This walk is fantastic in the Autumn!
4 miles - 90 – 120 mins
Turn right out of Canalside Farm gate, cross over the road and then the bridge. Turn down left to join the canal towpath (Trent and Mersey Canal). Go right on the towpath and then over the beautiful historic Junction Bridge (1770) that crosses the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. Turn back and under the bridge to join the towpath of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal.
Cross the bridge over the River Trent and continue on the towpath for around 1 ½ miles, passing under one bridge connecting farmland. Cross Tixall Wide (where a local landowner required the canal to be widened to look more natural in its form!), past a lock, and after 200 yards you will come to a road bridge over the canal.
Turn up the steps at the far side of this bridge to join the road. Go straight, over an old river bridge, then over a railway bridge to arrive at Milford Common (a favourite access point onto Cannock Chase). Ignoring the small road off to the right which forms one side of a triangle, continue to a t-junction with the main road (Stafford/Rugeley). Turn left through main Shugborough entrance gates (pedestrian gate is normally open when the main gate is shut to cars) and walk back up a beautiful wooded drive to emerge ½ mile later into open fields of the Shugborough Estate.
Follow drive to the main car park, go through the car park and head left down past Shugborough Farm (open to the public). Continue past the left drive option to the main House (c.1693, open to the public), and head towards the wooded area 200 yards in front. Here cross the historic Essex Bridge c.1550 (it looks like 3 rivers meet here, but it’s actually only two – the Trent and the Sow, the third is a detour of the Sow brought close to the House for effect!). Walk 20 yards and then turn right through a wall to join the canal towpath. Turn left under footbridge, past lock and back to Junction Bridge, rejoining the road to our Farm gate.