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Great Central Railway: Quorn to Rothley

There are currently 1 comments and 1 photos online for this walk.

Great Central Railway: Quorn to Rothley
Author: Steve Hallam, Published: 28 Apr 2017 Walk Rating:star1 Great Central Railway: Quorn to Rothley Walking Guide star1 Great Central Railway: Quorn to Rothley Walking Guide star1 Great Central Railway: Quorn to Rothley Walking Guide star1 Great Central Railway: Quorn to Rothley Walking Guide star1 Great Central Railway: Quorn to Rothley Walking Guide
Leicestershire, Loughborough
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Great Central Railway: Quorn to Rothley
Length: 7 miles,  Difficulty: boot Great Central Railway: Quorn to Rothley Walking Guide boot Great Central Railway: Quorn to Rothley Walking Guide
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IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a linear walk that uses a steam train for the return leg. Services are usually limited to weekends and bank holidays plus selected weekdays in the summer, so check timetables before you travel.

This 6.5 mile linear walk in Leicestershire runs through varied and attractive countryside, and offers a ride with style back to the start, courtesy of the Great Central Railway’s steam hauled trains. It runs from the railway’s Quorn and Woodhouse station, 2.5 miles south of Loughborough, to Rothley station. The first section of the walk runs alongside a delightful little river, and provides good views of the railway, while the latter part takes you through the mature Oak woodland of Swithland woods.

Most of the walking is on paths and tracks, with 0.9 mile along roadside pavements. The riverside walk can get very wet and muddy after rain. There are 9 stiles on the walk, but none of them pose a barrier for most dogs. This is a good walk for dogs, as evidenced by the number I passed whilst tracking it. Livestock is only likely to be encountered in a field in the first section, and another one in the last. Allow 3.5 hours for the walk, plus trainspotting time.

The walk starts from the car park of Quorn and Woodhouse station, LE12 8AG. However you could also arrive here by GCR train, joining the railway at one of its other three stations – Loughborough Central (NOT Midland!), Leicester North, or Rothley. Quorn is served by the Arriva bus route 126 from Leicester to Coalville, Arriva bus route 127 from Leicester to Shepshed, Kinchbus route 2, from Loughborough to Leicester, and Centrebus route 154, from Loughborough to Leicester. The return leg can be completed via the railway, trains normally run every weekend, bank holidays and selected weekdays in the summer. Check timetables at www.gcrailway.co.uk

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Walk Sections

Start to Bridge over Railway
Start to Bridge over Railway

Start point: 52.7407 lat, -1.1871 long
End point: 52.7242 lat, -1.1818 long

The track for this walk starts outside of Butler Henderson’s café, in the car park of Quorn station on the Great Central Railway. You can leave Quorn and Woodhouse station either through the car park and along the access drive, or by climbing the flight of steps by the Booking Office on the platform. If you choose this way, at the top of these steps turn right and walk down the road towards the Manor House.

Opposite the Manor House pub, turn right along the prosperous looking residential Chaveney Road. Soon after its sharp left-hand bend, on the right there are yellow signs for Mill Farm Camping and Caravanning site, with a track running between two houses. (There is also a green footpath fingerpost, but it is buried within Ivy and virtually invisible). Take this track and then walk through what was once a stile to follow a path. The path crosses another stile and meanders through bushes along the banks of a stream. This stretch can be wet after heavy rain, but it is a lovely little valley. It is brilliant for dogs that like water and mud e.g. any proper ones – note that all of the stiles have gaps for dogs. You come to a small triangular open area, where you keep right, as indicated by a footpath marker post.

At a yellow marker sign hop athletically over a stile and walk along the edge of the field, following a path between the hedge and a fence. Cross a small stream, swing sharp right, then left to follow the path along an arch of trees.

The path crosses another bridge, negotiates a stile and goes diagonally across a small field of rough grass. To the left is woodland and on the right the Great Central Railway runs high on an embankment above. The path crosses a stile and climbs a slight bank, before another stile that brings it out onto Kinchley Lane.

Bridge over Railway to End of Village Houses
Bridge over Railway to End of Village Houses

Start point: 52.7242 lat, -1.1818 long
End point: 52.7137 lat, -1.2008 long

Turn right and cross the Great Central Railway on Kinchley Lane. This is a popular place for railway photographers, as it overlooks a sweeping curve through attractive woodland, as captured by the main overview image for this walk. It is an ideal spot to marvel at the wonders of the railway steam locomotive which, as any discerning observer will recognise, forms the apogee of mankind’s design, technical and aesthetic achievements. It’s been downhill ever since.

