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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 longer walks, i.e. Ramblers and Striders. The most recent are at the top of the page. The links below can be used to select the relevant year.

Jump to 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021.


November's Walk

The November Striders

Lunch being taken on a cold November day in Nailstone village park.


On Friday 7th November the Ramblers group walked the 2nd stage of the National Forest Way. We awoke to a very wet and miserable day but everyone was still keen to go ahead and so we wrapped ourselves up and set off on our walk from Bradgate Park. Not long after starting off we had a heavy downpour but carried on at a fairly brisk rate through Martinshaw Wood which was originally an ancient woodland but was cut in two by the M1 motorway. It has since been replanted with native trees to help restore it to its original character. We had a very quick ‘banana break’ and carried on into Pear Tree Wood which was planted in 1997 to connect Ratby Burroughs and Martinshaw Wood. We kept up a good pace for the rest of the walk, hoping not to get rained on again, and arrived at Thornton Reservoir in such good time that we didn’t get to eat our lunches until we all got home.

It had been a beautiful autumn day and a perfect start to the National Forest Way.

Happy to have finished the walk and keen to get home again!


The Ramblers Group have decided to have a go at walking the New National Forest Way which the booklet describes as :

“ A 75 mile journey through a transforming landscape, from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire. On the way you will discover the area’s evolution from a rural landscape, through industrialisation and its decline, to the modern-day creation of a new forest, where 21st century life is threaded through a mosaic of green spaces and settlements. The trail leads through young and ancient woodlands, market towns and the industrial heritage of this changing landscape. “

How could we resist this challenge! The route is divided up into 12 sections of somewhere between 5 and 7.5 miles each. The walk can be undertaken in either direction and we have decided to do it from east to west. So, on Friday 3rd October, we set off on Stage 1 of the walk which began at Beacon Hill and ended in Bradgate Country Park. We had ‘fun’ at the beginning shuffling cars around to make sure we had a sufficient number of cars at the finish point to get us back to those we had left at the start of the walk. Once we had organised ourselves we were able to set off through the park, past the alpacas grazing peacefully, and over into Broombriggs Farm. This eventually brought us into Woodhouse where we picked up the road which led us in to Swithland Wood. After a short ‘banana break’ we continued through the wood, admiring the wonderful autumn colours all around us. When we reached the outskirts of Swithland we crossed over and took the long upward path to Old John Tower at the top of Bradgate Park where we were only too pleased to sit down and have our lunch. We had plenty to see during this time as the park was full of other walkers, namely the pupils of Charnwood High School who were doing their annual charity walk from their school into and around Bradgate Park. Once we set off again it was a relatively leisurely walk down and back to the car park, although at this point we still had to make sure we all got back to the cars that we had originally arrived in!

It had been a beautiful autumn day and a perfect start to the National Forest Way.

Our Chairman ready for a spot of fishing in Bradgate Park!.

Walking down from Beacon Hill.

A small tower built to house a steam pump at Tower Quarry, Swithland.

Old John Tower in the distance.

Bradgate Park.


The September Striders was led by Alison, from Woodhouse Eaves, through Swithland Wood, Bradgate Park and Beacon Hill Country Park.

Striders on their way.

Swithland's Pheonix Barn.

Making use of a convenient picnic table for a short break.

Swithland Wood.

Making use of a convenient stone wall for a lunch break.

Beacon Hill.

Inquisitive onlooker.

Can anyone name these fungi?.


Charnwood Forest was the location of September's Ramblers walk when seven members met at Copt Oak Church. Marlene and Neil had kindly volunteered to plan and lead the circular walk.

We began by taking footpaths over fields to Markfield. Before long, the temperature rose and fleeces were removed. We walked on through John Lee's Wood to Newtown Linford where we decided to take a detour into Bradgate Park to eat our lunch.

Refreshed, we retraced our steps through Newtown Linford, which looked picture-perfect, and followed a route to the ruins of Ulverscroft Priory. From there it was a steady walk back to Copt Oak.

Throughout, we enjoyed splendid views of Charnwood Forest and were reminded of how fortunate we are to have such beautiful countryside so close.

Leaving Polly Bott's Lane.

Taking a breather.

One of Newtown Linford's stunning homes being re-thatched

Ruins of Ulverscroft Priory.


August Striders

The August Striders was led by Pearl, going through Appleby Magna, No Man's Heath, Newton Regis and Austrey

Members of the group enjoying a banana break around the village pond in Newton Regis.

The village pond in Newton Regis.


August Ramblers

On Friday, 1st August, six members of the Ramblers Walking Group gathered at Sence Valley Forest Park for a circular walk of almost six-and-a-half miles to be led by Sue.

