Walking in the Vale of Belvoir

From wooded hillsides to peaceful canal paths, there’s a wide variety of walking to be found in the Vale. Pretty villages cluster around the local pub & historic churches. The area is famous for it’s locally produced Stilton Cheese. Belvoir Castle perches on top of the ridge of the vale and is open during the Summer to visitors. There is also the soon to be opened Engine Yard project to house garden centres, café, restaurant and boutique shops.

You’ll always need a great cafe to stop at for a well earned break! Or perhaps the pub….?

Take a look at our Gallery for a preview of some of the stunning countryside you’ll encounter on your walk…

 

Vale of Belvoir Ramblers

Vale of Belvoir Ramblers We’re a small and friendly Group of the Nottinghamshire Area Ramblers Association based in the Vale of Belvoir.  Our varied programme offers weekly Sunday and monthly Wednesday walks and in June and July we have leisurely evening strolls often ending with a sociable drink at a pub.

Many of our walks are in and around the Vale but we regularly travel further afield to Derbyshire and the Peak District and other East Midlands counties.

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Denton Reservoir

Length of walk – 2 miles

This walk near Grantham takes you from the village of Denton to Denton Reservoir. It’s a lovely spot with nice views across the water and lots of wildlife to look out for. Birdwatchers come to the site to see coot, moorhen, mallard, teal, pochard, heron, great crested grebe and kingfishers.
The reservoir is located a short distance from the centre of the village. Starting on Church Street head east to Casthorpe Road and then turn north. Shortly after you will see a footpath on your right which will take you up to the reservoir. Here you will find a nice grassy footpath around the perimeter.

The whole route is about 2 miles but if you feel like stretching your legs further you can head to the nearby Grantham Canal. Following the towpath east will take you into Grantham while heading west leads you towards Woolsthorpe. Around here you can pick up the long distance Viking Way and visit the splendid Belvoir Castle with its lakes, woodland and parkland.

Also nearby is the pretty village of Knipton where there are some nice country lanes along Knipton Reservoir.
What’s nearby:

 

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Vale of Belvoir

A long circular walk through the lovely Vale of Belvoir on the borders of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. It’s a varied walk with woodland trails, waterside paths along the Grantham Canal and a visit to the splendid Belvoir Castle. The walk runs for about 15 miles with some moderate climbing at the start through the Belvoir Estate. The remainder of the route is fairly easy going with nice flat paths from Stathern onwards.

The walk starts in the Lincolnshire village of Woolsthorpe by Belvoir and heads west along the Jubilee Way to Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire. The Grade I listed stately home is the ancestral seat of the family of the Dukes of Rutland. It was rebuilt in the Gothic Revival style in 1832 and is surrounded by a huge estate with lakes and woodland. From the elevated position of the castle there are magnificent views over the Vale of Belvoir. For a fee you can explore the castle grounds and inside view the fine artwork, exquisite furniture and museum detailing the interesting history of the castle.

You continue west through the Barkestone Wood to the village of Stathern. The route then turns north to follow footpaths through the countryside to Plungar, where you pick up the canal. The now disused canal  runs for 33 miles (53 km) from Grantham, falling through 18 locks to West Bridgford where it joins the River Trent.

This section follows the canal east past Redmile, the pretty Bottesford Wharf and Longore Bridge before coming to Woolsthorpe Wharf. There’s pretty locks, an old bridge and a nice canal-side country pub which is great for refreshments here. Shortly after you return to the village and the finish point for the walk.

To continue your walking in the area you could head south of Belvoir to Knipton Reservoir and visit the pretty villages of Knipton and Branston.

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Woolsthorpe by Belvoir and Belvoir Castle

Length of Walk – 14 miles

The pretty Lincolnshire village of Woolsthorpe by Belvoir is a splendid place for walking. Several waymarked long distance trails pass through the area and the Grantham Canal runs just to the north of the village. There’s also the majestic grounds of the Grade I listed Belvoir Castle and some nice woodland trails through Stathern Woods and Barkestone Woods to enjoy.

This 14 mile walk takes you on a tour of the area, visiting the canal, the Belvoir Estate and the nearby village of Stathern. There’s some moderate hill climbs with wonderful views of the Vale of Belvoir from the high points.

The walk starts in the village and heads north along Sedgebrook Road to the delightful Woolsthorpe Wharf on the canal. You then head east along the canal to Longmoor Bridge before picking up a section of the Viking Way to take you back to the village. Here you pick up the Jubilee Way to take you through the Belvoir Estate, passing through Old Park Wood, Plungar Wood and Stathern Wood. The route then heads into the Leicestershire village of Stathern where you can enjoy refreshments before returning to the village.
This walk follows public footpaths but for a fee you can explore the castle grounds during the summer months. In the castle there’s fine artwork, exquisite furniture and a museum detailing the interesting history of the castle. There’s also lovely footpaths taking you to pretty gardens, peaceful woodland and the two large lakes.

