and occasionally rides a bike.
A word of warning. The walk descriptions are not detailed enough to guide you - please take a map. The batteries never run out, and you always have a signal. Oh, And don't take left or right as gospel!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Leics Round 7 - Bagworth to Woodhouse Eaves and Beacon Hill

Fri, 2013 Apr 19 10:05 AM Western European Time 
With Marta. Fine with the odd shower and occasional sun. We saved the hills for the end of the walk. Garmin off for about a mile. Total around 12 miles. 1,129 feet of climbing.

We start with a short diversion to the Bier House, to look at something I'd seen last time.

Up past the church and through the churchyard, for a sobering start to today's walk.
Then through the recently planted (1996/97) Bagworth Heath Woods, which are part of the National Forest. It seems an excellent way to heal the scars of the mining industry. I idly googled Bagworth colliery and found an interview with some ex-miners from local pits. Desford Pit had seams running under most of this land. Today it's pleasant walking and we get quite warm in the sheltered parts of the path.  
We cross the road and continue - the way ahead is clear, and takes us over the Leicester to Swannington single track of railway line.
We cross a stream and a small field with a couple of donkeys.  the stream was the old mill race for Thornton Mill. The mill was built in 1847 and functioned until the 1930s. The daughter of the last miller still lives in the mill house, and the house next to it was converted from the mill itself.  

There's a man sitting in the sunshine mending a table.  
"So, this used to be a mill?"
"Oh yes - if you go up here you'll see where the pond used to be. Come and have a look."
We walk past a table and seat made from an old millstone and up to the wall where a tiny trickle of a stream now runs.

"There was a big stone at the top end to stop more water coming in. Maureen's dad used to keep a boat tied up here and he'd go up by boat instead of walking there."
Then he showed us a brick dated 1847 on the side of his house. A wooden beam with words carved "Christian built this mill in 1847" used to be in the mill, now it's above an outbuilding.
We thank him and wave to the women in the mill house garden.  He says it's a shame so many walkers just keep their heads down and don't stop to look around more often. Guilty as charged on occasions.

The footpath here is very well marked and we arrive at a modern housing estate on the edge of Thornton. We wander up a couple of dead ends before finding our way to the main street.

The path goes alongside the school and downhill over a ridged and furrowed field. We can see Thornton reservoir glittering in the bottom of the valley.

We walk past the end of the water and a field of shetland ponies and some sheep and along the side of Browns Wood.  There are wide views in both directions here.   The noise of the heavy traffic on the embankment of the M1 makes conversation difficult.  With some relief we take the path underneath the motorway, and ignore the footpath on the left almost immediately afterwards.  Instead we carry on for a short distance to a path which goes through three fields. We walk past some  houses,  and along Croft Way and turn right along  Forest Road, then soon left into Main Street, Markfield.
It's a conservation area, but there is still evidence of post-industrial decline.

At this point we are in heads-down-and-can-we-stop-for-coffee-soon mode, so miss out the church and the Altar Stones picnic site and Nature Reserve, which has good views over Charnwood Forest. One for another walk?

We leave Markfield and go underneath the A50 by a subway. Then we take a path alongside, screened to some extent by the trees. They don't have many leaves yet.  Coffee is by now essential, so we use this dilapidated picnic table.
Inviting, no?

We follow the Round way marks with no problem as far as the village of Newtown Linford. 

Then it's through to Bradgate Park, a sandwich at the café.
Striking trees

Atmospheric ruins
We walk by the river, past the mighty trees, and the ruins of Bradgate House, up the hill to the War Memorial and Old John.  
Marta clambering on the rocks

Grand wide views, if a little misty.  We leave the park and take the path along Benscliffe Road, through the edge of Rough Wood, and over Lindale Golf Course to Woodhouse Eaves.
We turn left along Mill Road, walk uphill past the windmill, and the car park for Broombriggs.
We cross the road, and walk up (again) to the top of Beacon Hill. An extra just to include the view from there. I really feel these hills at the end of today's walking.  About 12 miles.

They are filming something - time travel perhaps with medieval peasants and modern army types with automatic weapons?  Beacon Hill's a great place for it.

We saw one swallow, heard an insistent cuckoo in Bradgate Park - Marta saw a woodpecker - we both heard one drumming earlier. We saw a jay fairly close by as well.

Map and details


Anonymous said...

Another great blog,Alison. Lovely photos too. I recognise some of the locations from when I walked the Round 2 years ago. Bradgate Park was very busy today. Car Parks full, queues for the toilets and the ice cream van. Lots of families enjoying the sunshine. Roy Shakespeare.

aliqot said...

Thanks, Roy. I'm pleased you enjoyed it. Great to have a Shakespeare commenting on the blog. Yesterday the park was pretty quiet, but there were a few showers hanging around. Last year was the first time I'd been to the park, though I'd visited Beacon Hill (from the car park!) once before. I reckon it's like a taste of Derbyshire, but not quite so far to drive to.