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.
We would class this holiday as strenuous. If you prefer a more relaxed walking holiday, we also offer a 10-night option to enjoy at a leisurely pace.
Note: This is a one way holiday. Transfers are not included.
10 - 12 miles
Start any day, all year
Very comfortable 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
The views from Beacon Hill, at the start of your walking holiday
The changing English countryside as you walk through the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire
Exploring the house and gardens at Calke Abbey
Enjoying a waterside drink at Barton Marina
Wonderful woodland walking through both ancient and newer woodland
Day 1: Arrival Your self-guided walking holiday starts in the Charnwood area of the National Forest. Guests arriving by train can arrive in style, with a trip on the Great Central Railway. 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. Enjoy a meal in one of the lovely pubs in the area and perhaps an evening stroll.
Day 2: 9.5 miles The first day of your walking holiday begins with at Beacon Hill in Charnwood. This is one of the highest point in Leicestershire and takes its name from its importance as a signal point. This area is known for its rocky crags and forms part of the Charnwood Geopark. One of the oldest known animal predator fossils was found in the Charnwood region. It is named Auroralumina attenboroughii after Sir David Attenborough, who lived locally as a child.The area is also famous for one of the oldest fossilised animals: Charnia masoni. Your route takes you through a delightful orchard and rare breeds farm, towards the deer park at Bradgate. Admire the Old John Folly and continue through beautiful woodland and protected countryside towards Markfield and tonight's accommodation.
Day 3: 10 miles The countryside becomes flatter and the landscape more developed, as you walk today. Look out for waterfowl as you walk alongside Thornton Reservoir. Much of this part of your walk has been transformed in the last 40 years. The Royal Forestry Society’s Battram Wood showcases how woodland can be managed for different uses including leisure and commercial timber. Hidden away amongst newer houses, the 1620's House and Garden are a delight. One of the oldest buildings in Leicestershire. The house has been restored to provide an insight into life in the 1620s, when it was owned by the Digby family. The Digby family were part of the Gunpowder Plot conspiracy. The House also includes a beautifully restored Knot Garden, where you will find a lovely little cafe. We suggest taking a taxi from here to your hotel tonight in Ashby de la Zouch, meaning that you will have walked 10 miles. Birdwatchers may wish to continue a short distance into the RSPB bird reserve at Kelham Bridge. Home tonight is either a simple but very comfortable bed and breakfast or the Premier Inn in Ashby. Here you will find a wide range of places to enjoy a delicious meal.
Day 4: 11 miles Start today with a trip to Ashby Castle, in the heart of the town. Ashby Castle, is run by English Heritage. The ruined castle features in the novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. Most of the castle was destroyed in the civil war, but the tower remains intact and offers great views. Underground passages connect the kitchens to the tower. Once you leave the town, it's a stunning walk from here into the grounds of National Trust Calke Abbey and the county of Derbyshire. Described as the "unstately" stately home, the house is full of wonderful collections. A short diversion will bring you to a wonderful craft brewery, set in an old farm yard. From here, your walk takes you through the pretty village of Ticknall before following a woodland path, alongside a reservoir. Home tonight is a village pub, which has very comfortable rooms and delicious food.
Day 5: 7 miles Today you will walk through the heart of the National Forest. Admire the beautiful shady woodland, where once there were coalmines. A short diversion brings you to a wonderful arboretum, full of rare trees from around the world. From here, admire the alpacas as you walk towards the pretty little village of Blackfordby. Look out for the ancient spring in Blackfordby, before heading down an old green lane towards Conkers visitor centre. Garden lovers will enjoy visiting the award winning Chelsea meta garden, which is now sited at Conkers. Hard to believe this was once an old coalmine. Close by you will find Moira Furnace, alongside a restored section of the Ashby Canal. Enjoy a boat trip along the canal, or visit the small museum to learn more. Woodland tracks and trails bring you to our home tonight - a luxurious B&B.
Day 6: 11 miles It's a lovely walk through varied woodland to the Rosliston Forestry Centre. Learn more about the making of the National Forest and admire the views as you enjoy a coffee at the cafe. Open farmland takes you from here to the riverside village of Walton on Trent, where you will find a lovely pub. Cross the river and enter a riverside nature reserve. The final part of today's walk follows the River Trent, through the water meadows. Look out for swimmers as you walk - this is a popular place for wild swimming. Tonight's hotel sits alongside the River Trent. It has a lovely riverside beer garden - perfect for a welcoming evening drink.
Day 7: 8 miles The first part of your walk today follows the Trent and Mersey canal, before climbing into the Staffordshire countryside. Walk through a nature reserve, with wide expanses of reed bed. A hilly climb offers great views, before you enter mature woodland. You will keep getting glimpses of Rangemore Hall, before entering the little village of Rangemore. The hall was once home to William Bass, of the brewing dynasty. Walk through rolling agricultural land to St George's Park, the training ground of the English Football Team. Tonight's hotel is the grand Hilton Hotel, set in the grounds of St George's. Treat yourself to a massage or simply relax in the lovely pool and sauna.
Magical holiday. Totally recommended. Extremely helpful at every stage. We did a walking holiday. The routes were clear and very enjoyable. The luggage transfers worked perfectly
Phil and Jill