Leicestershire Border Walk – part 2

December 19, 2014 by

Upper Broughton – Zouch 15 miles (24.5 km)

This section starts at Upper Broughton LE14 3BQ in Nottinghamshire and spends much of the fifteen miles out of county. I used the Nottingham to Oakham bus to arrive at the start and then Skylink via Loughborough to get home.

An autumn walk

An autumn walk

Yet more rain had been falling but the forecast was for a dry day and that was almost right, just a few heavy spots posed the question, should I get the waterproofs on. The first part of the walk was across pleasant pasture but on reaching the hedge that marked the crossing into Leicestershire I could see horrible arable ahead of me. Although churned up by a tractor, a headland offered a cleaner passage than tramping across the open field.

Welcome to Leicestershire

Welcome to Leicestershire

There is usually some highlight on a walk but I wasn’t optimistic today, with a leaden sky I was tempted to offer you pictures in black and white. Today it was my ears which offered the delight of dancing water in the fast flowing streams as the flood raced around and over obstructions which created small waterfalls.

It’s no longer a novelty to those who know the area, a London Tube train trundled back and forth in the mist along the Old Dalby test track. I like to add variety to a country walk with exploration of villages, so there is a loop around part of Old Dalby taking us past the old chapel and perhaps old Crown Inn which is again closed but I’m told the locals expect it to reopen after another refit. I’ve heard that before, so let’s wait and see. I remember The Crown as a basic country pub with a six day licence and beer from a barrel standing behind the bar. Perhaps I should keep my memories that way.

Village path in Old Dalby

Village path in Old Dalby

The climb up Debdale Hill offers a quiet metalled departure and a good view back over the village and the former MoD depot, now a commercial business park. The path soon crosses back into Notts. and the useful yellow topped marker posts disappear. Taking in Willoughby allows for a safe bridge crossing of the Fosse Way and a view to the south showing the county boundary marked by a large roadside sign unlike the invisible crossing for those using the footpath network.

Traffic passes into Leicestershire on A46

Traffic passes into Leicestershire on A46

Horseshoe Close marks the site of the last village inn, The Three Horseshoes, so no services here today. A footbridge over the infant Kingston Brook takes us back into county and potentially onto a section of road, but a very wide verge protected from encampment by a ditch offers protection for us.

Wymeswold

Wymeswold

Wymeswold is half way and offers a shop, and a pub or if required you could break the section and get a bus to either Melton or Loughborough. Another tiny watercourse next marks our guiding border but before that a small area of well mown grass and steel containers marks the site of a model aircraft test site.

 

Another stream another crossing of the border. Kings Brook

Another stream another crossing of the border. Kings Brook

We now walk on the Nottingham side of the Kings Brook then at Kings Bridge cross over to the Leicestershire side. There is a choice here and I’ve chosen to take the high ground and views but you could follow the border and river all the way to Stanford on Soar should you wish. From the vantage point of Hoton Hills Stanford Hall can be seen to the north, not outstanding from this viewpoint but worth exploring (see Stanford Hall). It is being converted into the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre’ (DNRC) after being purchased by the Duke of Westminster in 2011. For many years it was owned by the Co-op. I kicked my self having once bought tickets for an event in the grand 1930’s theatre and then forgot to attend.

Approaching Stanford on Soar

Approaching Stanford on Soar

The village of Stanford on Soar is evidently an Estate Village but the busy road blights the tiny settlement. Lucky me, as I walk towards the crossing of the old Great Central Railway a steam train glides across the embankment. Not a common sight yet on this part of the line which is cut off from the busy Leicester section. That is until the connecting bridge is replaced across the Midland Main Line at Loughborough station. The fund raising is almost complete and work has started for the return of steam trains running between Leicester and Nottingham.

Santa Special on Great Central North

Santa Special on Great Central North

From the next section of path you can see why I have taken the walk across the river. This high ground offers an adequate gap from the sprawling industry of Loughborough and offers views of the town’s church and carillon towers, with the hills of Charnwood beyond.

