FWC Christmas Meal
As you can see, we all enjoyed a great Christmas Meal at The Golden Shield in Fleckney.
Pailton > Easenhall > Monks Kirby > Pailton
Walk Leader: Kathy Kilsby
The snowdrop walk: just a touch under 8 miles long.
Note: If you have walking poles we suggest you bring them along as there is one short but steep section where they would come in useful. Also, if you like taking pictures of deer bring a camera with a good zoom lens!
Park near St. Denys’ Church in Pailton (Warwickshire) and head southwest out of the village along Rugby Road. This is not a particularly busy road but there is no pavement so care is needed. When you get to it, turn right onto Cord Lane and follow it for about three-quarters of a mile. This road is much quieter although you will hear the traffic racing along the M6.
Cord Lane is fairly straight with good views of the countryside. About half-way along you can stop on the bridge over the M6 and watch the
idiots traffic hurtling past if you have a mind to! Continue along the lane until it veers sharply to the left. In front of you, on the apex of the bend, is a gateway to the first field and the footpath that leads towards, but not into, Easenhall in the same direction you have been walking. The footpath takes you to Welkin Farm and on the way you will see (some of) the village of Easenhall over to your left.
Turn right at the farm and head northwest along the track to Brick Kiln Spinney. There is a footbridge here to take you around the spinney initially and then another footbridge to take you through it. This (muddy) path curves around Newbold Revel, an 18th-century country house in the village of Stretton-under-Fosse. It is now used by HM Prison Service as a training college and is a Grade II listed building. The path veers off to the left along here and the signpost is missing a sign so it may be difficult to spot. If you find yourself at a locked gate you’ve gone the wrong way!
The footpath leads up to and over a road leading from Stretton-under-Fosse to the college. Go straight across the road and continue along the path to Dog Kennel Spinney. There is a lovely old brick bridge here that would have been ideal for a group photograph. Unfortunately, it is a little dillapidated and has been fenced off. A wooden footbridge has been constructed to the right of the brick one so it would be best to take that one!
The path now veers to the left after the stile and follows a stream for a short way before crossing it and heading through the spinney. Exit the spinney into an open field and head slightly left diagonally across it. At the far end of the field is the first of the rather crude, but effective, deer gates. These gates are a bit awkward to negotiate without help, especially for the last person through so care should be taken when traversing these gates. Go diagonally left across this field where there is another deer gate in the far corner.
The path here is narrow, overgrown, and muddy! It heads uphill parallel to the motorway. Walking poles would be handy along here. Towards the end of this section the path leads steeply upwards. In muddy conditions it can be very slippery. If you don’t have a walking pole or two then hold on to the fence to help you up. It’s only a short climb but it is very steep.
At the top you can catch your breath and look over to the right at all the deer on the farm. Cross the bridge over the M6 and about halfway between the motorway and the first farm building on the right, take the foot path to the left of the road. Be careful here as the sign for the path you want is hidden in the undergrowth.
Don’t take the deer gate to the right but go through the big gate in front of you. Head up to the top of the field and then down again keeping the woods to your right. You will soon reach a gap between the two woods of Spion Kop. No, this is not the scene of the Boer War battle in January 1900. That was near Ladysmith in South Africa!
Moving on, go through another deer gate and cross three fields of varying muddiness until you reach Coventry Road. Cross the road onto the the narrow pavement and turn right to head towards Pailton. Just after the chicane is the Pailton Ex-Servicemen’s Club. Turn in here and head for the children’s playing area where there is suitable seating for a coffee stop. Keep an eye on Janet though – there are swings here!!
After coffee, turn right as you leave the park and head north along the footpath to Monks Kirby. You should come out onto Bell Lane. Unfortunately, The Bell Inn is no longer. However, the Denbigh Arms is the place to head to. Here, the landlord is a cask ale enthusiast and tries to include one local ale amongst the four being served. It is a welcoming multi-roomed village pub that is renowned for its home-cooked food.
Sadly, the pub and its ales have to be left behind as you head north and through the village along Bond End and then Monks Kirby Lane. The grass verge on the right of the road gradually narrows. Look for the footpath on the left just before the narrowest point. This path takes you over a narrow bridge of three sleepers to Sandy Lane. Head along Sandy Lane to where it meets Brockhurst Lane.
Brockhurst Lane will take you (southeast) past the cemetery where the snowdrops abound. Continue along Brockhurst Lane until it curves to the right with an unnamed road leading off to the left. Take this road and bear right along the track just after a yellow-topped marker post. This track opens up into a large field with a single tree to the left of the path.
