Sunday 6th November 2011
Rolleston, Goadby & Noseley – approx 7.25 miles
Ordnance Survey Explorer OL233 – Leicester & Hinckley
New Inn – Rolleston – Rolleston Wood – Goadby – Horse Hill – Glooston Lodge – Woolpits Planting – Noseley Hall Old Park – The Avenue – Top Lodge – New Inn
Bright and sunny to begin with but cooler than of late. Gradually clouding over from lunchtime.
Another Sunday; another nice morning.
Given the poor forecast we had gleaned from both radio and Internet, we were quite surprised to wake to clear skies and sunshine instead of the predicted mist and drizzle. We are certainly enjoying some lovely, bright weather at times this autumn, always a pleasant surprise when the winter months are looming nearer.
Having quickly decided it was a morning worthy of a good walk we wasted no time in grabbing our kit and heading out.
Our chosen circuit, located a few miles north of Market Harborough, showcases much of what is good about this rural corner of South Eastern Leicestershire – quiet agricultural land and rolling countryside, interspersed with the mature parkland of the many grand houses of the area.
Although there is a fair proportion of road walking, the lanes are generally quiet and good progress can be made, even in winter, making it ideal for a half-day walk practically year-round. However, the predominance of parkland and of architectural trees means the colours are often at their best in autumn when the foliage is ablaze.
After parking in a convenient lay-by on the busy B6047, we entered the grounds of Rolleston Hall, a private estate inhabited during its history by both the La Zouche family (of Ashby de la Zouch fame) and one of Churchill’s relatives.
Following the road between an avenue of mature chestnut trees, a couple of horse riders crossed ahead of us.
For those not in the know, this is a pretty posh place – nowadays, Rolleston village is essentially private, and consists in the main of estate property.
Turning southeast, we made our way past a lake and out into the countryside, at first following a well-graded track before cutting across the fields to cross a small stream by way of a plank bridge.
A short climb led us to the brow of the hill, before a steady descent along a tree-lined track brought us out on Palmers Lane.
Then it was uphill once more – another steady climb along the road into Goadby village, where a very handy bench provided a good coffee stop.
The next stretch consisted of more road walking, this time southwards towards Glooston. Although open to traffic, it is usually a pretty quiet stretch, however the few cars, walkers and cyclists encountered today made it feel unusually busy.
By the farm at Glooston Lodge, we turned right, re-entering the fields. A gradual incline brought us to the brow of the hill from where views of Noseley Hall opened up ahead, the sun now illuminating the trees and showing the foliage in all its glory.
We dropped steeply down to cross a narrow, unnamed stream, then climbed once more through a field with parkland becoming more apparent ahead of us. The path led us through a small copse then skirted another large field where we stopped for lunch. Sitting on a low bank in the sunshine near Noseley Wood was the perfect spot in which to eat our sandwiches.
Moving on, we followed a clear track through the parkland, with glimpses of Noseley Hall visible through the trees. It’s an impressive house. Soon we met the road and turned left, uphill. A short way on, by Top Lodge, we joined the gated lane into Rolleston Hall estate – grassy down the centre and spattered with sheep droppings – from where it was a short walk back to the car.
Obviously, this is no epic walk. And, at just over seven miles, it is barely more than a half-day. But it is a good indicator of the type of countryside found in these parts, and satisfies that urge to go somewhere for a walk – feeling distant without actually being too far away at all.
We’ve done this route (or variations on it) several times now, although this is the first time I have written it up. It has become one of our “go to” walks when we fancy making a bit more effort over travelling, and one which we will probably come back to again and again, simply because it has a lot to offer, is easily do-able in a short time, and can be done in all year round without getting too mucky – regardless of underfoot conditions.