To extend your walking in the area you could head east and visit Denton Reservoir where there’s a nice grassy footpath to follow around the water. You could also follow the canal east into the town of Grantham.

Also nearby is the pretty village of Knipton where there are some nice country lanes along Knipton Reservoir.

WoolsthorpePlayground

Barkestone Circular

Length of walk – 1 miles

Parking near Barkestone Church on Jericho Lane

From Barkestone Church take the footpath towards Granby on the left. Keep the hedge on the left, then when a stile leads to the middle of an open field, turn right and follow the hedge on the right.  There is a great view of the vale from the path…

In the next field turn half left to reach a track. Turn right, then over the bridge and down onto the towpath. Carry straight on until bridge no. 51, then leave the canal, turn right and climb the lane back to the church.

The nearest places to grab a drink or bite to eat are The Anchor Inn, Dickies Cow Shed (weekends) both at Plungar.
Tea rooms & cafes

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Barkestone

In 1816 Daniel Smith bought about two roods (a half acre) of land in Barkestone and had a school and a master’s houses built on it for the free education of some 26 boys and girls of the parishes of Barkestone and Plungar. Later he purchased 12 acres as an endowment. A native of Plungar, Smith had businesses in Leicester and London. His aim in providing the school was to bring permanent benefit to local people, but this was not to be and the school closed in 1989. A plaque on the gable end wall of the original building pays tribute to the generous gift. The building is now a private house. 

The village currently does not have a pub, but it is known that at least four have quenched the local thirst over the years. The King William IV on Chapel Street now The Old Forge named after it’s last commercial use. On New Causeway was the The Sun and next door, Lingage was The Half Moon. 

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Croxton Kerrial

5.5 miles

Approx time 3 hours

Start and finish at the Geese and Fountain. Start by walking down side of the A607 towards Melton. At footpath sign on the right either take this and go diagonally left across the field to the bottom. This is not very well walked, so an alternative is to walk further down the A607 road and take the track on the right instead. Walk along track to Branston passing sewage treatment works.

Join the road to walk into Branston, turn right at junction at the top of the hill and follow footpath sign on left next to pub. Follow footpath until you come to metal stairs on right. Take footpath left at bottom of stairs and then right footpath across field towards Eaton.

Before Eaton, turn left and follow the road back to Branston. Turn right on road signposted to Waltham, then take track on left signposted with footpath. Take the next footpath on the right across the field and up the hill to then cross the A607.

Follow path through field to the stream at bottom. Cross the stream on the wooden bridge.The footpath continues up the hill on right side of stream. At the top of hill go through the gate and continue until you see the Leicstershire County Council yellow waymark sign (don’t turn left down the farm track, on the other side of the gate).

At the waymark sign turn left and follow path back to Croxton Kerial.

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Grantham Canal

The canal opened in 1797 and officially closed in 1936, although traffic declined when the railways first arrived in 1850. It once carried coal, road stone, lime and night soil into the area and agricultural produce out. The canal falls 139 feet between Grantham and Nottingham by means of eighteen locks, but there are none to be seen on these walks. This level section extends for twenty miles between Stragglethorpe and Muston, winding gently through the countryside. Only occasionally was it necessary to dig cuttings or build embankments such as the one at Redmile.

At Barkestone there are two examples of the once abundant hump backed bridge. Most farm tracks had swing bridges which, as they rotted, were replaced with fixed concrete decks.

The canal is maintained by British Waterways and The Grantham Canal Society exists which aims to see the canal restored to navigation.

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Barkestone to Plungar Circular

Length of walk – 2 1/2 miles.

Parking near Barkestone Church on Jericho Lane

Follow directions for Barkestone circular walk to the canal, then immediately before the canal take the path on th left. in the second field turn half left across the field climbing to a projecting corner where a stile leads from this field.

1 Follow the hedge on the left to a stile, then cross two more fields and turn left on entering a third. Follow the hedge to a rough piece of field turn right to enter the garden of a bungalow then through a hedge to the road.

2 Turn left, then right past the church and right at the next junction. This is Granby Lane, follow this to the canal turning right to return along the towing path. Leave at the second bridge colimbing Jericho Lane back to the church.

