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Introducing Staffordshire

Staffordshire, in the words of Stoke-born novelist Arnold Bennett, has long been ‘unsung by searchers after the extreme’ – but if you took that to mean ‘boring’ you’d be mistaken. Though it’s tucked between the urban sprawls of Birmingham and Manchester, the county has a surprising abundance of natural beauty, from rolling Cannock Chase, a magnet for walkers and cyclists, to the prickly spine of the Peak District known as the Roaches. The haunting Gothic might of Lichfield’s wonderful cathedral, the wild rides at Alton Towers, and the neoclassical mansion of Shugborough are among the county’s other charms.