The crossing of the next railway raised safety concerns and the footpath which once crossed the busy four lines on the level now uses the cattle creep tunnel, an older map may not show this diversion. Finally Normanton on Soar and the splendid new village hall welcomes us to this affluent riverside village. The Plough Inn offers the only decent public access to the river, most of the bank is the exclusive domain of luxury houses – best seen by taking a boat cruise.

Normanton on Soar

Normanton on Soar

The walk ends as it started in Nottinghamshire at Zouch LE12 5EQ. Catch the hourly Skylink to Loughborough or walk into Hathern for an half hourly service.

You can view and download the walk route using Bing Maps click here (opens a new page).

You can also use Bing to download a .gpx file of the walk follow these instructs. When the walk route appears on the map click on the line or button and a black box appears, click on ‘save to your places’ and another box will appear. Next click on ‘Actions’ and then ‘Export’ you can select either KLM or GPX another box will appear inviting you to open or save the file. Give it a go.

Christmas Season With The L.F.A.

December 18, 2014 by

With the run up to Christmas several of the walking groups have had Christmas Lunches after their usual  walk. The Tuesday walkers held their’s at the Dog & Hedgehog, Dadlington. It was well attended by 47 happy diners, many of whom had responded to the suggestion to come with suitable hats and sweaters.

Decorated Diners

Decorated Diners

The Hat Collection

The Hat Collection

P1010942HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL

Leicestershire Border Walk – part 1

December 13, 2014 by

Bottesford – Upper Broughton 14 miles (23 km)

Although this is section one of the Leicestershire Border Walk there is no necessity to start here. Personally I did desire to make the circuit of the county a contiguous walk but as noted by these reports I started on section four at Castle Donington and walked anti-clockwise. Because there is no written route instructions you could easily reverse the direction and start anywhere.

Plungar from The Gas

Plungar from The Gas

Looking at Leicestershire from the city of Leicester, Bottesford is perhaps the most isolated settlement within the boundary. As the crow flies Bottesford is 25 miles from Leicester with no direct link by road or rail to the city. Logistically this may well be the most difficult to reach. There is however a two bus link between the start and end using services 19 and 24 changing at Melton.

Footpath alongside Barkestone church

Footpath alongside Barkestone church

The walks starts along Barkestone Lane which the maps shows as a direct connection between the two villages but not a route for motor traffic. Taking a path across the fields brings us to Redmile where at the time of writing the once prosperous Peacock Inn is awaiting some TLC.

From Redmile to Hose the walk could have used the towpath of the canal. We stay on the field paths but this parallel path offers you the opportunity to make circular walks. The villages come thick and fast along this section and all have some services but check opening times if you plan a visit. Dove Cottage Hospice also offers a tea room alongside the canal at Stathern Lodge. Finally there is the bus threading its way along the narrow roads offering you the opportunity to split this section or create short linear walks, no wonder the Vale of Belvoir is already a popular walking destination.

Long Clawson Old Manor House B&B available here

Long Clawson Old Manor House B&B available here

Long Clawson lives up to the name being a straggling settlement hugging the road that famously has twelve sharp bends serving to calm traffic speed. Another tea shop in the centre opposite the doctors surgery and pleasant protected paddocks cheek by jowl to the constant pressure for more housing.

At West End Long Clawson Dairy has been making Stilton cheese since 1911, when production moved from farm to factory. There have been casualties along the way as will be seen at Nether Broughton but Peak District ramblers will be aware of the derelict shell at Hartington and a modern cheese factory at Harby has stood abandoned for many years. The cold war still simmers with producers at Stilton in Cambridgeshire peeved that they can’t use the name.

After a mile the walk leaves Long Clawson and climbs Slyborough Hill from which there should be decent views, but not for me as the day retained a stubborn mist. These fields appear to have been abandoned to nature and have become rough untended pasture. Nether Broughton offers a series of information boards around the village for which you might like to detour and locate. The one in front of the Anchor Inn tells us of the many small producers of Stilton which like most activities have been consolidated to large factory units. The trend with beer is currently the opposite and just off route at Old Dalby, Queensway, is Belvoir Brewery one of the many micro breweries that have appeared in recent years.

