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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


Strollers - December's Walk

We finished off 2014 with a 4 mile stroll from Packington to Normanton le Heath, which 10 of us took part in. The first part of the route was along a narrow country road which took us past Hill Farm where we had a good view of the herd of bison. They did seem to be all smallish specimens and not as intimidating as they could have been! There were also quite a lot of deer in the fields, which also belong to the farm. We then continued on a mucky bridleway, and turned off into the new Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood. The planting we passed seemed very new and will be a fantastic woodland in a few years time. We then entered the village of Normanton le Heath, and just near to the church turned off to descend the hill and cross fields on our return to Packington. Mouths were watering as we anticipated the lovely pies which we had ordered from the pub. Lunch was served to us very promptly on arrival, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. A lovely way to round off the year. Here's to many more great walks in 2015 and very sociable lunches to follow!


5 Milers - December's Walk

The 5Milers walk on 2nd December was round Bradgate Park and Cropston Reservoir led by Steve and Evelyn, followed by a Christmas lunch at the Grey Lady Kitchen and Deli in Newtown Linford.


5 Milers - November's Walk

On Tuesday 4th November members of the 5 Milers Walking Group, led by Pete, set off from The Hare and Hounds (aka Mary’s House) in The City of Three Waters, Whitwick. Pete described the circular walk as including: “open fields, a few short stretches of village streets, old railway tracks and some woodland”.
He explained it would “include the edge of Thringstone, the Swannington Incline, New Swannington, Whitwick and High Cademan which is one of the high spots of the area at 646 feet”. As we followed his route, we walked in lovely autumn sunshine which enhanced the views and gave us the opportunity to appreciate our interesting local landscape.
Most of the group stayed on for a buffet lunch at The Hare and Hounds.

Walking up the Swannington Incline and under Potato Lane Bridge

At the Incline Engine House

On the right track at the top of the Incline

At the Jack Jones Wheel

Hermitage Lake

In Cademan Woods

The vineyards of Whitwick!


5 Milers - October's Walk

Ten members of the 5-Milers Walking Group met in Melbourne for their October walk to be led by Rose. The circular route led us to unfamiliar territory.

We walked from Melbourne to King's Newton and then along an old track towards Swarkestone Bridge. Rose explained that, in medieval times, this was an important route to the bridge.

Once at the causeway to Swarkestone Bridge, we crossed towards Stanton by Bridge where we paused for our banana break. Refreshed, we continued through the village and onto field paths with pleasant views over the countryside.

As we approached the outskirts of Melbourne, the weather deteriorated and we completed the walk in light rain. Since we were all wearing our all-weather gear, this did nothing to detract from what had been an interesting and pleasant walk with lots of friendly conversations along the way.

Most of the group stayed on for lunch in Melbourne.

Stanton by Bridge and time for ... banana break


5 Milers - September's Walk

Summer returned for the September meeting of the 5- Milers Walking Group which took place in glorious weather. Fifteen members met in Swepstone to follow a circular route via Normanton le Heath led by Bill.

It was a delightful walk across fields, along quiet tracks and lanes and with marvellous views of our countryside throughout.

Afterwards, most of the group stayed on for lunch at the Queen's Head in Heather.

Swepstone Church

Battling through the undergrowth

There must be a way through!

Can you spot the waymarker?

A colourful display in Normanton-le-Heath

Keeping up the pace.....

.....and back to Swepstone Church


Strollers - August's Walk

4 Miles from Shackerstone led by Steve and Evelyn

Strollers' preparation by Steve

Under the Shackertsone line

Waiting for a bus, or a train?

Through the farm from where fresh veg was bought

Having a break in Carlton

The lengths some will go to for a bit of Wilko shopping!


5 Milers - August's Walk

The August Meeting of the 5 Milers Walking Group was from Oakthorpe, led by Elaine and Martin.

Elaine explaining the Ashby Canal Mine Seam Marker

Tired, gentlemen?........

.....Last of the Summer Wine!

At one of the Oakthorpe mine shaft plaques

Having a well-earned rest

Eighteen 5-milers


Strollers - July's Walk

4 Miles from Melbourne led by Ann

War Memorial and Melbourne Church

At the Wash Pit in Melbourne

The 8 Strollers

Capturing a Bracket Fungus

Leaving the Cloud Trail for Wilson

A distant view of Melbourne

Near the Pool - not inviting enough for a dip!!