Cross the next field and then the path splits into three. Turn right, head up the hill a short way and then turn right again along another footpath just after the gateway. You are now heading just east of south down the map to Pailton Fields Farm and a lovely little lake that would make a nice picnic spot. Here the path splits into three once more and again you need to take the rightmost track taking you back into Pailton.
When we recce’d this walk we took time out to look at The White Lion at Pailton. This 17th century coaching inn, a once popular haunt for ghost busters, has been taken over by the village residents. The inn has been empty for over 6 years and has been vandalised inside. Good luck to the villagers in their quest.
Fleckney > Saddington > Laughton > Gumley > Saddington > Fleckney
Walk Leader: Rita Pearce (and Phil Williams)
This is multiple-choice walk of about 7.5 miles from Fleckney, through Saddington, to Laughton, and back. It’s probably been done a few times but we like it!
Starting from the Scout Hut Car Park, head out of the village towards Saddington. With all the rain and building work it’s probably best to single file along the narrow pavement into Saddington. The safer alternative is to go through the fields along the Leicestershire Round. When you get into Saddington, head past the pub and the church and follow the road to the bottom of the hill.
Here you have the second choice, continue along the road, turning right at the fork, to Brook Farm, or through (muddy) fields and along Mowsley Brook until the path joins another at right angles to it. This second path brings you out onto Mowsley Road where you turn right to get to Brook Farm.
However you get there, there is a bridleway opposite the farm. This track is surprisingly not too muddy (or it wasn’t when we checked it out). The path heads due south and takes you all the way into Laughton bringing you out by St. Mark’s Church. Follow the road past the church up to the fork in the road marked by a grass triangle.
If you ask Rita which way to go from here she will say right. So, turn left and follow Main Street up to the next fork and grass triangle. Keep to the left, the other left Rita, and follow Gumley road to … Gumley.
Well no, another choice looms before getting to Gumley. Just after the war memorial there is a crossroads. Either turn left and go down the steep hill and past Saddington reservoir, or straight on and pick up the Leicestershire Round and go through the (muddy) fields to Saddington.
Once you reach Saddington you can call in the Queen’s Head for a brew or two (I get a discount there), or head back into Fleckney and the choice of our two locals. Here’s hoping you enjoy(ed) the walk. Cheers!
Dadlington > Bosworth Field > Dadlington
Walk Leader: Andy Collins
This walk is about 6 miles long.
Starting from The Green, by The Dog and Hedgehog, turn left and cross Shenton Lane where you will see a footpath sign. This footpath is labelled the Ambion Way and leads you to the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Canal. This canal is famous for having no locks. Cross the bridge at the canal and take the towpath heading east.
Follow the towpath for just over two miles. You will pass under Sutton Lane Bridge (32), Geary’s Bridge (33) where the canal curves to head northwards, and thence to Sutton Wharf Bridge (34) where there is a cafe and toilets.
Continue along the towpath, now heading west, skirting Ambion Wood. You leave the wood behind after Rail Bridge (34a). The canal now curves to the right and you will soon see Bradfield’s Bridge (35).
This is where you leave the canal and head northeast along the road, Shenton Lane, towards Shenton Station. Here, there is another cafe and probably the means to de-water yourself should the need arise.
Go through the station and cross the railway – making sure there is nothing coming! Here, you pick up the Ambion Way once more and follow it around the site of the Battle of Bosworth, past the Bosworth Field Visitor Centre, and through Ambion wood.
Walking through woods for the Fleckney Walking Club is an invitation to get “mislaid” but this track should be easily manageable, even for us! When you (eventually) emerge from the woods the track follows the canal back to Sutton Wharf. You are now on the right side of the canal for the cafe.
This section of the walk along the canal is about a mile. After leaving the wharf at Sutton Wharf Bridge (34), the canal bears right and heads south. At the next bridge, Geary’s (33) take the Leicestershire Round to Stapleton Lane. Turn right onto the lane and head back into Dadlington. The lane takes you to a crossroads where you turn right onto Hinckley Road. Follow this onto Main Street and thus back to the pub for drinkies.
Fleckney > Arnesby > Shearsby > Fleckney
Walk Leader: Janet Earwaker
This walk is about 7 miles long.