Nether and Upper Broughtons share a name but are divided by county and the Dalby Brook crossed on a plank bridge between the two villages marks our first crossing into Nottinghamshire.

Nether Broughton Heritage Trail

Nether Broughton Heritage Trail

 

You can view and download the walk route using Bing Maps click here (opens a new page).

You can also use Bing to download a .gpx file of the walk follow these instructs. When the walk route appears on the map click on the line or button and a black box appears, click on ‘save to your places’ and another box will appear. Next click on ‘Actions’ and then ‘Export’ you can select either KLM or GPX another box will appear inviting you to open or save the file. Give it a go.

Sad to announce

December 11, 2014 by
We are sad to announce the death of Kath Wadd who with husband Ken and son Martin was a life long active supporter of the LFA and for many years served as membership secretary.
125th Anniversary Walk

125th Anniversary Walk

Kath Wadd (with the walking frame) at the

125th LFA Anniversary walk in July 2011

We could mention all those lovely portable celebratory picnics where the whole family met us with food and drink at the start of a walk… and their charming wedding and birthday celebrations with tea in the village hall at Woodhouse… and the way they so miraculously appeared with Martin to walk one field with us when they could no longer go further and the way Kath remembered all the names of ‘old’ walkers and was pleased to meet and learn new ones. She had been for years a very keen membership secretary, sending cards to anyone in need of cheering up or deserving congratulation. Her many years in service to the Guides and Brownies stood her in good stead.

Kath made friends so easily.

The funeral will be held at St Mary Magdalen Church, Brinsmead Road, Knighton, Leicester  on Thursday 18 December at 1.30pm. LFA members and friends are invited to attend. Reception afterwards at the Cradock Arms, Knighton.

Leicestershire Border Walk – part 15

December 9, 2014 by

Buckminster – Bottesford 17 miles (27 km)

This walk can be based on Melton Mowbray by taking the 9.45 bus 55 towards Grantham which will drop you just fifteen minutes later in Buckminster. There is a service back from Bottesford but check on times. Or a safe leisurely option, start in Bottesford take the 08.30 bus into Melton and walk back to your car.

 

Buckminster bus shelter built to mark the coronation 1953

Buckminster bus shelter built to mark the coronation 1953

I left the bus shelter passing the shop which once supplied petrol and post office services but manages to stay busy attracting locals for their daily papers. Walking along the main street the modern village hall has replaced a tin shed left over from the 1914-18 war. Alongside is the prosperous ‘Buckminster Yard’, former farm buildings converted to offer employment from modern businesses. Hopefully this site now provides additional custom to the Tollemache Arms opposite.

Buckminster the old village hall

Buckminster the old village hall

1504-towerThe massive brick water tower is a landmark within another attractive block of buildings. Opposite is the start of the Mowbray Way along the tree lined road leading to the church and family mausoleum. The wall on our left marks the grounds of Buckminster Hall built in 1798 and demolished around 1950. The present house, which can be glimpsed through the gates, was built after the demolition.

Good views north across the fields are to be enjoyed, confident of safe footing while still on the tarmac. The final piece of road is avoided by a cross field path which showed signs of reinstatement so should be useable even with a mature crop. Another water tower stands here obscured or screened by the trees depending on your opinion of this modern concrete structure.

I should have said sooner that this walk is again remote. Sewstern Lane or The Drift is an ancient track used long before the linking of towns to form the Great North Road. While travelling humans needs the services offered by the coaching inns of towns such as Grantham and Stamford, animals driven to market along this parallel track needed only the grass on the verge for their overnight sustenance. It is said that at one road crossing stood the Three Queens Inn offering refreshment to the Drovers. Today there are no services until we reach Woolsthorpe.

1505-track-shadowRamblers and footpaths have finally been accepted by most landowners so after years of campaigning for walkers rights I struggle to oppose those who use routes with higher status. Heavy use by horses can soon turn a bridleway into a quagmire and speeding cyclists often surprise unwary walkers but if the route allows passage of motorised vehicles should we oppose them? It is unfortunate that many motorised users of green lanes appear primarily to enjoy the mud and challenge of ruts which too often destroys the surface for all other users. It’s hardly surprising that the authorities take steps to discourage this abuse to the detriment of any sympathetic motorised use.

