Footpath Rambles In Leicestershire

Book cover, Footpath Rambles in LeicestershireFootpath Rambles In Leicestershire: is the title of a book reprinted in 1943, it sought to offer relief from the turmoil and upheaval of life in the Second World War with a series of 20 walks around the Leicestershire countryside. Each walk illustrated with a sketch map, and detailed directions along with a description of the areas the walk passes through. We have now discovered a further reprint of the book from 1947 and reproduce the two very different forwords. Can anyone offer an earlier edition?


In the stress and strain of wartime we all feel the occasional need for a change from everyday contacts—a spell of peace and quiet—a breath of fresh air. But with the drastic curtailment of all forms of transport most of us will prefer to find our rest and recreation in the nearby countryside.

To many this will be the rediscovery of well-remembered country walks of more leisured days, to others the new and revealing experience of travelling on foot over unsuspected byways and footpaths but a few short miles from their home. Again, many stationed among strangers in a strange county or even country, will be glad to explore the district in which they find themselves.

It is gratifying to me to know that this ‘collection’ of footpath-ways around Leicester—traversed many times in all weathers in the company of not-so-old friends—is to be reprinted to meet a wartime demand by those who wish to spend a little of their leisure in reinvigorating walks in the country. Authority has vouchsafed its blessing in the form of a special allocation of paper for the reprint.

May I underline a plea, made elsewhere in this book, that every care be taken to avoid damage to crops, that all gates be closed, that we do not thoughtlessly impede farmers who are doing their utmost to provide our daily ration. Finally, do not linger near military installations or dumps, nor talk about them afterwards.

A page from the 1947 edition

A page from the 1947 edition

July, 1943


SPRING is in the air once more. After two years of arduous peace and a rather terrible winter. Publishers, Printers and Pedestrians have become specially sensitive to its influence, and have decreed that once more this little book shall go forth and show the way to green fields and pastures anew.

Having become all too resigned to the restraints of war and peace we have, perhaps, overlooked that this is the Spring of the five-day week, and that we have regained the capacity to arise in the morning and say, “It is a lovely morning ! What shall we do today ?”

Well, there are many miles of lovely country footpaths awaiting us. Bright new buses will whisk us away from the city, along routes that are thrusting out once more with Spring like vigour.

But, once again, a note of caution—do take great care to avoid damage to crops ; walk round the edge of cultivated fields where paths are indistinct, and do not thoughtlessly impede farmers who are doing their utmost to provide our daily rations.
Happy walking, and may the rains fall lightly !

Spring, 1947
The country do’s and dont’s includes:-

“From the Leicestershire Footpath Association, to whom Leicestershire ramblers are indebted for the preservation of many rights of way.”

About the Author

An Alfred L (Lewis) Cook was born in 1880 at 7, Berners Street, his father Alfred T Cook was a Hosiery Manufacturer aged 30. At 21 Alfred L was an Assistant Hosiery Warehouse (man) and living with his parents at East Dean, Desford, by now his father had retired, aged 50. At 31 Alfred L probably married Alice Fox, a farmers daughter of Desford and by 1928 they had settled into The Gables, Desford where he resided for many years. He may or may not have been a member of the LFA but also living in Desford at Sunbreak was Alderman William Heycock Rippin, President of LFA from 1912 and 1st President of the Ramblers Association in 1931. Desford it would appear was the heart of the all things walking. I am told by the Desford & District Local History Society that Sunbreak on Little Lane and East Dean on Church Lane still stand but The Gables on Station Road is threatened with demolition for development.


Footpath Rambles In Leicestershire: A Complete Ramblers Guide (1943) by Alfred L Cook is now available from ‘Reprint’ of Loughborough at £6.00.


One Response to “Footpath Rambles In Leicestershire”

  1. Sean McBurney Says:

    This is a great piece of history. I own the Pre War version. Printed in 1936. I have added some photos as a post to your Facebook page. It is fascinating to see what parts of Leicester have changed and what effect this has on the walker if they try to recreate the routes in these books. I purchased mine from Maynard and Bradley book shop in the Royal Arcade in Leicester. The book also contained an immaculate typed letter from the AA to the owner of the book dated 1945, I was tempted to post it to the intended address, but worried it would cause too much confusion for the current home owner to receive a letter 60years late.

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