesn’t provide the same thrill as wild camping but it’s a good solution!
There are two campsites just north of Shugborough Hall. They are a short walk from the Shugborough Estate and have excellent access to the River Sow and River Trent. Great Haywood Canalside Camping is in a sublime location. Set on a grassy pasture next to the canal, it is a peaceful and scenic area to pitch your tent for the night. Grass pitches are £12.
The White Lodge is a more upmarket campsite that is particularly suited to campervans and motorhomes. Located on the other side of the river from Haywood, this campsite has a good range of pre-erected tepees and glamping facilities. A non-electric grass pitch is £15.
Hikes Around Shugborough Estate
Hiking and wild camping go hand in hand. If you’re wanting to camp around Shugborough Estate or pitch a tent somewhere in Cannock Chase, it’s worth exploring the many miles of hiking trails while you’re at it!
A particularly popular route is the Cannock Chase, Shugborough, and Canal Circular. This is an 8km loop which skirts around the Shugborough Estate and dips into the forests of Cannock Chase. The trail follows a maintained walking path. There are a couple of busy road crossings, but the walk mostly follows the canal through the countryside.
For a more challenging path that gets into the heart of the AONB, check out the Sherbrook Valley and Cannock Chase Circular. This is a 14 km loop that ventures into the heart of Cannock Chase. This is a relatively hilly route that embraces the old-growth oak forests and seasoned trees of the AONB. You will need to extend your journey to the north if you wish to dip into Shugborough Estate along the way.
Key Sites Near Shugborough Estate
If you’re visiting the Shugborough Estate, the Georgian mansion is a must-visit location. Your £13 admission gives you access to the whole grounds including the main buildings so it’s worth taking the time to admire them!
If you follow the walking trails around the grounds, you can see many interesting monuments such as Hadrian’s Arch. This Grade I listed structure is built atop a hill where you can find lovely views over the surrounding landscape. Time permitting, check out the ruins of the Gothic pigeon house, the Chinese House, and the Lanthorn.
Head to Shugborough Park Farm to see some local animals in this working farmyard. The Walled Garden is another meticulously maintained area filled with flowers and vegetable patches. There are many hidden gems in Shugborough Park and the best way to find them is to head out to the grounds and explore!
Regrettably, it may not be possible to wild camp in Shugborough Estate, at least not in the traditional sense. The grounds are simply too conserved and maintained to warrant a night of wild camping. Those campers who are absolutely determined for a challenge may find themselves a pitch but it’s going to be tricky.
Fortunately, there are many other options to be explored. From wild camping slightly further afield in the Cannock Chase woodland to staying at a local campsite along the canal. With miles of hiking trails and wonderful grounds to explore, this is an area of the West Midlands you don’t want to miss out on!