Beneath fairly cloudy skies, we set off across fields towards Donington le Heath crossing both the former track of the railway between Shackerstone and Coalville East and the River Sence. We walked along lanes in the village before following field paths to Snibston.

The tiny medieval church of St Mary in Snibston provided an ideal spot for our "banana break" and we were delighted to find the church open. The simple interior is very pleasing and the opportunity to look inside was both unexpected and appreciated.

Our next destination was Ravenstone. We had a short walk there which included passing both the Parish Church and the eighteenth-century Ravenstone Hospital. By now, the temperature was rising and the clouds had all but disappeared.

From Ravenstone, we headed in the direction of Normanton le Heath across fields once more. When we reached the outskirts of the flagship Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood, we turned onto the newly created paths and walked through. Eventually, we re-joined the established footpath and, finding a sheltered spot, we ate our packed lunches.

Feeling rather warm, we made our way steadily back to Sence Valley Forest Park.

Our "banana break" at St Mary's Church, Snibston.

One wing of Ravenstone Hospital - built as almshouses.

The "broach tower" of St Michael and All Angels Church, Ravenstone.

Pausing in the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood by the tree planted by HRH The Princess Royal.


We hoped July's ramble was going to be on a typical English summer's day…and it was with weather unpredictable enough to need a backpack full of 'just-in-case' layers. However we set off in bright sun, from Repton, to follow the original route of the Trent to the hamlet of Twyford. Here we discovered the remains of the chain ferry which was in use until the 1930s. From here we were again reminded of how spoilt we are in Leicestershire with yellow-painted marker posts to help find the way. The stile we were looking for was flat on the ground and the footbridge, behind a line of trees, was marked by a short length of white tape tied to a tree! We stopped at St Saviour's Church on the Foremarke estate and were able to get in to see probably the first church to be built in England after the Reformation.
Then it was on through Milton and back to Repton's High Street , where we looked at some of the notable buildings. Stone House used to accommodate a bakery with an oven so huge it serves as a kitchen today! Then it was past The Cross, where, in 1848, a man sold his wife for 1 shilling having led her from Burton with a halter round her waist. It is not recorded who got the better deal!! A good walk, lots of shared learning and a good day out - the epitome of WAD U3A.

Setting off from Repton.

Parts of the route were quite challenging.

Spot the white rag tied to a tree. It's the Derbyshire method of marking the route!

This is what it led to.

A Comma butterfly, so named because the only whte marking on its underside reembles a comma.


We had a lovely sunny day for our June walk. Six of us met up in Ticknall village and walked to Foremark and then on to Carvers Rock and back through Calke Park. Along the way we passed Hangman’s Stone and were told about some of the stories as to how it got its name. Our walk happened to be on the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings and it was very appropriate that as we walked we passed several fields of poppies. Once in Calke we took the tramway path and walked through the tunnels to the Lime yards where we were able to see the first of the Common Spotted Orchids coming into flower.

The Hangman’s Stone, Ticknall.

Fighting our way through a field of Rape and Poppies.

Our small group.

Funnily enough we decided not to go through this gate!

The Common Spotted Orchid.


Walking holiday, May 2014.


It was lovely to see such a good turnout for our April walk. Seventeen members of the Ramblers group met in Barrow on Soar on a slightly misty morning to walk to Quorn via Mountsorrel and Swithland Reservoir. As we set off along the river we couldn’t help admiring the lovely houses on the other side with their gardens running right down to the water. As usual we had to walk through a few muddy patches but we also came across a few unusual things on this walk. We were lucky enough to see a steam train as we crossed over the Great Central Railway, we saw some alpacas as we passed a farm and we were even more surprised when a deep booming noise turned out to be a group of rheas announcing their presence to us. So all in all it was a very interesting walk.

The view across the River Soar.

Our ‘Banana Break’ on Castle Hill, Mountsorrel.

A steam train approaching on the Great Central Railway.

Cleaning up those muddy boots.

So that’s where the booming noise came from!.


On Friday 7th March nine members of the Ramblers Group met at Mount St. Bernard’s Abbey to do a 7 mile walk led by Brian. The weather forecast didn’t look too good but fortunately luck was on our side and it turned into quite a nice day – mostly sunny but with a cool breeze. Brian had managed to get a permit which allowed us to walk to the top of Iveshead. The climb was well worth the effort as the views all around us were spectacular and as it was such a clear day we could see well into the distance. After a welcome ‘banana break’ we made our way back down to the road and then headed to the Oaks in Charnwood and soon after picked up a footpath which led us uphill again to Timberwood Hill. This was slightly higher than Iveshead and so again we had wonderful views all around us. After this second climb we were only too happy to sit down in the sunshine and enjoy our lunch and marvel at how far we could see. In fact it was so nice we could happily have stayed up there a lot longer. We eventually got ourselves going again and so it wasn’t too long before we were back at the Abbey. Everyone agreed it had been an excellent walk.