The welcome board at Buckminster Gliding Club could well be inviting those mud loving off roaders when it offers “Passion Freedom Fun” but only for those with a head for heights. When the Viking Way long distance route was created there appeared to be a gap in the highway across the airfield. The curving footpath we use today was created in 1997 to fill the gap but it’s only a footpath so no horses, no bikes, no motorised vehicles. The ancient Drift road has been lost or has it? Saltby airfield was built in 1941 and derequisitioned in 1955. Emergency powers were in place to temporally stop up highways for the war effort but all temporary closures were lifted on 31st December 1958 unless steps were in hand for permanent closure. With no permanent closure the Drift should now be available along the old line, but it’s not. If you want to know why, ask Lincolnshire County Council.

Tank traps protecting the SSSI on The Drift

Tank traps protecting the SSSI on The Drift

North of the airfield serious action has been taken to prevent motorised abuse. Tank traps prevent access which is legally controlled by a Traffic Regulation Order. The wide highway is managed by the Wildlife Trust and they have certainly improved it for walking. A scheme to improve the grass land involves taking off the hay each summer and this has been left on site in the form of miniature round bales.

Two things happened while I walked this pleasant stretch. One is fairly common the other very uncommon. A dog walker approached from the opposite direction and one dog suddenly makes a barking bee line for me. The owner attempts to call it to heel but as is often the case the dog ignores the calls. I stand still and the dog becomes more aggressive. Finally the owner is able to get a leash on and I can relax. What was most unusual was the owner accepting full responsibility for the incident and apologising.

The Drift Lincolnshire

The Drift Lincolnshire

After crossing the Melton to Grantham road there are views to the east of sprawling Grantham centred around the impressive tower and spire of St Wulfrums church. I’m now back on a track where motorised vehicles are tolerated and later even accepted with a small sign stating ‘Unclassified County Road’.

I’m not really an animal person, as the dog incident may suggest but when I see a small bird attempting to escape from a tangle around its leg and a twig I go to the rescue. It looked like sheep’s wool which to a small bird was the equivalent of heavy rope for a human.

Grantham canal Longore bridge

Grantham canal Longore bridge

I decided to amend the route and head directly for the Grantham canal, no need to tick off Woolsthorpe by Belvoir as it’s in Lincolnshire. This route still takes us past a potential refreshment stop at the Rutland Arms. For forty three years this inn, know as The Dirty Duck, has prospered with Bob Taylor at the helm but after the 2014 annual bonfire party at the age of 74 he was calling it a day. Some say it was retirement others say the Belvoir Estate wanted him out.

Muston Cross

Muston Cross

Leaving the easy walking of the canal towpath at the traditional brick ‘Longore Bridge’ number 58 the path takes me across Muston Meadow one of the finest lowland meadows left in England, so tread carefully please. Turning right by the 14th century cross the path crosses the River Devon (de-von) and emerges by the church and Old Forge Tea Rooms.

Bottesford is not far away but to follow the border and add another village I cross the A52 then the Nottingham to Grantham rail line. There is an application to close this level pedestrian crossing but it won’t be lost without a fight. The next section is again remote although the distant drone of traffic on the A1 is ever present. There had been more rain on the heavy clay soil so I was relieved that the paths here were on wide grass headlands keeping my boots free of cloying mud.

Beacon Hill Bottesford

Beacon Hill Bottesford

The spire of Bottesford church visible as if standing alone atop the hill, not part of the hidden building beyond. As I approach Normanton to the north is another former airfield site. Now an industrial estate but the concrete roadways are used to store cars and vans as far as the eye can see. This is the most northerly village in Leicestershire. A straggling satellite of Bottesford, it is also the furthest point North on the walk.

A fitting finale is the climb over Beacon Hill before passing St Mary’s church and passing over Flemings bridge leading to Church Street and walks end. If you have not been to Bottesford before then a look inside the church is recommended to see the impressive memorials to the Earls of Rutland.