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Barkestone – Plungar – Barkestone

Length of walk – 3 miles

Parking near Barkestone Church on Jericho Lane

From Barkestone church take the footpath left to Granby from Jericho Lane. Cross a stile and turn right as waymarked, follow the hedge on right to a stile. Climb this and turn hlaf left across field to stile onto Granby Lane. Turn right and immediately before canal take the path on the left, in the second field turn half left across the field climbing to a projecting corner where a stile leads into this field.

Follow the hedge on the left to a stile, then cross two more fields and turn left on entering a third. Follow the hedge to a rough piece of field, turn right to enter the garden of a bungalow then through a hedge to the road. Turn left, then right past the church and right at the next junction.

This is Granby Lane, follow this to the canal turning right to return along the tow path. Leave at the second bridge climbing Jericho Lane back to the church.

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Plungar Circular

Length of walk – 2 1/2 miles.

Parking near Church in Church Lane or Post Office Lane.

From the church, Plungar, come out of Church Lane, onto Barkestone Lane and turn right towards Harby. As the road bends left, go straight on following the footpath fingerpost over the stile.

1 Walk with the hedge on the right until you reach a gate, then in the next field walk with the fence on your left around the private property.

2 At the path junction turn right to cross a stile then dismantled railway line. Bear left across the field of ridge and furrow, and in the next field walk with the hedge to the left.

3 Cross another dismantled railway line via the bridge (caution, no parapet wall). Follow the path through the young woodland, cross the bridge and turn right to walk along the canal towpath back towards Plungar.

Cross a farm access road, then at the road turn right to return to the start.

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Redmile Circular

Length of walk – 1 mile

Go down Church Lane to the very end, turn left around the last house. Go through the gate and follow a green lane which turns left after 0.5 mile and ends at a wooden gate.

Go through the gate, turn left and cross a stile, follow the hedge on the right but increasing your distance from it to about 20 yards to cross a bridge over a stream. Continue past the corner of a projecting field on your left to a stile then a gate between farm buildings. Go through this gate and continue to a stile and path by the school field to emerge on the main street. 

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Redmile

With its school & pub, Redmile may look like a thriving village but these activities are nothing compared to former times. Post Office Lane gets its name from the building on the corner of Main St. The Ol Post Office closed in 1981 after 50 years service by Mrs Briggs and before that her father, who was also the tailor. Opposite lived the sweep, there was a Co-Op, now Old Shop Cottage, and another shop/bakery, now Chimney Pots. Two covvlers worked along here, but out of sight in rear outbuildings. Crossing over, the saddler worked in the small building next to the playground and another bakehouse gave its name to Bakers Lane. 

For a haircut at least three men would give you a trim in their spare time but in later days Mr Deacon brought his electric clippers from Bottesford and set up in a front room on Wednesdays/ There was a policeman and joiner/undertaker and even a fish & chip shop, this being in The Byre on Church Lane. All this and nine farms must have ensured  plenty of life in Redmile even before the motor car. 

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Redmile Circular Walk 2

Length of walk – 3.5 Miles

Go down Church Lane, Redmile to the very end, cross the cattle grid and turn right across the field to a stile by the Ash tree. Cross the stile and bear left to pass through a gate and continue diagonally across the field to the far corner, head for the spire of Barkestone Church.

Cross a stile and continue across the field. Cross two waymarketd stiles and enter Barkestone by a gate onto Fishpond Lane. Walk through the village to the church and continue down Jericho Lane to the canal, then turn right using the tow path to reeturn to Redmile.

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Disused Railway Line

The local railway was built as a pincer action to filch traffic from the Midland Railway, joint promoters being the Great Northern to the east, and the London North Western to the west. Opened in 1879 it carried ironstone to Yorkshire and local produce to cities and markets. Coal was the main import and later oil to Redmile storage depot. Coal from the east Midlands to London was the money maker of the joint line but this used the section through Barnstone.

Passengers were carried, but neither Barkestone or Plungar had stations and that provided at Redmile was hardly for the village folk. The Duke of Rutland had looked favourably on the building of the line and the station at Redmile being just two miles from Belvoir Castle was fitted out in grand style. The enclosed canopy extended to the platform edge for a length of two carriages and the private reception rooms had decoration suitable for high ranking visitors including the Prince of Wales. It closed in 1951 and was demolished soon after. Now only the bridge, station masters house and three cottages remain. 

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Walk: Knipton – The Manners Arms

Length of walk – 5 miles.

This walk connects three villages, Knipton, Croxton Kerrial & Branston. (There are excellent pubs in all three, The Manners Arms at Knipton, The Geese and Fountain at Croxton Kerrial and The Wheel at Branston).

