Whitwick & District U3A
Registered Charity No. 1181238
Saturday, 21 May 2022
Saturday, 21 May 2022
This gallery is split over several pages. Each page displays pictures from a
particular year or years as taken by members whilst on some of the shorter
walks, including SWANS. The most recent are at the top of the page. The links
below can be used to select the relevant year.
Jump to 2010, 2011,
For the final Short Walk of 2012, the group of eleven members met in Castle Donington for a circular walk of 4.5 miles to be led by Sue. We were walking in an area that was new to us; unfortunately, weather conditions were damp and overcast.
Quickly leaving Castle Donington, we followed a footpath over fields to Hemington. We soon realised that a major aspect of this walk was MUD. By the time we reached the ruined church in Hemington, boots and trousers were "clagged up", as the locals say.
From Hemington, we walked over Daleacre Hill : the village of Lockington could be seen below us.
Leaving Lockington, we climbed steadily towards the perimeter of East Midlands Airport, pausing for our "banana break" where we could find shelter from the chilly wind. Eventually we joined the Airport Trail which we followed through yet more mud. On the way we passed some interesting stone sculptures depicting different images of flight.
The final section of the walk was on pavements through Castle Donington where we admired the mixture of various architectural styles in the buildings.
Everyone stayed for lunch at the Tudor Hotel where a tasty "Pensioners' Lunch" ticked all the boxes.
In spite of disappointing weather during 2012, we have enjoyed good walking and we were all keen to thank Ann for her hard work and commitment in organising the group month by month.
Anyone for a swim!
Some Old ruins in Hemington!
Looking towards Lockington
Viewing the Stepping Stones near the Airport
Twelve members met at 11am in Thornton to walk around the reservoir
on Thursday, 29th November. It was especially pleasant to welcome three
members who were walking with the SWANS Group for the first time.
Walking at a steady pace gave everyone the opportunity to chat in a
companionable manner. It was a clear morning and the views across the
water at the wintry landscape were delightful.
After completing our walk, we had lunch at the Bricklayers Arms where
the service was first-rate. Another group of walkers were lunching there
too: members of Countesthorpe U3A.
SWANS group near Thornton Reservoir
View across the reservoir
View across the reservoir
There was a good turnout for this month's short walk on Tuesday, 6th
November. Eleven members met in Ashby to be led by Pearl on a circular
walk of 5.5 miles
Our first destination was the outskirts of the village of Blackfordby
where we walked by Blackfordby Hall.
Unfortunately, as we walked on, rain began to fall. We remained cheerful
in spite of the damp and followed footpaths towards Smisby. Pearl gave
us snippets of information along the way.
Approaching Smisby, we looked south towards Ashby and were surprised
to see the ruined walls of Ashby Castle standing clearly above the town.
The final section took us via Cliftonthorpe, into Ashby near Hood Park
and back to our starting point. most of the group drove back to Smisby
to enjoy lunch at the Smisby Arms.
Approaching Blackfordby A pause in Blackfordby
In the Smisby Arms
Despite an overcast sky, members were treated to a glorious display
of autumn colours on their recent walk with the SWANS Group. On 25th
October, ten of us met in Market Bosworth to be led by Paula.
We set off along Sutton Lane, the gated road which leads to Sutton Cheney.
This lane never fails to delight and the walking was effortless.
About half-way along, we turned off to follow a footpath across fields
towards Spring Wood. The scenery was splendid with nothing to spoil
We joined the route that leads back to Market Bosworth Park and were
treated to a spectacular array of colours from a wide variety of trees.
The grand finale was to see the acers in the Country Park. Most of the
group completed the outing by enjoying tea, cake and other refreshments
in Cafe Torte in Market Bosworth.
Walking along Sutton Lane
Unusual fungi (Brown roll-rim?)
Into Spring Wood
Acers in the Country Park
Acers in the Country Park
For their October meeting, the Short Walks Group met in Woodhouse Eaves
for a walk planned by Valerie. We began by walking along footpaths through
countryside towards Woodhouse.
We soon came upon the first of many delightful views on this walk: Pestilence
Cottage. We could only stand and admire. The cottage has a significant
history about which you can read from a notice on the gate. Valerie
had done her homework and gave us more information about the parish
church, the school and the alms houses.
Moving on, we turned right to cross fields towards the line of the Great
Central Railway. Unfortunately, there were no trains using the track
during our walk.
Our route took us to Quorn. Here we picked up a footpath by the river
that flows from Swithland Reservoir. It's always pleasant to walk near
water and it was in this section of the walk that we took our "banana
After re-crossing the railway line, we followed footpaths back towards
Woodhouse Eaves, sometimes walking through crops of maize that were
taller than us. It was just like being in Hitchcock's "North by Northwest".