A view of Melbourne Church across the Pool


5 milers - July's Walk

The July Meeting of the 5 Milers Walking Group took place on a warm and sunny day. Thirteen members met in Heather at The Queen's Head to be led by Roger on a circular walk of five miles.
We began in Sence Valley Forest Park. It was beautiful. The group was pleasantly surprised at how the whole landscape there has matured. We spotted two herons and several patches of wild orchids whilst walking along. The impact of this new environment was enhanced when Wally shared some of his memories of working at the former opencast coal mine
. After strolling through the park and some road walking, we went into the recently planted Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood between Heather and Normanton le Heath. It reminded us of what Sence Valley used to be like in the 1990s. It will be interesting to watch this new woodland develop.
Back in Heather, most of the group stayed on for lunch at the pub.

Wild Orchids, past their best!


Strollers - June's Walk

4 Miles from Newton Burgoland led by Ann

Some feathered friends

Some bigger friends

Some friends together

Narrowboats on the Ashby Canal at Shackerstone

Motte and Bailey at Shackerstone

A beautiful peacock.....

.....and another in full display

A relaxing lunch at the Belper Arms


5 Milers - June's Walk

Twelve members of the 5- Milers Walking Group met in Ticknall on 3rd June to be led on our circular walk by Derek. In spite of the overcast sky, it was good walking weather.
Our first stop was by Ticknall Methodist Church, built in 1815 and still in regular use. In addition to the fine building, the site also has one of Ticknall’s water pumps which is in working order.
After sharing information about Ticknall’s long history, Derek led us across field footpaths to Robin Wood. Everyone was amazed at the extent of this wood. Our route took us on into West Wood and then out into the open again as we walked towards Ingleby Toft. During this part of the walk, we learnt about pylons and how electricity is transmitted.
Shortly after our banana break, we saw a very unusual feature: a ram pump. Again, Derek enlightened us. We continued our walk by Seven Spouts Farm and eventually came to the small reservoir which feeds the ram pump. We paused by Hangman’s Stone to hear the story associated with it and then followed field paths back to Ticknall. As we walked along, Roger pointed out the signage for the recently-launched National Forest Way Footpath.
Everyone thanked Derek for giving us such an interesting and pleasant walk. Most of the group drove on to Smisby for lunch at the Smisby Arms.

The small reservoir which feeds the ram pump.

An opportunity for a group photograph at a field gate.

Another way to enjoy the countryside.

St George’s Church, Ticknall.


5 Milers - May's Walk

On a sunny morning, May 6th, 18 walkers set off from the Plough in Ratby for a tour of Ratby Burroughs led by Pete. We were truly delighted; with the weather, the local information given by our leader, the lovely area and the bluebells of course! They were absolutely at their best, we couldn't have picked a better day. Carpets of blue everywhere you looked and the intoxicating scent was just wonderful. A walk that belied our name, as we only did three and a half miles, but what does the odd mile and a half matter between friends? After our walk we repaired to the pub for a very promptly served, reasonably priced and tasty lunch.

Have you got my apple?

A pause for some local knowledge from Pete

A distant view of Ratby Church

Negotiating a muddy gate....

...and I don't intend getting my feet wet!

Walking through the bluebells.....


...pausing to admire them

Finally, does anybody know my name?


SWANS - April's Walk

On a lovely sunny afternoon in April, Carol led 9 Swans around the woods and along the old railway track in Grace Dieu woods. Carole, as ever, amazed us with her extensive knowledge of all the wild flowers. Refreshments were enjoyed in the garden of the Bull's Head after the walk.

Swans enjoying the bluebells in Grace Dieu woods.

Grace Dieu woods.


5 milers - April's Walk

A circular walk from Shepshed to Loughborough was chosen for the April meeting of the 5 Milers Walking Group. Twenty-one members met at The Pied Bull in Shepshed on Tuesday 1st April to be led by Sue.
The route took us northwards out of Shepshed crossing both Black Brook and Grace Dieu Brook before their confluence. On the Hathern Road, we stopped by Shepshed Water Mill and then set off across field footpaths towards the outskirts of Loughborough. We were delighted to spot several yellow hammers along the way.
Turning through Bailey’s Plantation, we came to the old Stonebow Bridge where we paused for our banana break.
Refreshed, we followed the wonderfully named Oxley Gutter by the side of Garendon Park. Sadly, there is little to see of the former Garendon Hall, home of the DeLisle family, but the Bavarian Arch, one of the lodges, still stands.
From there the route took us back to Shepshed on well-maintained footpaths and a footbridge over the M1.
Most of the group stayed on for lunch at The Pied Bull.