Knipton lies between Belvoir Upper Lake and the Knipton Reservoir and most of the village is off the main road. Croxton is more compact and the lightter building stone is very different form the brown marlstone used in Branston. There are incredible views from Branston in the direction fo the reservoir.

From the car park of the Manners Arms, turn right uphill onto the road to Croxton. As you reach the top, look back for a good view of Belvoir Castle. As the ground levels out, you will see the spre of Branston church and the village, just over 1 mile away. As you enter Croxton, you will see the church on your left. Have a look around the village, then turn right into Chapel Lane. Walk along the lane downhill to the waterworks, which is about half a mile from the centre of the village. Here the lane changes from a wide farm track w hich might be muddy in wet weather. Follow this track as it bears left over the hill. Carry on for 3/4 mile until the track reaches the Branston-Knipton road. At the road, turn left to follow this pleaseant lane into Branston. Note the village quarry, now derelict, into the local marlstone, to your right.

At the main street, turn right past the Wheel Inn, the old school with its bell still inatact on the right and, almost opposite, St Guthlac’s church. Look for the bridlepath sign on the right and turn into this path between the buildings. This leads to a handgate on the left of a small paddock. Go through this gate crossing a steep sided valley to a wide wooden gae which you can see high up on the far side. You will need to find the best place to cross the tiny stream in the valley floor. As you follow this route you have fine view of the Knipton Reservoir.

When your reach the gate on the far side of the valley (and it is quite a climb  up to it) look to  your left you  find a handgate only a few yards away. Go through this and follow a large field all the way round its edge  until it takes you to the Branston/Knipton road at cottages, formerly part of Croxton Lodge. Turn left to follow the road into Knipton, 1 mile away. At a T-junction you bear right into the village. About 1/2 mile further on take the Croxton road which leads you back to The Manners Arms.

Please find a little time to look around Knipton which has some very interesting features, especially off the main road. The walk can easily be combined with a visit to Belvoir Castle, only 2 miles away, which is open from early April to early October. (Telephone 01476 870262 for actual days and times).

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Walk – Hose – 7 miles
Map: OS Landscape 129
Suitable for all the family & dogs
Good network of footpaths and tracks, climb over Harby Hills, muddy in places

1: Start
With the church on your right on Bolton Lane, locate a public footpath signpost, left by a farm. An enclsoed path leads into the farmyard, then bear left through a farm gate on to a grassy farm track. A hedge is on your right as yo uwalk ahead before following round to the right. turn left, climb the next stile then bear right across the field. Pass through a farm gate, turn left and walk diagonally across the rield to the road.

2: 1.6km/1 mile
turn left and follow the road into Long Clawson village. Turn left onto the road towards Hose. Then, just pas Water Lane, turn right at a public signpost. Cross the field to the farm buildigns and follow the farm track to the right, to the rear of the buildings. Cross two fields, making for a yellow-topped waymarker post on the horizon near to Highfield Farm. Continue ahead crossing a number of stiles until you reach a quiet road.

3: 3.6km/2.4 miles
Cross to the stile opposite, climb uphill passing the bungalows to reach a track before Mount Pleasant Farm.

4: 4km/2.5 miles
Turn right, walk along the track to a gropu of farm buildings where you turn left at the second waymarker ost. Follow around the left hand field perimeter, now heading for Harby Hill. Continue ahead as directed then cross the old railway track bed. Continue on, then turn left at a waymarker arrow to climb up on to a grassy mound. Walk by the wood then climb up through the wood at the next stile to the top.

5: 6km/3.4 miles
Follow the field path around to the right, ignoring a gate and waymarker arrows on the right. Head towards Hilltop Farm, then turn left at the waymarker post back across the field to the wood. Descend through the wood to reach a wooden hand gate.

6: 7.3km/4.5 miles
Descend a grassy field to a stile then halfway over the next field bear right to locate a metal gate. Cross the bridge over the old railway, then keep to the right and follow a line of waymarker posts ahead. Join a long farm track which will eventually bring you to the road. Turn left towards Harby to reach a yellow-topped waymarker post and bridleway signpost.

7: 9.3km/5.4 miles
Turn left through the gate, join a pleasant grassy path ahead that must not be deviated from to return to Hose. Turn right into the village, then left to the village centre to complete the walk at the church.

Why not try the Rose & Crown at Hose for a well deserved drink & bite to eat.

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Kinoulton, Colston Bassett & Cropwell Bishop

County/Area – Nottinghamshire

Length – 8.5 miles / 13.8 km

Ascent – 200 feet / 61 metres

Grade – easy/mod

Start –NG12 3GB (approx. location only)

Walk Route Description

A circular walk taking in Kinoulton, Cropwell Bishop & Colston Basset.  There are small sections which walk along roads.