There was no doubt that this had been an outstanding walk and most of
the group stayed together to enjoy lunch at the Bull's Head at Abbot's
Pestilence Cottage, Woodhouse
Learning about the cottage
A sign of autumn
Sharing a joke
One of the delightful footpaths we used
Although the September meeting of our SWANS Group was not so well attended, we were delighted to welcome two walkers who joined us for the first time.
The walk took place in Battram Woods, part of the National Forest in the area of the former Nailstone Colliery. Extensive tree planting, with a huge variety of species, has transformed the landscape.
We walked rather closer to Ibstock than planned, but it was a fine afternoon and the group seemed content to explore routes through the woodland.
After completing the circular walk, we drove to Ibstock and enjoyed refreshments at Sunnyside Garden Centre.
Some members of SWANS in Battram Wood
September's walk from Shackerstone through Barton-in-the-Beans and Carlton.
Some of the walkers
Barton-in-the-Beans Baptist chapel
We are not lost - honest!
Lunch at the Belper Arms
A new venture was undertaken by the SWANS Group for their August Meeting - a summer outing. We travelled further away and took a picnic lunch.
Sharing cars, 12 members of the group drove to Watermead Park, near Syston, relaxed and ate their picnic lunches by John Merrick's Lake. Happily, the afternoon was dry and fine.
Led by Roger, we meandered along the footpaths by the lakes, along part of the Grand Union Canal towpath and by some of the nature reserves. Everyone was pleasantly surprised by the attractiveness of the area. We paused to watch a family of swans and a variety of water fowl as well as to investigate some of the sculptures.
After completing our walk, we strolled over the road to the Hope and Anchor pub for refreshments. The summer outing had been a success and everyone seemed keen to do something similar next year.
On the towpath of the Grand Union Canal
Acting more like cygnets
The King Lear statues on King Lear Lake
Tuesday, 7th August was the date for the Short Walks Group's summer outing when we agree to venture further afield. Ann had planned a circular walk of almost five miles in the Peak District and organised car-sharing for the party. We were delighted to welcome four members who had not walked with us before; all that we needed was suitable weather.
We met in Wetton just as the rain began to fall! Undeterred, the twelve walkers, wrapped up in their waterproof clothing, set off into the mist. Thor's Cave was our first destination.
Happily, as we reached this impressive feature, the rain stopped and, apart from an occasional light shower, the walk was completed in dry weather.
From Thor's Cave, we descended into the Manifold Valley and crossed the dry river bed. Walking at a steady pace, we climbed the other side of the valley until it was time for our "banana break".
Ann led the revitalised group towards Ossams Hill. Along the way we saw an abundance of beautiful wild flowers and grasses which added to the attraction of the stunning scenery.
The next part of the walk was challenging - due to MUD. Progress was slow. Margaret lost her boot but retrieved it and cheerfully walked on. We were all pleased to arrive at Wetton Mill for our lunch break.
Sitting outside, we enjoyed our packed lunches, various drinks and cakes from the cafe, in a very pleasant atmosphere.
The walk back to Wetton took us along the Manifold Valley and over Wetton Hill. By now the sun was shining, the views were magnificent and the final layers of extra clothing were discarded.
Arriving at our destination, everyone was pleased that we had persevered despite the damp start. It had been an outstanding walk and we were all keen to thank Ann for her hard work in planning our special outing.
Cheerful in spite of the damp weather
Are we nearly there?
Wetton Mill - refreshed and raring to go
The People who live in Thor's Cave
On Thursday, 26th July, ten members of the SWANS Group met at Staunton Harold. The afternoon was sunny and very warm.
Led by Rose, the group crossed the road from the car park to follow a route through various woods. The views across the surrounding countryside were delightful; the abundant recent rainfall has left the countryside looking very green.
The heat meant that our style of walking was very much like "strolling" with frequent breaks to keep everyone comfortable.
Our path led us to the main access road which we followed back to the car park.
Tea and other refreshments were enjoyed at the Ferrers Centre as we relaxed and chatted together.
Enjoying a rest
The Courtyard - Ferrers Centre
Six members of the group met on a damp and overcast morning to walk in the Ulverscroft area of Charnwood Forest. Fran and Peter had not only organised our walk, but also gave us "Plan B" because of the imperfect weather.
After parking our cars in Markfield, we walked towards Ulverscroft. The footpath took us through lush woodland and then across meadows carpeted with wild flowers. The views across the rolling hills of Charnwood Forest were marvellous, particularly from the higher ground of the Chitterman Hills.