Blackbrook Reservoir near Mount St. Bernard Abbey.

View from Iveshead.

St. James the Greater Church, Oaks in Charnwood.

The Ramblers group on Timberwood Hill.


The February Striders (Long Walk) was from Thornton Reservoir led by Ann

Old Hays Farm and pond

Negotiating a gate

The usual banana break

Was it muddy?

Approaching Jubilee Pond


On 7th February 12 of us met up in Calke Village car park which overlooks the reservoir. The sun was shining and the birds were singing and we couldn’t believe our luck. After all the rain of the last few weeks we had a lovely day for our walk. We made our way into Calke Park, past the deer enclosure and through the woods to reach Middle Lodge and then picked up the path that led us to Ticknall. From there we crossed over and did a large loop through Stantons Wood and Windmill Wood which eventually brought us back to Ticknall Church where we had our lunch. Afterwards we headed back into Calke on more or less the same paths as before. It was pretty muddy underfoot in several places but we have been through far worse in the past and no one complained. Once back at the car park everyone agreed that it had been a most enjoyable walk.

View from the car park in Calke village.

Dewdrops on a fir tree.

Group Photo.

View across the reservoir.


Our January walk wasn’t quite as advertised. Heavy rain was forecast so Roger changed the route to keep us fairly close to home in case we should have to call a sudden halt to proceedings. However luck was on our side and we didn’t get any rain and for much of the time the sun shone down on us. As we walked hither and thither through Griffydam and Swannington Roger filled us in with plenty of interesting facts and figures. After we had finished our walk he kindly invited us in to help him finish his Christmas cake and that was an offer to good to refuse.

Group photo.

A hidden pond.

Approaching Hough Mill.



For our final walk of 2013 the Medium and Long Walk groups joined forces and 13 of us met up in Smisby for a 5 mile walk led by Pearl. It was quite a chilly day but it was bright and sunny. There were some lovely views along the way through Daniel Hayes Wood and into Hartshorne where we stopped for a short break in the churchyard. We had 2 very muddy fields to walk through on our return journey but once we’d carefully picked our way through to the other side, the rest of the walk was quite uneventful. Afterwards we all went to the Smisby Arms for a very enjoyable meal together.

The group of December 2013

The sheep were as interested in us as we were in them


For our August walk eight of us met up in Ticknall and headed north through Stanton Wood towards Seven Spouts Farm and on through Heath Wood to reach Foremark. We walked through Repton Preparatory School in the grounds of Foremarke Hall and passed the lake to reach St. Saviours Church. Foremarke Hall was the ancestral home of the Burdett family of Bramcote and was used as an army military hospital during WW1 and as an Officer Training Centre in WW2. The church was built in 1662 by Sir Francis Burdett and retains many of its original furnishings. Luckily it was open and we were able to go in and have a look round.

Our return journey took us through the village of Milton and with the temperature rising we were pleased to find a nice sheltered spot to have our lunch. Afterwards we had quite a straightforward walk back into Ticknall through some very attractive South Derbyshire countryside.

A lovely view of Ticknall Church

Our banana break

The lake in the grounds of Foremarke Hall

Inside St. Saviour’s Church


On Friday 5th July we could only muster 4 people for our Medium Walk. We met in Swannymote Road in Whitwick on a beautiful sunny day. We set off at a comfortable speed through Cademan Woods and a little further on picked up the Ivanhoe Way which took us through Swannington Common and close to Peggs Green and Griffydam. We were looking forward to reaching Osgathorpe where we were hoping to have a much needed drink in The Storey Arms, only to find out when we got there that it didn’t open until 1 o’clock. Luckily the landlady was outside cleaning up and very kindly offered to get us drinks. We were extremely grateful as it was getting pretty hot in the midday sun. Refreshed, we continued our walk down Sparrow’s Road and on in to Grace Dieu Woods and eventually back into Cademan Woods and our starting point. It was a very pleasant walk of about 8 miles with some lovely views along the way and we were very grateful for all the woodland sections which gave us some shelter from the heat of the sun.

