A Taste of Après-Horse at Cannock Chase Trekking Centre
When I gave up modelling for a career with horses, I dreamed of establishing an equestrian centre that would bring visitors flocking to my beloved Cannock Chase, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Since establishing Cannock Chase Trekking Centre, we receive around 17,000 visitors per year, all enjoying the beauty of the Staffordshire countryside on horseback.
Now, 21 years later, I have taken my dream to the next level with the opening of a unique architect-designed cedar lodge offering a touch of ‘après horse’ for all visitors to the Centre.
The lodge, which includes a ranch-style bistro and coffee shop with seating for 70 and meeting / conference room facilities, is part of the first phase of a major redevelopment of the horse trekking centre.
It was always my vision to make horse riding accessible and enjoyable for all and to provide a unique experience, and now that ambition is coming true and it’s very exciting. This has been years in planning and I can hardly believe that I am there!
The visitor centre is absolutely stunning. I always had a clear picture of what I wanted it to look like, but the real thing exceeds that vision. As far as I know there is nowhere like it in the country. Maybe I’m biased but it really has the wow factor and this has been confirmed by the feedback from the many visitors already enjoying it.
It has a beautiful coffee shop area with floor-to-ceiling glass offering panoramic views out to the Chase. The lovely outdoor seating area mirrors those views and our visitors are able to see the horses coming and going on the treks. We have installed a log burner so it is all cosy on cold winter days.
I have incorporated into the design a conference area and that is already attracting a lot of interest from organisations looking to use it for sales conferences and corporate team building events. We are also looking to offer a unique twist on fitness with exercise classes on horseback.
The ability to offer a variety of coffees sourced locally and provide a tasty and interesting menu means that visitors have a really pleasant experience. And, of course, all our riders have been really looking forward to ending their treks with a hot coffee and a piece of delicious home-made cake!
A huge indoor arena has also been built to facilitate – for the first time since the trekking centre was established in 1995 – riding lessons for all ages and abilities and a BHS registered instructor is already at work and proving very popular.
Phase two of the development will include an American-style barn with stabling for 46 horses complete with laundry facilities.
Of course, the core of the trekking centre will always be our rides across Cannock Chase, but this development means that we can offer a whole new experience to our visitors and enjoy a shared passion for horses.