Starting from the Scout Hut car park, head north along High Street, past The Old Crown and the Co-op up to the mini-roundabout. Turn left here along Kilby Road until you reach Furnival Close. Turn left into the close and head for a little alleyway ahead and to the left of you. This leads onto a footpath that will take you across a field and onto a fairly decent track heading eastish for quite a while. After this while, a the path curves to the left. Shortly after this you will see a footpath to your left that you could have taken but would be a lot muddier. Immidiately after this point is a not-too-easily-spotted path to your right. Take this path if it’s not too muddy otherwise stay on the track until it comes out onto Fleckney Road where you turn right.
Either way you will find yourself heading towards the cute village of Arnesby. Carefully cross the A5199 and head through the farm in front of you. When you come out into the open turn left and head down St. Peter’s Road toward the church. Follow the road around the church until you see a kind of fork. The left side of the fork is sign-posted as a footpath and it initially leads south and then south-east(ish) to Shearsby.
The footpath exits onto Church Lane and, surprisingly, leads to Saint Peter’s Church. A good spot for elevenses perhaps? Continue past the church to the crossroads where you turn left onto Back Lane. Continue along Back Lane until it meets the A5199. Careful here as there is no footpath. Carefully cross the road onto the grass verge opposite and turn left so that you are heading northwards. Towards the top of the hill you will see a large green gateway to your right. To the right of the gates is a stile that takes you onto The Leicestershire Round. This is horse country so expect to wade through muddy fields!
The Round brings you out onto Fleckney Road again where you turn right and head along the road to the junction with Arnesby Road. Here you have another choice: Go straight on through the gate in front of you and continue along The Leicestershire Round, or turn left and head back into Fleckney along Arnesby Road.
The footpath will take you towards Fleckney until a cross-path that gives you another choice. Carry straight on until you reach the main road and pavement-pound to the pub, or turn left along the path that leads behind Lodge Road, through the recreation park, along a very muddy path, and eventually onto Main Road. Turn right and head for The Golden Shield. If the decision to head down Arnesby Road was made earlier, just keep going till you get to The Shield.
Great Glen > Newton Harcourt > Great Glen
Walk Leader: Deborah Martin
This walk is about 5.5 miles long.
Park at The Pug and Greyhound and pick up the footpath at the end of Orchard Lane. The footpath takes you 90 degrees left and heads east until the pathway forks. Take the right fork due south to the A6. Be very careful crossing this main road as the traffic doesn’t hang about!
Once safely across the A6, continue southwards and under the railway bridge. It will be very muddy here! When emerge from the mire stay on the path until you reach the canal at Crane’s Lock. Turn right and follow the towpath all the way to Newton Harcourt. Here you have a choice. If you come off the canal at Church Bridge (no. 80) you can pop down to peek at the lovely St. Luke’s Church. Double back over the canal bridge and over the railway bridge. Immediately after the latter take the footpath to the left of the road all the way to the end where it joins the alternative path.
250 metres further on from Church Bridge you can exit onto a footpath that takes you straight onto Glen road. Immediately after the railway bridge is the footpath to the right from the first option.
Once you get to Glen Road, take the bridleway directly across the road from you. After about a kilometre (did you notice I’ve gone metric?) take the smaller footpath to the right that heads back to the A6. Again, take care crossing this busy highway. The pathway on the other side of the road takes you eastwards back towards Great Glen.
You will come out onto London Road and luckily it has a pavement – on the other side of the road. More care is needed to cross the road and then turn right along the pavement and follow London Road all the way to The Pug and Greyhound where friendly service and refreshments await.
Great Glen > Little Stretton > King’s Norton > Burton Overy > Great Glen
Walk Leader: Deborah Martin
This walk is about 8.5 miles long.
Park at the recreation ground (off Bindleys Lane) car park and head west past the Social Club building and then north along the footpath. This path leads path the entrance to Penbury Farm, past the Sewage Works, and path the site of the Medieval Village of Stretton Magna before coming out onto Gartree Road opposite Mere Road.
Turn right onto Gartree Road, the old Roman Road, and then left at the next junction. The road leads into Little Stretton but just before the village go over the stile by a cattle grid to the left of the road and take the tree-lined path through the Manor grounds.
The footpath takes you past the church and brings you out onto Church Row after which you turn left at the junction and follow the lane all the way to the end where it meets Gaulby Road. There is a short cut across a field from the lane to Gaulby Road but it may be a little bit muddy after the weather we’ve had recently!
Whichever way you go, turn left onto Gaulby Road and head away from King’s Norton until the road crosses the River Sence after which there is a lay-by on the right leading to a footpath running parallel with Stretton Lane. Follow this path until you reach the cross-path between Cotterill Spinney and Larch Spinney. Turn right here and follow the path southeast along the edge of Larch Spinney to your left and past Norton Gorse on your right. Immediately after the Gorse the path forks.
