The place-name 'Tackeroo' is though to date from the early-20th century during the time when the area was home to an extensive Army Training Camp which housed troops during the Great War of 1914-1918, its inhabitants comprised of soldiers mustered from all over Britain and the Commonwealth including regiments formed in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. It is possible that the modern place-name 'tackeroo' stems from the New-Zealand Maori word takarewa, an intransitive verb meaning 'to be kept awake', perhaps in reference to the constant noise which must have been present in this busy army base, or possibly from the related word tutakarerewa a stative verb meaning 'to be alert, unsettled, apprehensive', which again would quite aptly describe the situation in which the young New Zealander volunteers must have suddenly found themselves. (WEB; OS)
There is no known archaeology at Tackeroo from the time when the glaciers receeded northwards after the last Ice-Age until the Norman King of England claimed the entire Cannock Chase upland area as part of his own Royal Hunting Forest, thereby forming the 'Cannock Chase' itself.
The heathland tranquility of the local area was marred only by the line of the Penkridge Bank Road linking the towns of Rugeley beside the Trent in the east with Penkridge beside the Penk in the west, which had crossed the heathland plateau possibly since early-Norman or Anglo-Saxon times. This old trackway was crossed just to the west of the modern Tackeroo Campsite by a metalled road built by the Marquess of Anglesey in the early 18th century to link his estate at Beaudesert with his favourite hunting grounds at Shugborough, this road has since become known as Marquis Drive. (OS)
The Medieval Royal Hunting Forest in Staffordshire, of which Cannock Chase formed only a small part, was formed by King William I sometime between the Norman conquest and the Domesday record of 1086 and is thought to have been centred on the area of Tackeroo and nearby Pepper Slade (SJ9917), which places may be considered as representing 'the wilds' of Cannock Chase. Mention 'forest' to anyone nowadays and it will immediately bring to mind a vast, wooded, unbroken expanse of trees, with little or no clearings, but this is not the original meaning. The etymology of the English word forest stems from the Latin word foris which simply means 'out-of-doors, outside', whereas the Latin word for a 'wood' or a large grouping of trees is silva. The definition of a Hunting Forest maintained by English Heritage is "An area of land, heavily though not totally covered with trees, set aside for the royal hunt by Norman and Plantagenet kings." The Antiquarian writer Marrwood in 1598 describes a forest as "... a certen territorie of wooddy grounds and fruitful pastures, priviledged for wild beasts and foules of forrest, chase, and warren, to rest and abide in, in the safe protection of the king, for his princely delight and pleasure." But these descriptions omit to relate that these areas designated as Royal Hunting Forests were governed by a separate set of rules and restrictions known as 'Forest Law', which advocated severe punishments be meted out to transgressors, such as those caught poaching or felling trees without permission. The role that Cannock Chase played as a Medieval noblemen's hunting playground is discussed in Royal Forests of England by J.C. Cox published in 1905 (pp.145-8). (AHDS)
The period during the Great War of 1914-1918 saw an unprecedented development of the area around the Tackerooo Campsite, which lay at the centre of a vast army training area which sprang into existence almost overnight, covering a large part of the Cannock Chase uplands in the area surrounding Tackeroo, which became known as Rugeley Camp, there being another large but separate establishment to the north-west at Brocton Camp. The major roads within the Tackeroo campsite itself were all laid down originally to support the sleepers of railway tracks, the site being used as a military railyard and munitions depot, which may explain the etymology of the place-name (see above). The concrete foundations of the main munitions storage shed still remain in the centre of the campsite as do the minor roads which once ran between the storage sheds in the area between the campsite and the Penkridge Bank Road to the west. The main body of the camp, where the majority of the troops were housed, lay to the north of the campsite on the opposite side of the Penkridge Bank Road where the minor roads separating the barrack-blocks, the piers which once supported the barrack buildings themselves, also the concrete foundations of several shower blocks complete with plumbing, still remain to be seen. Of special interest is a Training Trench System beside the Penkridge Bank Road (SK 0020 1680) which remains in 'Good' condition, according to the CBA Defence of Britain Archive. The men accommodated at the camp were trained in manoevres conducted about ½-mile to the west at Parrs Warren in the Sherbrook Valley (SJ 990166), the remains of which are extant in 'Fair' condition. The Military Hospital at Brindley Village near Pye Green on Brindley Heath (SJ 993152) about a mile to the south-west was in operation during the Great War of 1914-18 and remained in service treating the victims of trench warfare until the mid-1920's, the condition of the site being recorded as 'Very Bad' by the CBA.
Tackeroo in World War Two
The area to the west of Tackeroo at the head of the Sherbrook Valley (SJ 986168) was used during the Second World War as a Bombing Range for the aircraft training at RAF Seighford, and remains in 'Fair' condition according to the CBA Defence of Britain Archive. Most of the activity during this period was confined to the area south of the campsite at RAF Hednesford 'Battle of Britain' Training School; the White House pub at the corner of Marquis Drive and the Penkridge Bank Road being used as the Officer's Mess. (AHDS)
|"Located on the Penkridge Bank Road approximately 4 miles outside of Rugeley. Signposted from the Penkridge Bank Road and just 1.5 miles from the Birches Valley Forest Centre."
Contact: Rowan Clark Education Assistant 01889 586593 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
"This Class B site is the ideal place to come and relax with only the deer for company. The site welcomes tourers from 1 April to 1 December. Freely drained hard standing pitches, running water, information board and sanilav disposal points are the only facilities on site. However, within a short distance of the site there are places to eat, hire cycles, woodland play area, waymarked trails, fishing pools and much, much more. There is no booking system for this site for private users. Please contact the main office for rally dates to be arranged."