Once a quiet Staffordshire market town, Cannock has undergone many recent changes. An attractive pedestrianised centre with extensive new shopping facilities mixes the traditional and the modern. The town boasts one of the Midlands' top leisure centres and a popular theatre - the Prince of Wales Centre.
A shopping magnet for many outlying small communities such as Cheslyn Hay, Great Wyrley and Huntington, Cannock has a popular and bustling market.
With the view to the north dominated by the cooling towers of the massive Rugeley B power station, Brereton has long been a centre of industry within its rural surroundings. The parish church of St Michael dates from 1837 and was extended in the 1870s under the direction of the famous architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.
Between Cannock and Hednesford lies Chadsmoor, a small, traditional shopping centre which has seen a transformation in recent years with SRB funding.
Changes within Cannock Chase can be seen clearly in Heath Hayes. Alongside a village that retains the spirit of its mining heritage, new growth in housing and amenities contributes to the life of a thriving and modern local centre. The community has always been well provided with amenities, including the famous Recreation Ground, the gates to which stand as a memorial to wartime casualties. Hawks Green, the largest residential development in southern Staffordshire, continues to take shape, with associated community facilities.
At the height of the coalfields' importance, Hednesford was the centre of the industry, a whole new town emerging. The town today enjoys a compact local shopping centre close to the open countryside of Cannock Chase and recently attractively refurbished to offer a comfortable and convenient environment. Hednesford retains its friendly and tight-knit community spirit. Close by is the Museum of Cannock Chase, at the Valley Heritage Centre.
Prior to the turn of the century, Norton Canes was a small rural village centred around St James' church. With the advent of coal mining, the village became reliant on a number of local collieries. Close to the edge of Chasewater as well as the A5 Watling Street, Norton Canes combines the community feel of a village, with vibrant local industry benefiting from good transport links.
Rugeley has been a busy market town since the 13th century and was thriving even before it was reached by the Trent & Mersey Canal in the 1770s. Coal mining came to dominate with the modern Lea Hall colliery, before its closure in 1991. The reclamation of its site promises a return of economic prosperity. An attractive traffic-free town centre is enjoying extensive renovation and the existing high quality leisure facilities are being added to.