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Whitwick & District U3A

Registered Charity No. 1181238

Saturday, 21 May 2022

Saturday, 21 May 2022

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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, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021


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


November's Walk

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

Stepping out

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


October 2012

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 our views.
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


October 2012

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 break".
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 Oak.

Pestilence Cottage, Woodhouse

Learning about the cottage

A sign of autumn

Sharing a joke

One of the delightful footpaths we used


September's Walk

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 2012

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!

Blackberry picking

Lunch at the Belper Arms


August's Walk

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

Well-behaved swans

The King Lear statues on King Lear Lake


Summer Outing

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

Banana break

Are we nearly there?

Wetton Mill - refreshed and raring to go

The People who live in Thor's Cave


July's Walk

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.

Smiling Strollers

Stepping out

Enjoying a rest

The Courtyard - Ferrers Centre

And relax!


July's Walk

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 Walk

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 the quarry.
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 Village


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 direction.
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

Breedon-on-the-Hill Church

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 King's Arms.

The group at the Millennium Garden in Coleorton


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