A gorgeous and very varied 6 night walking holiday, following some of the old mining railways and tram tracks that crisscrossed the region. The beautiful and varied countryside and rich history make it perfect for nature lovers and rail buffs alike. Explore the Leicester and Swannington Railway, one of the oldest railways in the world and built by the renowned Robert Stephenson. Walk along peaceful tramways tracks through the National Trust Calke Abbey. Explore the fascinating Snibston Colliery Country Park. Once a busy colliery, the site tells the history of coal in the area and is also home to the Century Theatre, the only remaining example of a travelling theatre. Travel on a heritage train along the Bosworth Battlefield Line. Visit the ruined castle at Ashby de la Zouch, the 1620's House and stately home and gardens of Calke Abbey and Melbourne Hall, after which Melbourne, Australia is named.
A shorter 4 night version of this walk is also available. Ask for more information
8 - 10 miles
Contact us. We recommend coordinating start date with Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Line timetable.
Ensuite rooms in traditional village pubs and guest houses
Bed and Breakfast
Ensuite accommodation on a b&b basis, car parking, luggage transfer, detailed self-guide route to follow at your own pace. We're on hand to offer local support when required.
Travel to your holiday starting point. Entry to attractions. Single supplement. Dinners. Extra nights. Travel insurance
A ride on the Bosworth Battlefield Line Heritage Railway. Walking through the varied and peaceful countryside. Discovering the legacy of rail in the region. A visit to ruined Ashby Castle and Grace Dieu. Fabulous gardens at 1620's House, Melbourne Hall and Calke Abbey. Watching the craftsmen at work within the magnificent grounds of Staunton Harold. Ambling around the pretty unspoiled little towns.
Arrive at your leisure today at your B&B, in the village of Swannington. The village is surrounded by lovely walks, perfect for stretching your legs. We will come and meet you once your have settled in, to welcome you to the National Forest and answer any questions about your walking holiday.
Day 2: Swannington to Shackerstone - 10 miles
Your walking holiday begins with a walk up the Swannington Incline. Built by the Leicester & Swannington Railway Company, the incline opened in 1834. It ran for 700 metres, with a coal powered steam engine used to haul the full trucks of coal and lower empty ones. As the coal seam was exhausted, the incline began to be used to lower coal to a nearby pumping engine. This continued until 1947, when an electric pump was installed. Today, the Incline is a popular wooded walk, with wild garlic and bluebells in spring. There are interpretation boards along the way, telling visitors the story of the Incline and how it connected to Robert Stephenson's railway network. From the Incline your walk takes you through an urban nature reserve and the edge of town to the Snibston Colliery Country Park. Look out for the old pit wheel, marking the entry to the site. The colliery, close to the town centre, was established by George and Robert Stephenson in 1831 and was a working mine until 1983. Today, many of the original buildings, including the pit wheel, are preserved and the site is a fascinating place to explore and learn more of the history behind the site. The site is also home to the Century Theatre, the only surviving travelling theatre. There's a lovely cafe at Snibston, if you're ready for a short break. Your walking holiday continues through the park and past some peaceful fishing lakes. From here peaceful lanes and tracks take you past the ancient church of Snibston and towards the 1620's House at Donington le Heath. Nestled amidst modern buildings this little museum is surrounded by beautiful knot and medicinal gardens. The House tells the story of life in 1620's rural England. A wander through a bird reserve, a bird watcher's paradise, brings you to the Sence Valley. This was a large open cast mine until 1996, when it became a nature reserve. The site is now crisscrossed with lovely paths and a large lake lies in the bottom. The site has recently been extended and you will see some more recent plantings along your route. Your walk crisscrosses rural fields from here to reach the small canalside village of Shackerstone. Here you will find the Bosworth Battlefield Steam Railway, which will take you to tonight's overnight stay in Market Bosworth. If time allows, then we recommend tea on the station platform, served by the Victorian tea room. It's a short walk from the station in Market Bosworth to your hotel in the heart of the little town of Market Bosworth, where you will find a choice of places to enjoy a meal.