Looking north from Broad Hill towards Belton

Wild poppies

Sue and Ann wading through the grass


We were just a small group of 6 who met up for the June Medium Walk. It was Jane’s turn to lead and she had suggested starting from her house in Moira and walking to Hicks Lodge and then on to Shellbrook Wood. She told us that it was all opencast mine workings when she moved to the area in 1988 and now it is a lovely open area with good paths through fields and woodland and around a large lake. An ideal place for walking or cycling. For a change it was a lovely sunny day with a slight breeze and everywhere we looked there were buttercups, fields and fields of them. During the morning we stopped for a civilised tea/coffee break at Hicks Lodge and for lunch Jane had chosen an open area with lovely views and a picnic table all laid on for us. After our walk she invited us back to her delightful garden where we relaxed in the sunshine and were treated to tea and homemade cakes. If only all our walks could be so perfect!

Sheep finding some shade in the woodland

Buttercups everywhere we looked

A beautiful orchid

Our little group among the buttercups


Barrow, Mountsorrel and Quorn - May 2013

Near Mountsorrel with the '1860' bridge in the background

Approaching the '1860' bridge

The Bridge

A field of dandelions


For our April walk just six members of the group met up near The Dew Drop Inn in Hathern for a walk organised by Lynda. It was a very cold day but we were all wrapped up well and keen to get walking. We turned into Golden Square and took the path ahead of us which brought us out on to the Shepshed Road. After a short distance we turned left on to a path which eventually brought us on to Pear Tree Lane. We found a convenient place to sit and have a break - a fallen tree trunk on which we all sat side by side. We continued on our way towards the River Soar and had a pleasant stroll along the river admiring the lovely houses and gardens on the other side. After crossing the weir we joined the towpath as far as the packhorse bridge, which we thought was a suitable place to shelter from the north-easterly winds and eat our lunch. At this point we only had about a mile to go to bring us back into Hathern. We strolled through the village taking the time to look at the church and some of the interesting old houses. We had all enjoyed our walk very much and, for the first time in several months, we didn’t have muddy feet!

It was quite a chilly morning on the 1st of March when eight of us met up at Groby Pool for our Medium Walk. We wrapped up well and set off in the direction of Newtown Linford and Bradgate Park. Once in the park we headed up towards Old John and on reaching the War Memorial Brian was able to tell us quite a bit about the Leicestershire Yeomanry and the various battles they were involved in during the Boer War and the two World Wars. He also enlightened us about the one and half mile horse racing track which in years gone by had circled the top section of the park. It was by now starting to get very cold up there so we set off downhill, at a quick pace, to Hallgates where there was a picnic table waiting for us. On our return journey we headed up again to some higher ground which gave us wonderful views over Cropston Reservoir and beyond and it didn’t seem long before we were back at Groby Pool again, where Brian was able to share with us the tale of the ’18 stone Pike’ that was fished out of the pool back in the eighteenth century. We all agreed it had been a very enjoyable walk, in good company and with some amusing tales thrown in.

On the way up to the War Memorial

Some very relaxed deer

Cropston Reservoir

A swan displaying his fine feathers on Groby Pool


Swepstone to Shackerstone - Long Walks, March 2013

Mud ......

...... more mud

Banana break

On a bench for Lunch - about half way-ish!

On a bridge at Shackerstone


On Friday, 1st February, ten members of the Medium Walks Group met in Ticknall for a circular walk led by Ann. The weather conditions were perfect for walking and it was hard to imagine that, just a few days ago, snow and ice had restricted many activities.
It was impossible to avoid mud completely, particularly near stiles and gates, but Ann had planned a route in and around Calke Park that ensured we walked mostly on dry ground.
One unexpected highlight was to find snowdrops in flower in Dimminsdale - a delightful surprise. Lunch was eaten in the picnic area at Calke Abbey and the walk was completed by a visit to the Limeyards in the Park.
All agreed that it was wonderful to be out and about once more - taking exercise in beautiful surroundings in such pleasant company!

Banana Break in a sheltered spot

Snowdrops in Dimminsdale

Some members eager for their lunch break at Calke Abbey

The Limeyards in Calke Park

The Limeyards in Calke Park


Our first Medium Walk of 2013 was on Friday 4th January when Bob led us on a circular walk from Staunton Harold via Breedon. We were very lucky in that it was a very mild and sunny day. After leaving the car park we walked past Staunton Harold Hall and the church and then took a path to the left which took us up towards Malthouse Cottages and it wasn’t long before we realised that this was going to be yet another muddy walk! We carried on along the path above Dimminsdale and through Spring Wood and eventually reached Breedon Golf Club. On reaching Breedon we found some picnic tables near the Garden Centre where we sat and ate our lunch in the glorious sunshine. On our return journey we walked across a particularly large field of mud. It looked as if it had recently been completely under water as it had the appearance of the beach when the tide has just gone out. We all felt pretty tired by the end but agreed that it had been a very enjoyable walk.

Our Group

Some hungry ducks at Breedon

A muddy field!

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