Fleckney, Arnesby, Shearsby, 5th February 2023
Leader: Janet Earwaker
From the car park, Janet led us along High Street past the Co-op and into Forge Close, through the esate and onto Wolsey Lane. We followed the jitties (a term used in the Midlands and also in mining communities in the south-east, notably Aylesham, for what I call “alleyways”) and crossed Kilby Road and Batchelor Road and on up to Coleman Road. We turned right on Coleman Road and crossed it to enter the newish housing estate and followed the path all the way to it’s termination at the first stile of the day.
The paths through the first two fields are well defined, the one across the third not so much. Folk tend to walk around this field and then across the fourth. We, however, decided to attempt to re-establish the footpath across the third field.
At the end of field four is effectively a cross-path. Straight ahead (over the stile) the footpath takes you to Kilby, right takes you to Wistow, left takes you to Arnesby and left is the way we went. This path is a bridleway and we followed it for a short distance until we reached a gate leading into a nice grassy field.
A field or two later and the bridleway exits onto Kilby Road at a gate. This is often a bit muddy and today was no exception! We crossed the road and took the drive leading to Waterleys Farm (otherwise known as Arnesby Lodge Farm). The track leads directly to the buildings but, strangely, the yellow posts directed us off to the right, diagonally across a field, and back to the track before reaching the buildings!
Once past the buildings we left the bridleway and trekked along a footpath to the left leading across five nice green fields. This footpath tweminates at a stile where we met the usually very busy and fast Welford Road (A5199) but as luck would have it there were roadworks there and thus very little traffic.
We crossed the main road onto Lutterworth Road and headed past Little India and on to St. Peter’s Road. A little way along St. Peter’s Road is a footpath sign on the left and this path leads back to the A5199 via a stile. This is an alternative return route if the walk is hard-going and it takes you on to Fleckney Road and thus all the back to Fleckney. Although the road was blocked off it was possible to get around the fence. However, on the left a little way along Fleckney Road is an ex-stile and a sign pointing diagonally across the field. Ignore the sign and go around the field to the left. You will soon come to a new track that is pretty much mud-free. This track, with the aid of a couple more, leads onto the bridleway that we all know and love and that comes out onto Main Street not too far from The Golden Shield.
Conditions were fine and so we continued down the road past St. Peter’s Church and followed the road around to the right. Where the road forks we took the narrow one on the left and this took us to a footpath and four more fields before coming out onto Church Lane in Shearsby.
We followed the lane past St. Mary Madelene to it’s end where it meets Back Lane. Across the road is The Square and that will lead you to Main Street and The Chandler’s Arms that looks over the village green. Either (or both) are ideal for a lunch break. As we were too early for the pub to be open we found a bench on the green and scoffed our butties etc.
Shearsby was exited via Back Lane as it led us back up to Welford Road. There were roadworks here that made it very quiet and easy to cross the road. We picked up the footpath to the right of the green fence at the entrance to New Inn Farm. This footpath is part of The Leicestershire Round and it eventually comes out onto Fleckney Road just after the barking dogs! We turned right here and on to Arnesby Road.
After a brief dicussion we decided to continue along The Leicestershire Round through the notoriously muddy field (that’s wasn’t too bad as there were no cattle about) and around onto Saddington Road.The trouble was that the footpath diversion around Appleyard Park was extremely muddy. Nevertheless, we trudged our way through and around onto dry land before walking almost all of the length of the footpath to Main Street. Just after the path changes from mud to tarmac we took a shortcut onto Edward Road and then another leading to The Golden Shield – an excellent terminus for the walk!