Day 3: Market Bosworth to Ibstock - 8 miles
Your walking holiday begins today with a wonderful wander along the peaceful Ashby Canal, back towards Shackerstone. If you are feeling energetic then ask us for a 3 mile diversion to Gopsall Hall, where you will find the ruins of an old temple folly. This is thought to have been where Handel wrote part of the Messiah. On a sunny day, we recommend calling in at the Rising Sun pub in Shackerstone. This lovely old pub sits near the canal and is always popular on a sunny day. Cutting across flat agricultural land and into woodland, your route takes you towards the little village of Ibstock, where you will find today's bed and breakfast.
Day 4: Ibstock to Ashby de la Zouch - 8 miles
The start of your walk today might be familiar, as you skirt the edge of Sence Valley. From here your walking holiday brings you to a more recent, but equally stunning woodland planting at Queen Elisabeth Diamond Jubilee Woods. Another former opencast quarry, this is now a tranquil walk, with many different woodland groves and over 300,000 trees, as well as older woodland Walk past the first tree, planted by Princess Anne in 2012, by the edge of the lake and discover the human sundial. From here a peaceful green lane takes you into the village of Packington, on the outskirts of Ashby de la Zouch. Stop to look at the ancient village lock up, on the edge of the village and to admire the flamboyant cow art installation of a local artist. The route takes you to Ashby Castle, close to the centre of the bustling market town. The ruined castle is an English Heritage site and was mentioned in the novel Ivanhoe. Today's hotel, a Premier Inn, lies just outside the town. With it's castle and little alleyways and courtyards, Ashby de la Zouch is a popular place for an overnight stay. There is an excellent range of places to eat and drink in the town centre. The railway still runs along the edge of the town, but is currently only used for freight.
Day 5: Ashby to Ticknall - 8 miles
Today's walking route takes you through the stunning South Derbyshire countryside towards the village of Ticknall. It's a beautiful walk, through unspoilt countryside and woodland. Some of the route follows the old Ticknall to Ashby tramway, built by the Ashby Canal Company. Keep an eye open for deer as you walk. The route takes you to Staunton Harold Estate, where you will find a courtyard full of artisan craft shops, a cafe and a deli packed with delicious goodies, perfect for a picnic. If the sun is shining then discover the spectacular oak Noon Column, hidden in the woodland. From here a walk through a popular nature reserve brings you to the Tramway Trail, surrounding Calke Abbey. The restored track was originally horse drawn and built to link the local mines and lime kiln quarries to the canal network. The trail winds it's way through the wonderful Derbyshire countryside, to the village of Ticknall, your stop for the night.
Day 6: Ticknall to Melbourne - 5 miles The first part of today's walk takes you into the Calke Abbey estate and along the tramway track to the old lime kilns. A short diversion will take you past the deer park and to Calke Abbey House and Gardens. Take your time exploring the grounds. The sunny courtyard is the perfect place for a coffee on a sunny day. From here your walking holiday continues along the banks of a reservoir to the pretty little town of Melbourne. We recommend a visit to Melbourne Hall gardens, if open. The town is full of little alleyways and lovely independent shops. There's a wide choice of places to eat tonight.
Day 7: Melbourne to Swannington - 10 miles The final day of your walking holiday begins with a walk past the Hall and tranquil Pool. A wonderful walk through fields takes you to the village of Wilson, where you will join the Cloud Trail. Built on the tracks of the old Midland Railway this popular all purpose path takes you to the village of Worthington. Alternatively, you can opt for a hillier option via Breedon church, where you can enjoy fabulous views over the surrounding countryside. Country lanes and paths take you to the woodlands of Grace Dieu, where you will find the ruins of an old priory, close to the entrance. The Charnwood Forest Railway ran through Grace Dieu on its way from Loughborough to Coalville. At the time it was known as the Bluebell Line, for the displays of bluebells alongside the tracks in Spring. The 6 arch viaduct can still be seen in the woodland. From here your route follows woodland paths and open tracks, back to Swannington and the starting point of your walking holiday.