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The Leicestershire Wolds and Soar Valley

Landmine Awareness Route - By Gwilym Thomas

Information

Distance: 15 miles Time: 6-7 hours (plus stops)
Suitable For: Competent Walkers Terrain: Some steep slopes, but mostly undulating. Stiles, stepping stones and bad patch of nettles (June 2003)
Difficulty: Hard OS Map: Explorer 246

Starting Point: Loughborough Market Place (436 196)

Parking: Car parks in Loughborough (Multi Storey: Carillon court, Beehive lane - signposted, Free: Leicester Road, near council offices). PLEASE DO NOT PARK AT THE ENDOWED SCHOOLS.
Toilets: Loughborough Market Place (various pubs en route) Refreshments: See author's comment.
For driving directions to the start of this walk, please CLICK HERE
The Walk

Starting by McDonalds on the High Street, turn up Baxter Gate and walk past the bus shelters and the bingo hall. Turn left onto Sparrow Hill and walk round the back of the Parish Church. Bear right and cross the B589 and A6004. Head north on Meadow Lane, crossing the railway, then continue with the FKI/Brush works on your right. Soon after the end of the works, cross a small bridge on the road and then head immediately onto a footpath to the right. Of the two paths, take the one that heads under the railway, and over two bridges across the River Soar. Take the northernmost path on to Stanford Lane.

Cross the lane. You need to take the path on the south side of the field boundary, along the King’s Brook and past Black-a-Moors Spinney. At the junction of four paths turn right and join the A60 Rempstone Road at King’s bridge. Cross the road and continue the path, this time on the left- hand side of the field boundary. This path continues to Wymeswold.

When you reach London Lane in Wymeswold, turn right. At the end of this road, turn left onto Hoton Road and take the first right from here. Now heading south you should pass a brick scout hut, and soon after cross the road and follow a path diagonally across a field and south onto the B676, past Cliff Farm.

On the B676 head west into Burton-on-the-Wolds. At the mini-roundabout turn left. Soon after passing a school to your right, turn left down a track towards Walton. Once in Walton, head South, following the main road round the corner, past The Anchor pub. Climbing up the hill take the second right and walk past the church. Take the path to our left. Coming out through a small wooded strip, turn left along a bridleway and head down the hill and over Fishpool Brook. Follow the path up the other side of the hill and along the track past Quorn Park.

Cross Melton Road and continue along the bridleway until it turns into a field. From here take the path that branches off to your right, towards Barrow. Where five paths join, take the one that heads almost due west, into Barrow. Coming out on the road, turn left, and follow it to its conclusion. Here turn left, across the railway, and then right at the end. Cross this road and continue down to the roundabout, and take Barrow Road, down to the canal and river. Once over the canal and causeway, turn right on a path towards New Hayes Farm, and then right onto Flesh Hovel Lane.

Immediately after the sewage works, turn left, and head on the path towards the lake. Once past the lake, turn left onto the track, towards the A6 and Bull-in-the-Hollow Farm. Turn north on the A6, through Loughborough and to the marketplace.

VARIATIONS:

Obviously, you could start almost anywhere on the walk. Alternatively, after Barrow, you could take the canal path into Loughborough, but this was not used for the walk in question because of safety issues and the fact that  we did not start the walk in the market place, but at the Endowed Schools further down the A6

Author's Comment

I planned this walk for the Landmine-Awareness Sponsored Walk, and at 15½  miles it is not a short stroll!

There are a few points to watch out for. On the section between Stanford-on-Soar and the A60 there is an area where nettles, brambles and thistles are a serious problem. Although the area has now been cleared slightly, it is best to wear long trousers and long sleeves. An added precaution is to put on your waterproof trousers- this keeps the nettles at bay- but do not snag them on thistles!

The best time to start the walk during the summer, is around 1 o’clock in the afternoon. This means that you can be walking through the cooler evening.

And now to refreshments. It all depends where you start and what you have eaten already. There are pubs in Wymeswold and Burton-on-the-Wolds which are slightly off the route. The Anchor in Walton, as well as pubs near the canal in Barrow, are virtually on the route. There are also nice places in all the villages to eat a picnic.

Another word, make sure you have enough water, our group of six got through over 14 litres! But this area of Leicestershire did break the year’s records for temperature during the walk, and they didn’t rise much more over the rest of the summer. As there is no way a group of hikers could carry this much, we recommend you stop and buy some on the way, or have a support vehicle. If you are walking during the summer, this is essential.

Finally, it’s not a great walk for hay fever sufferers, especially in the summer. There are a couple of field of oil-seed rape and other irritant crops. This walk is not for the faint hearted - but have fun if you do undertake it!

While you are walking, please spare a thought for those who, due to landmines, are no longer able to walk. Once every 20 minutes someone is killed or maimed by a landmine. 40% of landmine victims are children, and only 5 to 10% are soldiers. These mines are claiming lives as you read this. Mines destroy communities physically, socially and economically. For these people daily tasks, like fetching water, have been made impossible. These people have lost everything, and you can make a difference to them. Visit www.landmine-awareness.net to find out how.

Landmine-Awareness is an organization that has been set up to increase awareness of these terrible weapons in the area. Landmine-Awareness also donates funds to Adopt-A-Minefield, a charity set up by the United Nations Association.

This walk raised over £600 for the charity. Those walking were Ashley Hilton, Daniel Spencer, Gwilym Thomas, Gethyn Thomas, Andrew Wells and Edward Williams. Roy Spencer, Alan Thomas and Chris Wells drove the support vehicles.

Gwilym Thomas

 

Editor's Comment

This walk was written for the landmine awareness by Gwilym Thomas, and he has also submitted this walk to the Leicesterwalk Website... so thanks go to him. I have walked this route myself, but that was in June 2003, so things may have changed. Please remember that neither Leicesterwalk, nor the author of the route nor any associated bodies can accept any responsibility or liability for loss or injury occurring as a result of this walk.

Please visit Landmine Awareness - it is a worthy cause, and one which I fully support. If you have any feedback on this walk, please email Leicesterwalk, and your message will be passed on to Gwilym.

D. Spencer