Either fork will take you into King’s Norton via Gaulby Road. If you took the right fork turn left and head east until you reach the junction with Main Street on your right. If you took the left fork you exit opposite Main Street. This is pretty much the highest part of the walk.
Stroll down Main Street to the rather splendid Gothic Revival Church of St. John the Baptist. Take the road to the left past the church and follow it round until you reach a gateway on the right with a footpath leading across the fields (four of them). This path heads southwest and then south until it reaches Gartree (Roman) Road. Turn left onto Gartree and then almost immediately right onto another footpath leading across a further 4 fields until it exits onto Elms Lane. Turn right along the lane and then left onto Scotland Lane. Follow this lane into Main Street and keep going until you reach The Bell on your right.
Once suitably refreshed continue along Main Street and turn right into Bell Lane and then left onto Beadswell Lane. Follow this lane past the side of a house and onto another footpath. This last path leads you across no less than eight fields downhill onto London Road where you turn right to enter Great Glen. Continue along London Road before turning off onto Main Street opposite the Pug and Greyhound. Turn left onto Church Road and finally right onto Bindleys Lane and thence back to the car park at the recreation ground.
Tur Langton > Shangton > Carlton Curlieu > Tur Langton
Walk Leader: Dave Harvey
This walk is about 8 miles long.
Park at, or near, The Crown and head downhill away from the church. Just after the big white house on the right look out for the pathway on the right. The sign for the footpath is easily missed as it is on the wall behind you when you get to the pathway. It looks like a driveway but it does, eventually, lead to a footpath heading north across some fields.
Follow this footpath until it reaches Mere Road. You turn right here and head down toward the main road (B6047). Immediately before the B6047 is a road leading off to the left. This road takes you past an interesting little church and into the small village of Shangton. Turn left when you reach the junction and keep your eye out for a footpath sign on your right just before the house with a double garage on the left.
This footpath is fairly well signposted but there are a couple of awkward stiles to negotiate. The going may be a bit hard after wet weather but don’t let that put you off. At the end of the path you come to the Roman Road. The going now becomes very easy as you turn left onto the Roman Road and follow it past Carlton Curlieu Manor House and all the way along until it meets Burton Overy Lane. Here you leave the Roman (Gartree) Road and turn left onto Burton Overy Lane and enjoy the views as you follow the lane southwest for just over half a mile.
Just before the second cattle-grid, you have the choice of staying on the road and turning left to Carlton Curlieu or, if conditions allow, continuing over the cattle-grid and along to Chestnut Farm. At the farm take the footpath across the fields until you climb up and meet the road just before entering Carlton Curlieu. Unfortunately, unless you want to sit on the grass, there is nowhere to rest at the church. There is, however, a bench a bit further on at the road junction that would more than suffice as a coffee stop.
Whatever you decide, take the road to the right at the junction and head past Carlton Curtlieu Hall. Keep to the tarmac as the road out of Carlton Curlieu meets Kibworth Road. This road is a little busier but you won’t be on it for long. Turn left onto Kibworth Road and then very shortly right onto Mere Road. If you are following the map, of course you are, there are two cattle-grids marked on the map. They no longer exist but you can see where they used to be. Just after the second one there is a footpath to the right that leads across a field and heads toward Kibworth Road. Keep to the edge of the field as it may be easier than going across it, especially if it has been raining and the field freshly ploughed!
By keeping to the edge of the field it is easier to pick up the point where the path forks off to the left. Take this fork and follow the path to the farmyard where it joins the path you used at the beginning of the walk. Turn right after the gate and head down to the road, turn left and grab a pint or two at the welcoming Crown before heading off home!
Hallaton > Slawston > Blaston > Horninghold > Hallaton
Walk Leader: Dave Harvey
This walk is about 8.5 miles long.
Park at, or near, The Bewicke Arms and head towards the church. Take the road to the right, keeping the church on your left and head past the school and out of the village. Just after the the last house, go through the signed gate and head straight across the field to another gate. Go through this gate and round the cemetery and join the Leicestershire Round. Stay on the Round going up and over the hill and down to the site of the medieval village of Othorpe.
Turn off the Leicestershire Round at this point and take the footpath leading to Langton Road. Turn left onto Langton Road and then right onto Slawston Road. Continue on this road to the village of Slawston. Keep to Main Road through the village and join Hallaton Road just after the church.