The route led us onto Lea Lane. We strolled along this country road to find the location of the property which the National Trust are hoping to adopt, before we took our "banana break".
Refreshed, we turned into Priory Lane to head back towards Markfield. After safely crossing the busy A511, we found ourselves on the former A50, almost traffic-free since the by-pass was completed. From this, we explored Altar Stones Rocks which is an area so typical of the local granite outcrops and now grazed by longhorn cattle.
Throughout the whole walk, the group had the benefit of the impressive local knowledge that Fran and Peter have; they had lots of interesting information to share.
When the walk was completed, lunch was taken at "The Bricklayers Arms" in Thornton.
On the Chitterman Hills
One of the abundant foxgloves
A view across Charnwood Forest
The banana break
Longhorn grazing at Altar Stones Rocks
On Tuesday, 12th June, seven members met in Griffydam for a circular walk of
approximately five miles. Roger had kindly agreed to lead.
Setting off in cold but dry weather, we walked via a field and Elder Lane to "The Wagon
and Horses" crossroads on Rempstone Road. Roger gave us some information about the chapel
which stands there before we made our way along Lower Brand Lane. There were lovely views
of the church at Breedon on the Hill.
We had an interesting encounter with some frisky cattle as we crossed fields to Worthington
but all was well. The animals of Worthington must have been having a dull day: as we left
the village, horses in a field also found us worth investigating.
After a banana break, Roger led us towards the delightful village of Osgathorpe. The footpath
out of Osgathorpe was anything but delighful. It had become extremely overgrown and our leader
had to clear a path for us. Stinging nettles present no threat to Roger.
Then it was a pleasant stroll back to Griffydam with thoughts of lunch in most of our heads.
"The Gelsmoor" was the destination for those who decided to stay to eat. It had been a thoroughly enjoyable outing.
What else, but a banana break!
One of Worthington's inquisitive residents
Part of the National Forest Walk, "Coal Tips to Country Parks", was
the route of the May meeting of the Short Walks Group. Ann Potterton
led seven other walkers on Tuesday, 1st May, a damp and overcast morning.
Parking at Thornton Reservoir, we noticed immediately that the reservoir
was full. We walked along Reservoir Road and then turned off to walk
over fields which gave us a delightful view of the village of Thornton.
After several field footpaths, we came to Ratby Woods and were thrilled
to find carpets of bluebells stretching before us. Few of the walkers
were familiar with these woods so the amount of bluebells came as a
very pleasant surprise. After the woods, we walked along grassy paths
and a bridleway close to Forest Hills Golf Club back towards the reservoir.
We decided to take a shortcut and head back to the cars. It had been
a lovely walk.
Everyone was happy to stay for lunch; we drove to the Golf Club where
we enjoyed a variety of dishes in very pleasant surroundings.
What if these are all we see?
A cheerful group in spite of the rain
A glorious sight
A glorious sight
April's meeting of the SWANS Group took place on Thursday 26th in
Whitwick. Carole Adcock led the group of nine walkers from the car park
of the Hermitage Leisure Centre through the village to Holly Hayes Wood.
It soon became obvious that Carole cares deeply about Holly Hayes Wood
as she explained some important features to the group. Since 2008, Holly
Hayes Wood has been owned by the "Friends of Holly Hayes Wood", a community
group of local residents who aim to maintain and improve the woods.
Carole pointed where out restoration of footpaths and other conservation
tasks have been successfully completed.
The woodland is ancient, being mentioned in a record of 1240. In medieval
times, the woods were used for pasture and to supply timber. Whitwick
Quarry owned the woods for most of the twentieth century. The company
sold trees and dammed the brook to create a pond to provide water to
During the walk, we saw beds of bluebells and clumps of wood anemones
amongst the trees and by the brook , which was in full spate. It was
all evidence that there is nothing quite like a bluebell wood in spring.
Carole led us back to the Leisure Centre where we were able to complete
the outing with refreshments in the cafe.
Eight members of the Short Walks Group met at The Navigation pub in
Overseal, on Tuesday 3rd April for their five-mile circular walk. David
led the group on paths which took us over reclaimed, restored land and
through woods, both new and well-established. Some of the route followed
the Conkers Circuit; along sections of this, the path was bordered by
banks of golden gorse bushes which looked very bright and attractive.
As so often on these walks, the group were pleasantly surprised by the
area we walked in. Although the sky was overcast, conditions were just
right for walking. By the time the rain arrived, most of the group were
safely inside The Navigation ordering a well-deserved lunch.