Walking through Bailey's Plantation

Banana Break

Stonebow Bridge dating from the 1200s

The Bavarian Arch - Garendon Park

Room for one or two weary 5 milers!


The First Strollers Walk - March

Strollers has launched! On Wednesday 19th March, 8 members of the new Strollers group met up in Measham. You may be confused by the first photo which shows 9 members! Well, Jenny was just acting as chauffeur on that day, but hopes to join our walks in the future.
We walked along the old railway track, part of the Ashby Woulds Heritage Trail, as far as Donisthorpe and then turned back to stroll over the meadows surronding Saltersford Lakes where we had a short breather. The 'breather' included eating cake to celebrate Steve's birthday. Lovely! We spotted a heron, various waterfowl, and scores of wonderful bullrushes. We meandered on, passing through Oakthorpe and back over fields to Measham. The walk was 3.5 miles in total and took us about an hour and three quarters. We finished off the morning............ yes, you have guessed, by having lunch together at Cattows farm. There was a discussion as to whether future walks would be finished by lunch or just a cuppa, but support was overwhelming for lunch. I am beginning to wonder whether we might be a walking group finishing with lunch, or a lunch group preceding our meal with a short stroll??? Watch this space..................

The new Strollers Group in happy anticipation of their first walk.

Approaching the Saltersford Lakes........

........8 geese afloating.......

......and some bulrushes.


5 Milers - March's Walk

Sixteen members met at the Charnwood Arms on Tuesday 4th March for the monthly circular walk. Denis and Jenny had planned the route and had taken the trouble to provide members with a handout listing “Points of Interest”, which was greatly appreciated. The walk in the Battleflat – Bardon area was very enjoyable and the weather conditions ideal, as the photographs show. Owen’s local knowledge was another bonus since few of the group had knowledge of all the places we visited. After the walk, most stayed on for lunch at the Charnwood Arms.

Over the stiles and across the fields from The Charnwood Arms.....

....to the old railway track....

Admiring the view towards Bardon Hall from Billa Barra Hill

The group outside Old Hall Cottage and Farm

At Bardon Park Chapel


February's Walk

On Thursday 27th February we had a lovely afternoon for our Swans walk in Bradgate Park. Twenty one members met in the car park and were led through the park by Jean and Carol. On our way we passed ducks and swans (real ones) looking at us eagerly hoping to be fed. We had to disappoint them and move on. When we reached the tea house in the park, no we didn't stop, but turned left towards Old John. No one wanted to brave it to the top (Swans don't do that sort of thing!) so we returned via the lower stretches of grassland. At the turning point there was a sharp downpour with the rain coming directly in our faces. However, it stopped as soon as it had started and the sun was out again! There was a brief detour for some of the group to take a look at the archeological dig being done by Leicester University, and then all back to the new tearoom near the entrance to the park with a good view of the snowdrops growing along the edges of the car park. The tearoom had a lovely selection of cakes which some of us indulged in, and the lemon sponge is highly recommended!

A select group of Swans in brdgate Park. Where were the others hiding ?


February's Walk

On Tuesday 4th February, seventeen members of The 5 Milers Group met in Appleby Magna for a circular walk to be led by Pearl. The weather was perfect for walking: dry and sunny.
Pearl gave us information about some of the distinctive buildings in the village and we set off in the direction of No Man’s Heath.
The walk provided some delightful views over the local countryside. We spotted several clumps of snowdrops both growing wild and in gardens too.
We did, however, encounter some very wet areas – particularly along a bridle path, as the photographs show. We did not let this deter us and, in good spirits, returned to Appleby Magna without any mishaps.
Most of the group drove to the Cricketts Inn, Acresford for lunch.

Pausing to view.....

....Sir John Moore School & Foundation

Water, water, everywhere.....



....and a dryish spot for a break


January's Walk

Twelve members joined the first Short Walk of 2014 in lovely winter sunshine. We met at “The Staff of Life” in Ticknall for a five-mile circular walk led by Ann. The walk included sections of the newly developed gravel paths over the old tramway in Calke Park, in addition to meadows and a climb on Pistern Hill. The views over open countryside were delightful. Most of the group stayed on to enjoy lunch and more companionship at the pub.

The happy group

Steady through the woods

Usual banana break

Admiring the view....

....and onwards

Time for play

No room in the trunk


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