Hallaton Road will take you all the way to the edge of Blaston to join Hornington Lane on the left. However, there is a lovely little church down the road just crying out for you to take a coffee break there. When you leave the church, retrace your steps up the hill and go straight along Horninghold Lane until it meets Hallaton Road. Turn right and head into the village where there is another interesting little church.
Opposite the entrance to the church, where Hallaton Road meets Knob Hill Road, is a short road that leads past some interestingly named cottages and through a farmyard. Here, the path splits and you need to take the one to the left. This footpath takes you across Alexton Road and up to Fearn Farm.
A sharp left at a confusing gateway and you are back on the Leicestershire Round / Macmillan Way. This path is pretty well signed until you leave it at the junction of East Norton Road and Allexton Road. Stay on the road all the way back to Hallaton and the pub!
Walk Leader: Janet Long
This walk is about 6 to 7 miles long.
Start at The Wharf public house.Turn right out of the pub car park and keep to the pavement along the A5199 and bear right and then take the footpath to the right just before the turning into West Street. Follow this path anti-clockwise past the sewage works and some allotments until it come out onto Hall Lane. Go straight over the lane and pick up the path heading away from the gateway on the opposite side. This is Shakespear’s Avon Way.
It’s not totally clear where the path leads from the gateway but if you stick reasonably close to the right of the pasture you will soon see a little bridge over the stream ahead. Stay on this path as it heads west through a series of fields and climbs a hill to give a magnificent view to the west. The path then drops down to meet the Grand Union Canal and you cross Bridge 38 and then follow the towpath south.
The footpath takes a number of deviations away from the canal as it meanders south but it’s probably better to stick to the towpath until it goes under underneath Cold Ashby Farm near Park Farm.
This is where you leave the canal behind (at Bridge 31) and head north-east on the Jurassic Way from Cold Ashby Road. You will cross a field and immediately walk into the cluster of contours known as Hemplow Hills. This tiny piece of wooded high ground is rather charming and when you emerge from the woods on the north-eastern fringe you will have wonderful views to the east.
There’s a picnic bench in the first grass field after the woods and this would probably be a good place for a coffee stop.
Follow the path until you reach the road where you turn left. This will take you past Hemplow Lodge Farm (still on the Jurassic Way) and then on to stretch of tarmac back to Welford on West End. Where West End becomes West Street you have a choice of going straight on or turning right into Church Lane and then left along High Street. Either way it’s pavement pounding until you get back to The Wharf to enjoy a bevvie or two.
Martinshaw Wood > Ratby Burroughs > Botcheston > Groby > Martinshaw Wood
Walk Leader: Dave Harvey
This walk is about 9 miles. Start at the car park at Martinshaw Wood (lat: 52.6546667, lon: -1.2484500). Take the path leading west to Ratby Burroughs. At the crosspaths (is that a word?) turn left and head south towards Woodlands Farm and then turn right along the footpath that leads into Botcheston.
This path takes you to the junction of Botcheston Road, Markfield Lane, and Main Street. Take the latter and head through the village. As you walk along Main Street keep a lookout for a footpath sign on the right with a bin attached and next to some uneven steps. Take the steps and head north to Glendale Farm.
The path leads onto Markfield Lane. Here turn left and head north along the lane for about 300 yards. Look out for a footpath on the right just after a large house and before reaching open countryside.
Head northeast along this path to Forest Hill Golf Club. The path meanders for a while before bringing you back to the crosspaths at Martinshaw Wood.
For those of you with a compass (?) you are heading just east of north ignoring two footpaths to the left whilst curving round to the right and taking the third path leading to Martinshaw Farm.
After the farm, turn left and tak the path through Choyce’s Rough keeping to the edge of the wood and then taling the right path to reach Markfield Lane (again). Turn left along the lane and head through the tunnel under the motorway (M1) and turn sharp right as soon as you leave the underpass.
After a very short while the path bears left and heads past Groby Lodge Farm and exits on the A50. Luckily, there is a pavement along this road so turn right and carry on along the right-hand side until you break away from the dual carriageway. Follow this road, also called Markfield Road, to The Stamford Arms where you can have a rest.
If and when you leave the pub, take Ratby Road and carry on until you reach Martinshaw Lane. Turn right onto the lane and continue onto Lawnwood Road, past Woodlands Drive until you find a footpath on the right as the road bears left into Woodbank Road.
This is the last stage of the walk as this footpath leads along the edge of Martinshaw Wood back to the car park.
Dave described the walk as “mildly hilly and hopefully dry”! It was both, although a bit soggy in places!