I thought that as we are in summer holiday mode proper I would do some reviews of Staffordshire destinations for the family. There is nothing like first hand advice and tips when planning a day out in Staffordshire and it is useful to have the very latest information about any seasonal changes etc.
First of all we chose a gorgeous summer day - beautiful sunshine, cool breeze and not too hot. Driving over the moors you could see for miles over green & yellow fields in a warm haze. It has been a while since I have visited the reservoir, which has always been a favourite for the family as it has that great mix of play area, cafe and lovely walking to suit everyone. The first thing I noticed as we approached the entrance were the traffic cones lining the road before the gate. Odd? The second thing I noticed was that the car parks weren't as busy as I would have imagined for the time of year and the weather. Once parked & man handling an over excited dog, I got a car park ticket...mystery solved...£4.70 (all day, but 2 hrs is £2.00)!! That is a massive increase to last time and clearly an issue to many who were trying to park in the lanes around the entrance. Now I know there is no other entrance charge and you can stay all day for that price but none the less a huge change.
We had afore mentioned dog so weren't able to set up picnic inside the play area itself, which has several table and areas to plonk a blanket. However we had a fab area just outside the fence - we tethered dog, plonked blankets and happily waved off kids which we could see clearly. The play area is great - good fencing and heavy gates that a toddler sized Houdini wouldn't manage. There are also different areas so that toddler up to teens can find something to do. TIP: take spare shoes & buckets & spades for the large sand pit. The loos are new & clean with good baby changing facilities with great accessibility.
We had a great time over picnic and the kids were happy to play and pop by for fuel stops. We had an age range of 6 to 17yrs and all were happy either in the play area or taking dog round the lake for a walk sans adults. There was a lovely area just behind us which proved a good spot for cricket (I got 2 sixes & a four ;)). There is a small covered picnic area just away from the play area for BBQ's. A great option on hot days or indeed cold ones for sausages etc - being used when we were there and the smell made us feel our sarnies were a little inadequate.
Us Mums did manage a break out at one point and popped over the the shop for a nose...and got chatting with staff - apparently Severn Trent no longer run the shop and closed it last September. It has since been taken over by the cafe owners - shame! Fancy having such a fabulous destination and not making the very best of the shop! Today there were some gifts of interest with a good range of books/guides and toys. However Severn Trent no longer produce any guides to the reservoir - no leaflets, no information no maps, anything for a visitor arriving for the first time - which seems short sighted and sad for such a treasure.
The cafe is great - with a beautiful view of the reservoir and lots of glass and a terrace to take tea on. They offer little lunch boxes for children and hot light lunches. Cake tends to be home made and there are ice creams...certainly worth a visit according to 2 guests leaving today.
We chose our ice creams at the visitor centre ( without leaflets/maps or guides!) which were £1.95 for a single cone & flake. We enjoyed a stroll by the water and the kids enjoyed wildlife watching and Canada Geese counting. Across the water, we could see the Peak Pursuits Centre. This is certainly the way to enjoy the water as they are offering holiday clubs this year as well as boat hire, canoeing and more. Behind us were the fabulous Roaches - an absolute must see in Staffordshire and now "as seen on tv"! Stunning in all weathers, in the sunshine it looked particularly breathtaking.
So all in all Tittesworth is still very much worth a visit. It is a cost effective day for a family and offers plenty of opportunity to picnic around the reservoir. There are also lots of choices for all age groups - so taking a football or cricket kit is ideal with many large playing areas. Stan the dog was happy too - we used a long tether to stretch his legs and apart from restricting his desire to "play" with he ducks - he had a great day. I would also look out for special days/events run by Peak Pursuits & others. For your £4.70 parking charge it is possible to enjoy a long and langerous day with the family for little more than the cost of some ice creams.
For a hand picked guide to Staffordshire - visit Simply Staffordshire.