This 10 night self-guided walking holiday is our most popular option for walkers completing the National Forest Way. Covering between 8 and 10 miles each day, it offers the perfect opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and immerse yourself in the ever changing countryside. This walking holiday includes a rest day half way through the break, providing an opportunity for a relaxing day to recharge the batteries.
Starting at one of the highest points in Leicestershire, this walking holiday covers 75 miles, through the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire. Walkers can expect lots of variety along the route, from the ancient volcanic crags of Charnwood Geopark, to the wetlands of the Trent Valley. The National Forest Way passes through many small towns and villages along the way, as it weaves through the counties. Walk through ancient and newer woodland, and learn about the transformation of the landscape from one scarred by mining, to today's canopy of green. The woodland is full of wildlife. Listen out for a woodpecker, or stop at one of the lakes to watch the sandpipers at play.
Your walking holiday begins at Beacon Hill, Charnwood, and ends at the stunning National Memorial Arboretum near Lichfield. Walking for an average of 4 hours each day, you will have plenty of time for relaxed picnics and sightseeing along the way. There's plenty to explore , including historic Ashby Castle, National Trust's Calke Abbey and the charming craft workshops at Staunton Harold.
In late Spring, the late winter display of snowy white snowdrops gives way to a blue carpet of wonderful bluebells and the air is scented by the wild garlic. Look out for the many cherry trees in summer and enjoy a delicious snack as you walk. Autumn walkers are rewarded with a spectacular display of colour from the changing foliage and delicious apples from the many community orchards along the way. Fungi fans will enjoy identifying the many different varieties found in the woodlands.
We also offer a 7 night option for guests preferring a more energetic walking holiday. Guests often choose to add a night in Lichfield at the end of this holiday.
Note: This is a one way holiday. Transfers are not included.
8 - 10 miles
Start any day, all year
Lovely ensuite inns, B&Bs and hotels
Bed and Breakfast
Ensuite accommodation on a b&b basis, car parking, luggage transfer when moving hotels, detailed self-guide route to follow at your own pace. We're on hand to offer local support when required
Travel to and from your holiday starting point. Entry to attractions. Single supplement. Dinners. Extra nights. Travel insurance
Taking time to enjoy the changing countryside
Exploring the ruins of Ashby Castle
Looking out for deer in Bradgate Park
Wandering through the glorious grounds of National Forest Calke Abbey
Day 1: Arrival 8 miles Your self-guided walking holiday starts in the Quorn area of the National Forest. Guests arriving by train can arrive in style, via the Great Central Railway. We suggest that you arrive early today and walk the first part of the National Forest Way, which we have planned as a circular from your hotel. It's a lovely walk around Beacon Hill, one of the highest points in Leicestershire and part of the Charnwood GeoPark. We will meet you, once you have settled into your first hotel. We'll share our favourite places to stop along the way and answer any questions. Be sure to let us know if you have any special interests – we live locally and are experts in the area.
Day 2: 8 miles It's a gentle walk past Swithland reservoir and onto picture perfect Swithland village. A delightful woodland walk takes you to the ancient deer park, Bradgate Park, where you rejoin the National Forest Way. Admire the Old John folly, on top of the hill and look out for deer as you walk through the vast country park. In autumn Bradgate is one of the most popular places in the country for wildlife photographers to capture photos of the rutting deer. The popular village of Newton Lindford id the perfect place to enjoy a late lunch or afternoon tea, before the final part of today's walk. A woodland walk takes you on a diversion from the National Forest Way to your hotel for tonight. If you're full of energy, then a delightful 4 mile diversion after Newton Linford brings you to the arts and crafts cottage of Stoneywell, which was recently the backdrop for the BBC series “Make it at Market.”
Day 3: 8 miles Follow the Leicestershire Round long distance path to Thornton Reservoir, where you rejoin the National Forest Way. Much of the walking today is through newer plantations built on former colliery and opencast sites. Bagworth Woods is built on the site of the old Desford Colliery and is now a mix of woodland and heathland. The numerous ponds are subsidence flashes and attract in a wide variety of birdlife. Some of the woodland is experimental to test different techniques of woodland creation on reclaimed land. The final stretch of today's walk is through Battram Wood, which is owned by the Royal Forestry Society. The woodland is a showcase for managing woodland for multiple uses and contains a variety of income plantations, as well as oak and yew trees for future generations to enjoy. Woodland paths take you almost to the door of tonight's simple but very comfortable B&B.
