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Put some spring in your step in Leicestershire

17th March 2010 Print
Walking in Leicestershire

With over 3,000 kilometres, or 1,864 miles, of official footpaths on its doorstep, Leicestershire is just perfect for walkers.

Offering routes for every level, from short one-mile hop, skip and jump routes for the amateur rambler to the more adventurous 35-mile hike to suit the experienced trekker, Leicestershire boasts some of the UK’s friendliest walks through stunning open countryside.

According to the Ramblers Association, 77% of UK adults, approx 38 million people, say they walk for pleasure at least once a month. So why not pack your wellies or hiking boots and join us as we explore a selection of the best walks on the UK’s doorstep, in the heart of Leicestershire.

The Discovery Trail around Foxton Locks
Length: 1.5 miles
Who: Perfect for families
About: Transformed thanks to a multi-million pound restoration project, the 1.5 mile Discovery Trail is one of the area’s newest walks, designed to take in the stunning landscape of south Leicestershire explaining the natural, industrial and built heritage of the site. As well as the 200 year-old, Grade II listed flight of 10 locks, see the area’s elegant brick bridges, the old canal company stables, lock keeper’s cottage and the restored remains of a gigantic boat lift.
Refreshments: Foxton Locks Inn. Enjoy stunning canalside views and a freshly cooked meal in this historic building.
Rest tired feet: Stay overnight at West Langton Lodge. Lovely stable-conversion offering a double room and lounge area for £50 per night.

Conkers Circuit
Length: various routes from 2 miles to 4.5 miles.
Start/finish: Conkers Discovery Centre
Who: Perfect for families
About: In the heart of Leicestershire’s National Forest, the Conkers Circuit is a fantastic choice if you’re looking to get the whole family out and into the great outdoors. The walk enjoys spectacular views, bird spotting sites and newly planted woods. It also has many different attractions along the way including Conkers, Sarah’s Wood, Albert Village Lake and Woodlands, Diana Princess of Wales’ Memorial Woodland and the historic Moira Furnace.
Refreshments: Moira Furnace Café
Rest tired feet: YHA National Forest. Recently built, the YHA National Forest provides a fantastic eco-friendly base. Accommodation has been built to four-star standard with excellent facilities including en suite rooms. Rates start at £15.95 per adult at £11.95 per child.

The Hallaton Walk
Length: 4.5 miles
Start/finish: Starts near the Bewicke Arms on Eastgate and is circular around Hallaton
Who: Perfect for amateur ramblers
About: Hallaton’s well-preserved historical attractions on route include the beautiful St Michael’s Church which dates back to the 12th century, tranquil and deserted country roads dating back to the 18th century, and a 12th century Normanton motte and bailey castle.
Refreshments: Bewicke Arms. A charming 400 year-old thatched country Inn and Tea Room.
Rest tired feet: Stunning rooms are available in converted stables at the Bewicke Arms with full English breakfast. Rate starts at £75 for a double room.

Charnwood Peaks Walk
Length: 15 miles
Start/finish: Bradgate Park
Who: Perfect for more-experienced ramblers
About: This 15-mile walk takes in the four peaks that make Leicestershire’s Charnwood so distinctive: Old John Tower folly in Bradgate Park, Beacon Hill, Bardon Hill and Billa Barra. There are dry stone and craggy hills at the ancient Charnwood Forest and the walk also crosses some of the oldest rocks in Britain. Look out for buzzards circling on the updrafts from the hills. A visit to the ruin of Bradgate House is a must.
Refreshments: The Old Bull’s Head. Situated in the leafy village of Woodhouse Eaves, this is a stylish and contemporary country pub offering award-winning ales.
Rest tired feet: Horseshoe Cottage Farm. Enjoy a bit of rural luxury at this award-winning, recently converted farmhouse bed and breakfast. Meals are home cooked with most ingredients sourced locally. Rates start at £95 for a double room with breakfast.

Ivanhoe Way
Length: 35 mile circular route
Start/finish: Ashby de la Zouch
Who: Perfect for more experienced ramblers
About: The popular Ivanhoe Way is a 35-mile circular walk around the north western area of Leicestershire. The route is split up into 7 sections, making it easier to take on over a series of short strolls – perhaps spread over a weekend. The north west of Leicestershire is an area of contrasts from the bustling, historic market town of Ashby de la Zouch, through the wooded and rocky outcrops of Charnwood Forest, to the idyllic stretches of the Ashby Canal. For centuries the area has been marked by quarrying and coal-mining and many former mining sites have been reclaimed and restored as part of the creation of The National Forest.
Refreshments: Fallen Knight Restaurant. This charming restaurant housed in a Georgian style building offers perfectly conditioned wines from the Knight's Cellars. Look out for the delicious seafood dishes.
Rest tired feet: The Clockmaker's House is a quirky bed and breakfast set in what used to be a clockmaker's home in the late 1700s. Twin /double rooms with breakfast start at £65.

Leicestershire Round
Length: a 100 mile circular walk
Start/finish: It starts, and finishes at Newtown Linford, the gateway to Bradgate Park
Who: More-experienced ramblers
About: This 100 mile circular walk is a feast for those who want to sample all the county has to offer. Linking Foxton Locks, parts of the National Forest, Hallaton, Charnwood and Bradgate Park with the historic sites of Bosworth Battlefield, Burrough Hill and remote Launde Abbey, it showcases the great variety of the breathtaking rolling countryside of Leicestershire. Connoisseurs say it is a real eye-opener and the variety of subtle scenery compares favourably to more famous long distance paths.
Rest tired feet: Checkout a whole host of stunning accommodation which can be found all around the route at

So, why not blow the cobwebs away, get back to nature and put a spring in your step this March. Walking is a great way to experience the varied landscape of Leicestershire.

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Walking in Leicestershire