Flemings Bridge over the River Devon at Bottesford

Flemings Bridge over the River Devon at Bottesford

I thought there was little to see along this final section but I appear to have written more than usual. While there was little to attract my attention I had time to think, a pleasure or curse of walking alone.

You can view and download the walk route using Bing Maps click here (opens a new page).

You can also use Bing to download a .gpx file of the walk follow these instructs. When the walk route appears on the map click on the line or button and a black box appears, click on ‘save to your places’ and another box will appear. Next click on ‘Actions’ and then ‘Export’ you can select either KLM or GPX another box will appear inviting you to open or save the file. Give it a go.

 

Leicestershire Border Walk – part 14

December 4, 2014 by

Burton Lazars – Buckminster 14 miles (22.5 km)

The easy option for this section was to take the car to Buckminster then the bus to Melton. The driver kindly dropped me at Lag Lane from where I was able to walk directly to the start but adding a mile and a half to the already long day.

Sewstern

Sewstern

Burton Lazars has little of visible interest for the visitor. You could make a detour and explore the field humps which are all that remain of St Mary and St Lazarus Hospital. It’s surprising that such a posh village should wish to retain a name derived from it being a former leper hospital.

At the time of my visit (2014) the listed grade two starred monument in the churchyard was being repaired by specialist masons. This striking monument commemorates William Squire, a weaver, who died in 1781. His fortune of £600 was to be used for the monument and to provide education for the poor of the parish. However, so the story goes, by the time the monument was completed there was no money left for any other purpose!

The walk begins by crossing the upper valley of the Wreake which starts life as the River Eye, a valley also appropriated by the railway but only after a fight. The tiny settlements of Brentingby and Wyfordby are our preliminary destinations but blink and we’ll miss them.

Brentingby church house

Brentingby church house

First the railway. When the Midland Railway proposed a line from Leicester to Peterborough, Lord Harborough of Stapleford Park strongly opposed its construction, in fact he set his staff into battle against the surveyors. The line was eventually built, no doubt with the company paying significant compensation. Was this passed by his Lordship to his gamekeeper foot soldiers I wonder? The Railway also obliterated the earlier, and unsuccessful, Oakham canal. isolated remains of which still appear on maps of today.

The tower of Brentingby church acts as a waymark for our route but as we get closer the parish church is not what it once was having been converted into a house in 1977. Less obvious but more attractive, hidden among encroaching trees and bushes is Manor Farmhouse, another Listed building.

The 'road?' to Brentingby

The ‘road?’ to Brentingby

143-wyfordbyStatus of the route over the level crossing of the railway appears in dispute. Plans are in hand to increase speed and volume of traffic along this line. These so called improvements could be detrimental to walkers because they include proposals to abolish many of the level crossings. So it’s a bit of a worry that Network Rail state on the site notice “Highway Act 1980 – Network Rail hereby give notice that this way is not dedicated to the public save as a footpath” While the county council highways people have erected two 30mph restriction signs a few yards further along the the same route hey ho!

Freeby is on a spur of the road, unless you have a liking for off roading, so it doesn’t get many visitors which might explain the demise of yet another church, this time with significant structural problems. Investigation has been undertaken and a repair grant was awarded for a range of repairs but the place still looks sadly neglected with no sign of it being in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust as planned.

Looking back to Freeby

Looking back to Freeby

We leave Freeby alongside the chapel founded in 1665 and still in use – just. For the first day of November I was enjoying wonderful weather. The sun was still warm and the breeze had dried the ground, after some heavy showers of previous days, so that earth didn’t stick to my boots. Crossing a track close to a farm a boot disappeared into some green slime. Foolishly I put the next foot down hoping to extract the former promptly, bad decision. The second boot also vanished. It was so close to over topping and coating my foot in foul slurry.

It’s turning out to be a walk of churches. “Saxby Church built in 1789, a Grade II* listed building designed by church architect George Richardson. It includes some original Hawkes stained-glass windows and a rood screen originating from Westminster Abbey.” So says the sales blurb when it was recently on the market at £300,000, having been sold by the diocese in 2011 for around £60,000 for conversion into a domestic dwelling.

