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|Lilleshall Discovery Trail|
|Author: NSC, Published: 18 Aug 2015||Walk rating : Rating:|
|IMPORTANT NOTE: As this site is a designated National Sports Centre, DOGS are currently NOT ALLOWED in the grounds or gardens of Lilleshall. Should this position change in the future, we will remove this note. |
A 2.5 mile (4km) circular walk around the beautiful gardens and grounds of Lilleshall National Sports and Conferencing Centre near Telford in Shropshire. Set in spectacular and secluded surroundings, Lilleshall is one of the UK’s National Sports Centres, training grounds and centres of excellence for the country’s leading sportsmen and women. Originally built as a country house and hunting lodge for the Duke of Sutherland, you will have chance to discover Lilleshall’s many gems including the Italian water garden, the pet cemetery and the world-class sport facilities.
The walk includes just a couple of gentle slopes and you will also need to negotiate a couple of gates plus several flights of steps. The majority of the route follows surfaced paths, but the parts through the wild sections of meadow can get a little muddy at times. There is a cafe bar, Queens Bar, at the start of the route to allow you to enjoy refreshments before or after your walk. Please note that dogs are NOT allowed in the grounds. You are likely to come across free roaming peacocks within the grounds. Approximate time 1 hour.
Lilleshall National Sports and Conferencing Centre is located just north of Telford close to the A41, approximately 3 miles from the town of Newport. The main entrance gates to the centre are situated on Pave Lane, which can be accessed from the north via the A518 and from the south via the A41. In both cases please follow the signs for National Sports Centre. Once you have passed through the entrance gates, the centre is accessed via the two mile sweeping driveway and free parking is available in the visitor car park. Approximate post code for Sat Nav TF10 9LQ.
|Start to Apple Walk|
Start point: 52.7276 lat, -2.3726 long
To begin the walk, make your way to the main customer reception and entrance for the Queens Bar at the centre of the site. Queens Bar serves a range of refreshments throughout the day, including hot and cold food and beverages, making it an ideal place to prepare for the journey ahead. Equally, if you want to continue your peaceful and relaxing experience at Lilleshall after your walk, the Queens Bar is a perfect setting for a relaxed meal on your return.
|Apple Walk to Temple|
Start point: 52.7273 lat, -2.3745 long
Walk through the tunnel of apple walk. Apple walk was once a pergola walk of c.600ft in length, consisting of a series of iron arches built into stone foundations. The pergola itself was covered throughout with apple trees and climbing roses. Today, just a third of the original length of pergola remains and is planted with roses, vines, wisteria and clematis.
|Temple to Pet Cemetery|
Start point: 52.7277 lat, -2.3785 long
Having passed under the temple arches, follow the grass path through this wilder section of the grounds (passing to the left of the first oak tree and to the right of the second). Immediately after the second oak tree the path swings sharp left then right and leads you between the rhododendron bushes. You will emerge to a crossroads with a tarmac access track.
|Pet Cemetery to Italian Water Gardens|
Start point: 52.7266 lat, -2.3784 long
Standing facing the cemetery, turn left along the tarmac access drive (Duchess Walk) to continue your journey around the estate. The driveway swings steadily left, leading between many more impressive tree specimens.
|Italian Water Gardens to Sports Grounds|
Start point: 52.7272 lat, -2.3754 long
Make your way along the stone walkway which leads you between the pools (taking particular care with children) and head up the steps at the far side. Keep ahead to enter the dial garden, a formal circular flower garden, enclosed by yew hedges and dating from 1832.
|Sports Grounds to Clump of Trees|
Start point: 52.7247 lat, -2.3726 long
It is at this point that you can appreciate the scale of the sporting facilities here at the UK’s flagship National Sports Centre. Having been sold by Herbert Ford in 1949, Lilleshall was officially opened as a National Recreation Centre in 1951. By 1954 the centre was extended to become home for a number of sports including cricket, rugby league, rugby union, lawn tennis, badminton, hockey, lacrosse, netball and association football. Famously the England World Cup squad stayed at Lilleshall before their World Cup victory in 1966. Today, several national governing bodies of sport and other professional organisations are based at the centre, including the Olympic sports of gymnastics and archery, together with the English Institute of Sport. The centre has helped many medal winning gymnasts and archers achieve Olympic and Paralympic glory.
|Clump of Trees to End|
Start point: 52.7203 lat, -2.3738 long
Follow the path swinging left, following the edge of the clump of trees on the left. When you see the artificial turf pitches ahead, walk back towards these and, as you reach a smaller copse of trees, turn right to exit the meadow. After just a few paces you will emerge to a T-junction at the edge of the grass sports grounds.
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2015 by the author NSC and may not be reproduced without permission.
The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.
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