Hanchurch Woods, all you need to know

Written by Shayle

Here’s all you need to know about Hanchurch Woods, a peaceful woodland area to explore.

Hanchurch Woods, located near Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, is a gorgeous woodland area. It offers a variety of walking trails, a designated picnic area, and plenty of wildlife. If you are looking to explore Hanchurch Woods, here’s all you need to know.

Hanchurch, a little bit of history

Hanchurch is a village on a ridge behind Trentham Gardens and Park. The Domesday Book notes it as Hancese, with “cese” representing the Anglo-Saxon term for church. The term “Han” could signify high ground or potentially derive from the Welsh word “hen,” meaning old.

The church was located on the grounds of Hanchurch Yews, with a local legend suggesting that it was transported down the hill by four white swans. It is thought that the church was originally dedicated to All Saints. The two churches were merged during the 12th-century restoration of the church at Trentham, preserving the old dedication in St Mary and All Saints. There is a chapel, converted from a barn, on the opposite side of the lane. The stained glass east window is dedicated to E J Edwards, dating back to 1884.

The village is situated on the former coach road from Derby through Trentham to Chester. A conservation order restricting further building is now in place on the ridge. Several buildings, such as Village Farm and its outbuildings, are listed as Grade II.

© Copyright Jonathan Hutchins and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Hanchurch Woods walks

Green Walk – 3.5 miles: Takes approx. 1 hour 30 minutes

This walk covers wooded and pastoral landscapes, with the village of Hanchurch as its main focal point. The route also offers a change of scenery with the Hanchurch Pools, where marsh marigolds and watercress can be found.

The terrain mainly consists of level walking, with a brief steep ascent on the return from Underhills Farm, passing through Hanchurch Hills Woods and back to the Picnic Site.

If you’re fortunate, you may glimpse fallow deer in the woods. Additionally, views to the north provide glimpses of the Potteries and beyond towards the Peak District.

Red Walk – 2 miles: Takes approx. 45 minutes

The 2-mile Red Walk ascends the high ground of Harley Thorns woodland, offering panoramic views of the Wrekin in Shropshire and Cannock Chase.

Blue walk – 7 miles: Takes approx. 2 hours 15 Minutes

The Blue Walk, a 7-mile route, leads to the hamlet of Beech, with an optional detour to explore the local caves. This lovely woodland and countryside loop offers a mix of sights, including historic spots and villages along the way. The trees are very pretty throughout the year (though especially in autumn) and offer shade and protection from the elements. It is an ideal route for a mountain bike ride or a run on a dry day. You may have the whole route to enjoy for yourself on a weekday.

Mountain biking at Hanchurch Woods

Hanchurch Woods features approximately 6 miles of mountain bike singletrack and numerous other tracks worth exploring. The area boasts excellent sections offering plenty of long climbs and descents. Additionally, Hanchurch Woods is a popular venue for the Midlands XC Series.

Please note that it gets very wet and muddy in winter and churned up by horses, so pick your trails and lines with that in mind. Summer riding is excellent, although some trails get overgrown toward the end of August/early September, so again, you need to pick the suitable trails on the day.

Hanchurch Woods wildlife

If you love getting out and spotting wildlife, you will be delighted by the abundance of wildlife that calls Hanchurch Woods home. The woods are home to various flora and fauna, including rare and protected species that thrive in this unspoiled natural habitat.

Birdwatchers will be particularly rewarded, as the woods are a haven for diverse bird species, making it an ideal destination for birdwatching enthusiasts and photographers too. As you explore, keep your eyes peeled for glimpses of deer, foxes, and other woodland creatures.

Simon Huguet / Commemorative stone, Hanchurch Woods.

Visit in every season

We love to visit Hanchurch Woods every season. In the spring, the woods burst into life with a riot of wildflowers and blossoming trees, creating a tapestry of colour and scent.

Summer brings long, sun-dappled days perfect for picnicking and lazy afternoons spent lounging beneath the leafy canopy.

As autumn arrives, the woods are transformed into a spectacle of fiery hues as the leaves turn to gold, red, and orange, providing a stunning backdrop for strolls and nature walks with hot chocolate.

And in winter, the woods take on an ethereal beauty, with frost-kissed branches and a hushed stillness that invites quiet contemplation and reflection.

Is Hanchurch Woods dog-friendly?

Hanchurch is very dog-friendly. However, we see a lot of dogs off their leads here, so please take that into consideration. There are bins in the car park.

Parking and practical information for Hanchurch Woods

There are a few practicalities to remember for those planning a visit to Hanchurch Woods. The woods are easily accessible by car, with ample parking for visitors.

Additionally, there are designated picnic areas and rest spots where you can take a break. Be sure to wear appropriate footwear and clothing, especially if you plan to explore the trails, and consider bringing along a pair of binoculars for birdwatching or a camera to capture the beauty of the woods.

Click here for parking.

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Hanchurch Woods is a lovely, free place to escape for a while and walk, cycle, run, or simply enjoy some fresh air. We hope this article has helped you plan your visit. Please let us know what you think in the comments.

Header image credit: © Copyright Jonathan Hutchins and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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