Wymondham main street

Wymondham main street

Approaching Wymondham we cross a disused railway, built at the end of the 19th century. Here footpath crossings were made safely by bridge unlike the early lines which crossed road and footpaths on the level. It is unfortunate that the earlier railway lines make up the network of today. Network Rail only now, nearly one hundred years too late are concerned about safety and wish to close footpaths that still cross on the level.

The walk through Wymondham was for me the highlight of the day, but don’t get too excited, it was the excellent weather that took the trophy today. I was hoping for refreshment at the Berkeley Arms but poking my head around the door the bar looked far too posh for a man in muddy boots and shorts.

Living on the road at Wymondham

Living on the road at Wymondham

Taking the path to Edmondthorpe I was reminded of the days when many green lanes were taken over by new age travellers, many left piles of rubbish after they were moved on and most have now disappeared. The old village pump at Edmondthorpe is rightly the centre piece of the village. Installed in 1856 by WAP, but who was WAP?

Edmondthorpe pump and social club

Edmondthorpe pump and social club

The next path we take heads directly for Market Overton but as it crosses into Rutland a path follows the boundary and is perfect to use for this border walk. I was confused, now I’m intrigued. The Leicestershire Definitive Map includes the paths which follow the boundary so I had expected to be walking on the north side of a hedge which I had assumed would mark the boundary. Wrong. The path was on the Rutland side of the hedge, so had I misread the map? Returning home I investigate and find that in fact the boundary is not at the hedge it is a few yards to the south. So the field headland and path is in Leicestershire while the ploughed part of the same field is in Rutland.

A seat for Thomas on the Rutland Round

A seat for Thomas on the Rutland Round

This path is also used by the Rutland Round which I thought parochially stayed within county, wrong again. Large sheds to our right are now an industrial estate but until the 1960s were a centre of the ironstone quarry operations that had been active here since the late 19th century feeding Holwell and later Scunthorpe and Corby steel works.

After a short section of road we meet the long distance trail from the Humber Bridge to Oakham, The Viking Way. The planners for that path took the easy option of green lanes but where possible I intend using the footpaths to Sewstern and eventually walk’s end, Buckminster. This is all part of the Buckminster Estate home to the Tollemache family a name that crops up across vast swathes of England. While many of the paths have been moved, officially, onto field headlands it was disappointing to find that those that remain as cross field were not apparent on the ground. This made navigation difficult where the yellow topped marker posts were also hidden by overgrown hedges.

Buckminster

Buckminster

The late style of a model village is clear as we enter Buckminster. With the sale of so much social housing from the large planned urban estates it’s appealing to see the symmetry that has been retained here at The Crescent.

You can view and download the walk route using Bing Maps click here (opens a new page).

You can also use Bing to download a .gpx file of the walk follow these instructs. When the walk route appears on the map click on the line or button and a black box appears, click on ‘save to your places’ and another box will appear. Next click on ‘Actions’ and then ‘Export’ you can select either KLM or GPX another box will appear inviting you to open or save the file. Give it a go.

Tuesday Mud Award

December 2, 2014 by
The Mud Award

The Mud Award

IMG_3924

 

The Mud Award is presented to any leader,who by common consent, has had the muddiest walk of the Winter so far. As the Winter has only just started there is every chance it will be ‘won’ more than once.

Here Marie J. who has held it, unsurpassed, since November 14th 2013 on a walk at Scraptoft, presents it to Martin & Lynn for their mud plug round Shearsby on November 25th 2014.

Leicestershire Border Walk – part 13

November 28, 2014 by

East Norton – Burton Lazars 15 miles (24.5 km)

I dropped off the 747 at the shelter on the A47, not too convenient for the residents of East Norton but the by-pass was perhaps a price worth paying. The bridleway is soon crossing large arable fields where local riders use the alternative headland paths. There appears to be no remains of Loddington Mill as the only visible buildings are fairly modern.

East Norton Hall through a thin autumn hedge

East Norton Hall through a thin autumn hedge

Towards the end of cross field track we pass the faint remains of the high Leicestershire railway line after which we take a footpath across the field to the church. The little church of St Michael and All Angels stands remote from the village with no connecting road only the cross field footpath, pity the poor pallbearers.