Various scenes on the conkers Circuit, between Overseal and Albert
On Tuesday 6th March, a sunny, spring day, ten members of the Short walks
Group met in Melbourne. In perfect conditions, Elaine and Martin led the
walkers towards Breedon-on-the-Hill. Along the way, we paused to admire
the views and landscape and took our legendary banana break by the village
green in Breedon.
After our rest, we climbed to Breedon Church, one of the notable landmarks
in this area. The clear sky meant that we had spectacular views in every
We followed a different, but just as pleasant, route back towards Melbourne.
The whole outing had been delightful. Most of the group drove to the Ferrers
Arms for a convivial lunch.
Melbourne Church, as the walk began
Banana break at Breedon-on-the-Hill
Melbourne Hall, almost at the end of the walk
It was SWANS with a difference this month as we held a joint meeting with
the Gardening Group. On a sunny, pleasant afternoon, sixteen members from the
two groups met at Snibston Discovery Park in Coalville.
The objective was to walk around the Nature Reserve and see the snowdrops which
grow so abundantly there. Neither group was disappointed.
We walked from the Museum complex along the footpath. This gave us clear views
of the local area and its features.
Once at the Nature Reserve, we found the clumps and banks of snowdrops displayed
at their best. It was delightful to stroll through the mature woods and around
the ponds admiring the masses of white flowers.
We took the road route back to the Museum; both groups enjoying the fresh air
and the warm afternoon sun.
Members from the SWANS and Gardening Groups on the footpath to Snibston Nature Reserve.
Admiring the snowdrops in the woodland
Admiring the snowdrops in the woodland
Just at their best!
In the wetland area
In spite of the cold temperatures and overcast skies, ten members of
the Short Walks Group met in Stanton under Bardon on Tuesday, 7th February
for a five mile circular walk. Our leader was Rose Westram and amongst
our number were members joining us for the first time.
As usual, the walk led us to unexpected places of interest and terrific
views as the clouds cleared away. Our first pause was at one of the six
Noon Columns of the National Forest.This one is on the slopes of Billa
Barra Hill. Given the right conditions, at noon each day, the sun shines
through a slot carved in the oak column. With its dry stone walls, pine
trees and gorse bushes, Billa Barra Hill is typical of the rugged scenery
found in the Charnwood area.
After crossing the A511, we followed footpaths on the snow-covered lower
slopes of Bardon Hill where we took our "banana break".
Continuing, we came across Old Hall Farm with its frozen moat. This is
the site of the original Bardon Hall and is very picturesque, particularly
with glistening snow and blue skies. The upper part of the River Sence
flows by on its journey to Hugglescote and beyond. We followed the river,
crunching through the snow, towards Bardon Church.
Hurrying by the busy A511 and through the edge of an industrial estate,
we came upon fields once more. Cliffe Hill Quarry and its environs was
now the major feature. We passed several frozen ponds with stands of bull-rushes
and climbed uphill. We had a panoramic view of the landscape around us
and a clear view into the huge quarry itself. Our route was then downhill
back to Stanton under Bardon.
Everyone was ready for a warm lunch. We drove to the Charnwood Arms where
we ate, relaxed and chatted for quite some time.
The group by the Noon Column, Billa Barra Hill
By Old Hall Farm, Bardon
The frozen moat at Old Hall Farm
On January 26th, the SWANS Group met in Moira for their monthly short walk.
The National Forest Youth Hostel was the rendezvous - and why not?
Ten members of the group, led by Ann Potterton, walked along the Ashby Heritage
Trail in winter sunshine. The circular walk brought us onto the footpath by
the Ashby Canal which we followed back to the Conkers Waterside site. The canal
looked picturesque and, once again, we enjoyed the extra treat of watching real
swans and other water fowl gliding by. As usual, the outing concluded with refreshmenmts
and friendly conversation, this time in the Youth Hostel itself.
The group on the Ashby Woulds Heritage Trail
The Group by the Ashby Canal
Admiring the real swans
Admiring the real swans
The first short walk of 2012 seemed rather uncertain since heavy rain
was forecast for Tuesday, 3rd January. Nevertheless, six members of the
group decided to go ahead and all were delighted that they had taken that
decision. We only had two sharp showers and even spotted some blue sky.
Roger led us on our walk around Coleorton and surroundings, following
sections of the Coleorton Heritage Trail and the Mining Heritage Trail.
It was fascinating. We enjoyed the fresh air and learnt a lot, not least
about some interesting and intriguing names for localities such as "Bug
and Wink Wood".
Afterwards, most of the group enjoyed a very tasty carvery meal at the
The group at the Millennium Garden in Coleorton
Jump to 2010, 2011,
|Previous Gallery (Eating Out)
Gallery (Various groups)
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