Ignore the footpath signposted on the left about 30 metres after the bridge. Instead, walk down the lane for 650 metres and then take a bridleway that is signposted on the left, through a metal pedestrian gate. As you walk down the lane the higher land in front of you is the ‘majestic massif’ of Charnwood Forest. Charnwood Forest is of volcanic origin and its rocks date back through 600 million years to Precambrian times. It was the site of the first discovery of the earliest known large, complex fossilised species and remains the only place in Western Europe where these Precambrian fossils have been found (Source: Wikipedia).

The bridleway runs down the left side of a field. At the end of this field, go through a metal pedestrian gate and walk up the side of a second field. You walk past a large barn, on your right, and continue straight on to join a track. Follow this past a large metal gate to reach the main road of Swithland village. Cross the road and turn right. Notice much use of the locally quarried blue-grey stone.

End of Village Houses to Road
End of Village Houses to Road

Start point: 52.7137 lat, -1.2008 long
End point: 52.7052 lat, -1.1909 long

At the end of the houses on the left side of the road (and opposite the Main Street sign), turn left to walk down the right side of the last house, on a fenced path. (There was once a Bridleway sign here, but when I tracked the walk the fingerpost had disappeared and all that remained was a rather forlorn and pointless metal post.)

Follow the path over a stile, continue forwards and then enter the wood over another stile. This is a lovely ancient Oak woodland – you could almost think you were somewhere in Wales. Continue straight ahead, following the yellow topped ‘Horse track’ posts. The track crosses a ditch and continues straight ahead up a rising path. You will find yourself walking alongside a wooden fence with a 'No admittance' and other warning signs on it. Where this fence bends to the right to disappear, you turn left, onto another bridleway to head out of the woods. (This turn is by a litter bin within a timber cage, as shown in the gallery).

Once out of the woods, the bridleway becomes a fenced path. Continue straight on down the path (ignoring the path that goes off on the right) which passes a substantial property on your right, before following the drive of this property to the road.

Road to End
Road to End

Start point: 52.7052 lat, -1.1909 long
End point: 52.7047 lat, -1.16 long

Cross the road to take a signposted bridleway slightly to your right. The track runs in a more or less straight line towards a noticeable large house, and then descends towards Swithland. You will note an area where an extensive badger set has been built either side of the path. Signs put up by the local council indicate that this poses a trip hazard - to humans we assume, not the badgers.

The path goes through a gate into a grass field, with a visible path running across the field towards where a track leaves the field (to the left of the large house that has been visible since you crossed the last road). To follow the rights of way, you walk to the start of this track, then turn around to the right to walk back across the same field (about 5 o'clock) back to nearly where you’ve just come from. The path across the grass is not very visible, but the best marker is a 4-ish foot high wooden post sticking out of the grass at a slight angle. When you get there you will a) see a stile in the hedge that is invisible until you are almost on it, and b) realise that if you had turned right as you entered this field, to walk along the hedge, you would have saved yourself both some energy and some confusion (well, I did, anyway).

Once over the stile, turn left along the edge of the next field to head into some trees, where the path crosses a concrete footbridge over a stream. Walk up the left side of the next field before going around the right side of the trees at the top. Go through a gap in the hedge into the next field.

Follow the path to cross a stream. There is a sign post here, indicating three paths, which I found rather confusing. You want to keep left, and then walk up the left edge of the field. Take a stile through the hedge on the left. The path continues with a hedge to its right before veering to the left to diagonally cross an arable field.

On reaching a track on the far side of this field, continue up to houses at the top. Go past a large metal gate to reach a road. Cross over to the pavement on the far side, turn left and follow the road to Rothley Station (ignore the road that goes off right to Thurcaston). You can enter the station by going down the flight of steps from the road (if, for some reason, this is shut, continue on along the road for a few yards and then turn right to walk down the access road to the car park in the old goods yard). The station tea room has a reputation for excellent cakes.

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network Great Central Railway: Quorn to Rothley Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by the author SteveHallam and may not be reproduced without permission.


1 comments for "Great Central Railway: Quorn to Rothley"

Completed this fantastic walk today!! Directions were extremely clear and easy to follow. We especially loved getting the steam train back. Highly recommended but you must check the train times.

By Vchappell92 on 17 Oct 2017

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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1 gallery images for "Great Central Railway: Quorn to Rothley"

7956_0SteveHallam1493069838 Great Central Railway: Quorn to Rothley Walking Guide Image by: Steve Hallam
Uploaded: 24 Apr 2017
The litter bin in Swithland wood, where you turn left, off the Horse Track, to exit the wood

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