I’d heard rumour for some time of a Youth Hostel having once been located in Loddington. Today I speculated that it may have been located at The Grange. Investigation on my return home, confirmed this and there are some interesting memories at Leicestershire Villages (opens a new window)

Loddington Grange the former Youth Hostel

Loddington Grange the former Youth Hostel

I had considered taking in Launde Abbey but this required a fair bit of road walking although it would keep the route in Leicestershire. In the end I decided to enter Rutland and keep off the roads. Because Rutland was annexed by Leicestershire in 1974 when the LFA devised their centenary walk in 1987 they took it briefly into the smallest county. Part of our foray again joins the Round for a mile.

Approaching Knossington

Approaching Knossington

As the walk meets the county boundary we pass an Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar. These obsolete structures dotted around the British mainland usually stand proud in the landscape marking a place where we can pause and take in a fine view. Here at 191 metres above sea level the view is fair but the pillar is almost lost in the hedge.

This is a fairly remote bit of countryside between Loddington and Knossington and the remaking of the landscape through the Leighfield Estate emphasises this. The fields are large but the public paths stay on estate tracks or along headlands and the rolling landscape allows distant views emphasising the vastness of the estate a parish without a village.

I was on known territory but unfamiliar paths. It was interesting to look down onto Withcote Hall through which I’d passed many times using the route of the Round. The path has been diverted at Preston Lodge so take care if you have an old map, the footpath to Knossington has little sign of use so I’m pleased to include it on this walk. As I pass through the village so does the 113 bus which serves the area on it’s corkscrew route between Melton and Oakham. This and other local services offer the opportunity to create linear walks.

Meeting the bus in Knossington

Meeting the bus in Knossington

The garden centre at Cold Overton looks to be pushing further into the fields and may soon surround our path. There are some interesting buildings on the minor road passing the church. Our path passes through the sparse garden of a house before it drops away through a nice pasture field. The next section has been diverted and will soon be enclosed between trees on the right and a hedge on the left. Currently a view of the Queen Anne style house can be admired as I’m sure the owner desired by placing it here prominently in the landscape.

Somerby can still offer the services of a shop, pub and bus service so you can refresh yourself here or call it a day and get the bus to Melton or Oakham. Yet again our route joins the Leicestershire Round this for the last time until High Cross on the west side of the county. At the foot of the steep bank approaching Little Dalby you will find a seat provided to mark the achievements of Jim Mason who installed many of the original stiles and bridges to open up the Leicestershire Round.

Somerby shop and main street

Somerby shop and main street

Leaving the Round our walk is now part of the Jubilee Way extension although there is little sign. We could follow this to Belvoir but that cuts the corner so we will leave it and head east from Burton Lazars. This section ends here, while there are no services on offer in the village there are buses into Melton or the walk along the road has a pavement.

You can view and download the walk route using Bing Maps click here (opens a new page).

You can also use Bing to download a .gpx file of the walk follow these instructs. When the walk route appears on the map click on the line or button and a black box appears, click on ‘save to your places’ and another box will appear. Next click on ‘Actions’ and then ‘Export’ you can select either KLM or GPX another box will appear inviting you to open or save the file. Give it a go.

 

Letters in the landscape

November 24, 2014 by

Reading the guide to The Cross Britain Way I noted reference to an ER marked by the careful planting of trees on the top of Beacon Ring Iron Age Hill Fort just inside the Welsh border near Welshpool.

There is also an ER on the hillside at Chatsworth Park and this one is visible to passing walkers the one at Beacon Ring is only visible from the air.

We now have the benefit of online aerial images so they can be viewed here.

Beacon Ring (opens a new window)

Chatsworth Park (opens a new window)

Do you know of any more? Submit your links in the comment box below.

 

Out of county – A trip to Lakeland

November 24, 2014 by
Striding Edge - Helvellyn - Catstye Cam

Striding Edge – Helvellyn – Catstye Cam

Read more about a trip to Lakeland in September 2014
(opens a new page)


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