Day 4: 8 miles After rejoining Battram Wood, the National Forest Way enters a more built up part of the National Forest. Hidden amongst the development is the lovely little 1620 House. Learn about life in 1620's Leicestershire and relax over coffee in the delightful knot garden. Keen birdwatchers will want to divert from the National Forest Way into an RSPB wetland reserve for the next part of the journey. As you wander through the woodland at Sence Valley, it's hard to imagine that this was an enormous open cast, just 30 years ago. Today the woods are full of birdsong and there are fabulous views over the trees. The site has recently been extended as part of the Forestry England centenary celebrations. The final part of today's walk takes you through one of the largest new woodlands in the National Forest. The first tree was planted by Princess Anne, as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The lovely mix of deciduous plantations are a delight to walk through. Home tonight is a delightful cottage in the centre of the village of Packington. You will find a hamper of delicious local produce waiting for you in the cottage, where you will spend two nights. The village pub is just 2 minutes walk from the cottage – perfect for a well-earned evening drink before dinner.
Day 5: Rest Day Today is a rest day to enjoy at your leisure. Amble around the village, where you will find the old village lock-up. Wander further into the bustling town of Ashby and visit the castle today. Or indulge in a spa day at Champney Springs, which is a short walk from the village.
Day 6: 9 miles Leave behind the development, as your walking holiday takes you onwards to Derbyshire. It's a beautiful undulating walk, following an old tramway line and crossing through some of the large country estates in the area. A short diversion brings you to a bustling courtyard of craft workshops, together with a cafe and deli. It's a short walk from here to the National Trust property Calke Abbey. Known as the “unstately” stately home, the house is full of collections and clutter from years gone by. It's a wonderful walk through the grounds of Calke Abbey to your home for tonight, in the pretty Derbyshire village of Ticknall. Beer lovers will want to divert into the Milking Parlour, a fabulous craft brewery, set in an old farmyard. Tonight's accommodation is a delightful country pub, in the heart of the village.
Day 7: 5 miles Walk past the ruins of the old church and follow an old bridleway along the crest of a hill. This section of the walk offers far-reaching views into the Derbyshire Peak District. From here, the National Forest Way takes you through the woods, alongside a river and onwards to the village of Hartshorne. Home for tonight is a lovely village pub, known locally for its excellent food.
Day 8: 9 miles First stop today is the little village of Smisby. Directly opposite the church you will find another village lock up. The church is over 950 years old and is grade 1 listed. Sir Walter Scott came up with the idea of his novel Ivanhoe after visiting the church tower and seeing the tournament fields around the castle in neighbouring Ashby. Garden lovers will enjoy a visit to the Bluebell Arboretum in the village. Whilst still relatively new, the grounds of full of some very rare trees. They are especially worth visiting in spring and autumn, when they are in full colour. Watch out for alpacas on the next part of today's walk, as you head into the heart of the National Forest. Nettles from the green lane here were used to make uniforms for local lads from mining families, heading to the front line in World War 1. Learn about the old blast furnace, sitting alongside a restored stretch of the Ashby Canal, before a delightful walk past fishing lakes and onwards to your hotel for tonight – a delightful B&B, known for its delicious breakfasts.
Day 9: 9 miles This morning the National Forest Way takes you along green lanes and through woodland to Rosliston Forestry Centre. It's a great place to learn more about the forest and enjoy a drink, before heading out of the woods and towards the Trent Valley and the River Trent. After crossing the river into Staffordshire, you will divert from the National Forest Way to walk to your hotel for tonight. Enjoy a well-earned drink at the bustling Barton Marina before continuing into the busy village of Barton under Needwood. Accommodation tonight is in another pub, again known for the quality of its food.
Day 10: 5 miles Just 5 minutes from your hotel, you enter the wonderful Dunstall estate. Walk through the glorious parkland and onwards to the village of Dunstall., once home to Richard Arkwright. The pretty church was funded by the Arkwright family, before they moved north to Cromford, Derbyshire. The estate lands join the large Rangemore estate and a bridleway takes you up the hills to the village of Rangemore. Rejoin the National Forest Way here to walk to St George's Park, the training home of English Football. The centre is set in magnificent countryside and is a football lovers dream. Home tonight is the grand Hilton, set in the heart of St George's Park. Indulge in a massage or enjoy a swim and sauna in the adjoining health club.
Day 11: 9 miles The final day of your walking holiday takes you through the woodland of Jackson's Bank and the village of Hoar Cross. The Deer Park is the perfect place for a coffee before heading to the village of Yoxall. The path from here follows the River Swarbourn before heading into woodland and then onwards to the water meadows at Alrewas. It's a short walk from here to the end of your walking holiday at the magnificent Natonal Memorial Arboretum.