This comes from Silverwolf.
Castle Ring is an Iron Age hill fort, situated high up on the southern edge of Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, near Cannock Wood. You can locate it on the map below at the South East corner of the Chase, as a pale green circle next to the Guide/Scout camp, just above the marker for Cannock Wood. It once lead onto the site where Beaudesert Hall once stood. Beaudesert Hall was the ancestral home of the Earl of Anglesey, who previously owned the surrounding area, until it was burned to the ground during the late Earls lifetime. Now it sidles up to Beaudesert Scout and Guide camp which is far enough away from the ring to not affect your enjoyment of it, but close enough to hear some of the evenings sing-a-longs!
Castle Ring was thought to have been occupied around AD 50, by the Celtic Cornovii tribe. Apart from the perimeter earthworks, little remains visible. However, there is also evidence of farming having taken place at some point, since parts of the ground within in the ring have been ploughed. This was probably done during the Medieval period, when a hunting lodge was also built on the North West side. You can see the remains of the ploughing (groups of parallel lines at right angles to each other) on the South East of the enclosure, and the rectangular remains of the hunting lodge at the North West on the picture taken in 1931:
The ring is the remains of an Iron Age Hill Fort consisting of a central reservation, three Ramparts and deep ditches between which, when the innermost and highest rampart was adorned with a strong wooden palisade, served to protect those who lived within its walls quite admirably. In the days before the woods of Cannock Chase Forest enclosed the site, it was believed that people could see into four different counties from its vantage point as one of the highest points in the West Midlands. Settlers came to this site for two main reasons. One was that it was a secure place against invasions and the other was the abundant supplies of flint that the area offered.
The above picture shows the path leading round the site. The right of the picture is the interior of the ring.
Over the years, Castle Ring has seen its fair share of alleged paranormal activity. Eye witnesses have reported to a local research group PASSA (Paranormal Awakening Scientific Study Association) the sighting of black figures moving around in the centre of the ring, white figures doing the same (both in daylight as well as at night), noises of hammering, chanting and singing (although this could be one of the many pagan groups who use this site for rituals, myself included), Yeti or Bigfoot type creatures in the surrounding areas, Wolves, Black Panthers, U.F.Os, Aliens, Earth Lights………. In fact, there is so much alleged activity at the ring and other places of interest on Cannock Chase, that the local free papers have started their own Cannock Chase X-Files! However, over a period of seven years encompassing twenty odd investigations (that’s a lot of nights sitting in the middle of the ring in all weathers and walking around the ramparts in pitch black carrying audio and video equipment), PASSA. have been able to explain most of the phenomenon reported.
Also, it is believed that the dead from the fort were carried out and buried at a nearby site, which is now where the village church stands in Gentleshaw! How true this is, I do not know, but it makes for a good ghost story, along with other ghostly tales of Cannock Wood and Gentleshaw (both villages are actually one but keep two separate names with the villagers being very protective over their half). However, some research has cast a doubt on the claims of where the pagan burial site was, as some experts believe the dead would have been buried just outside of the fort in burial mounds. There are a few large mounds there as well. Other area ghostly tales include the ‘Children of the Old Mill’ and the ‘Sad Nun of Nunswell’.
There are no facilities at Castle Ring with the exception of a car park, which is locked up at night! However, there is a reasonably good pub opposite the car park entrance which provides decent food if you need it, so travelling to Castle Ring isn’t so bad. If you want to visit (and I hope you do) the address in brief is Castle Ring Ancient Monument, Cannock Wood, Rugeley, Staffs. The area code is WS15. Once you near the village, it is well sign-posted and well worth a visit as the energy is electric.
Other areas of interest on Cannock Chase are the Commonwealth War Graves, The German Cemetery, The old WW1 and WW2 training sites and a prisoner of war site. All have the odd ghostly tale attached to them and are worth a visit. You could even go the Forestry Commissions Visitor Centre and another visitor centre where you can hire mountain bikes and eat should you want to. There are many beautiful walks near to Castle Ring boasting some of the most lovely forests, lakes and wildlife in abundance. For those who would like to know more about the Chase History and it’s mining community, there is also a small museum in Hednesford (about three miles from Castle Ring.)
So there you have it……….. Castle Ring and the surrounding areas in a nutshell! We hope you enjoy your visit, when you go 🙂