The start is a small car park (grid ref SK678324) located on the east side of the minor road from Kinoulton to Cropwell Bishop. After parking walk south along this road over the Grantham Canal and descend the to towpath. Walk south west with the canal on your right. This section of the canal has water and is under restoration. The canal turns left at the Devil’s Elbow towards Kinoulton. On your right is Vimy Ridge Farm with its avenue of Lombardy trees which were originally planted in commemoration of the death of the owner’s son during World War One. The original planting was replaced as part of the Millennium celebrations.

Reaching the next bridge (grid ref. SK675306) leave the canal towpath and walk east through the village of Kinoulton. Reaching the road junction at the heart of the village continue straight ahead on the lane leading to Hall Farm (grid ref. SK684314) where a bridleway leads across fields in a north easterly direction to join an enclosed track that leads to the attractive village of Colston Bassett where refreshments are available.

Continue straight ahead passing the church on your right. At grid ref. SK700334 take the footpath on the left. This path leads past the remains of St Mary’s Church to reach a lane. Go straight across the lane and continue on the bridleway past Home Farm on your right. This leads into Pasture Lane, a track that leads to a road on the east side of Cropwell Bishop (grid ref. SK687354). Turn right and walk through the village to a road junction (grid ref. SK679355).

Turn left here following a road heading south. After about 500 yards you are able to join the towpath alongside the Grantham Canal. This section of the canal was, at the time of writing, overgrown and dry. However there was evidence that work was in hand to restore the canal. Continue along the canal roughly south to return to the start point.

More about St Mary’s, Colston Basset

Colston Bassett – St Mary

The ruins of St Mary’s Church stand on a low rise nearly a kilometre north east of the village of Colston Bassett. It was built on the site of an older church, probably Saxon. (A Saxon stone has been found nearby.) It was definitely in existence by 1135.

The oldest visible part, according to Pevsner, is the walled-up Norman north arcade with circular piers but pointed arches. The south arcade was partly transitional, partly 14th century. Also of the 14th century are the chancel and tower arch, although the tower is 15th century with the typical frieze of this neighbourhood.

Pevsner thought the south transept must have had ’a sumptuous window’ but it is now all gone. In the mid-18th century classical windows were inserted.

Much of the building is of blocks of blue bias limestone in thin layers. Several different stones, eg white limestone and ironstone, were used for dressing and facing. There are a number of good slate headstones in the churchyard.

The depopulation of the Wolds led to decline and by 1744 the church was in disrepair. Permission was granted to demolish the north aisle, arcade and transept and south porch. In 1892 the Diocese allowed the interior fittings and roof to be removed after Robert M Knowles of Colston Bassett Hall built the new church of St John the Divine in the village.

Two bells were transferred to the latter and the screen went to Long Whatton All Saints, Leicestershire.

However St Mary’s was never de-consecrated. In July 2005 a service of re-dedication was held in the ruins following restoration work, which began in 1994 led by John Severn. It is a scheduled Ancient Monument and is listed Grade I

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Walk – Harlaxton loop via Denton & Harlaxton Manor

6 miles (approx. 2.5 hours)

Elevation 213 feet

Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Good for Kids, Great Views, Lake/Loch, Mostly Flat, Pub, Public Transport, Stately Home, Wildlife, Woodland

The walk is set in the Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, not far from the A1 and Grantham. The route is generally flat and across agricultural land, but includes a couple of miles of quiet country roads or lanes with broad grass verges. The walk ends with a visit to a magnificent 19th Century manor-house.

‘Harlaxton Manor was built in the 1830s for Gregory Gregory, a Nottinghamshire businessman, to replace the original Elizabethan Manor House in Harlaxton Village. Gregory employed Anthony Salvin as architect and Harlaxton Manor must be regarded as Salvin’s masterpiece. Built in Ancaster stone, it is an exuberant merging of Gothic, Jacobean and Baroque styles, creating an unforgettable and dramatic impact. Owner and architect had many differences of opinion, however. Salvin, having completed the exterior of the main building, was replaced by William Burn who is thought responsible for much of the interior. The house is now owned by the University of Evansville, Indiana, USA and is used as their British Campus’. (Culled from Harlaxton Manor website).

Information for Dog Owners: this walk is considered suitable for biddable dogs.


Harlaxton Village lies just off the A1 and A607. Park in the village centre in the lay-by near the war memorial and telephone kiosk, at the junction of High Street and Church Street; map ref SK 884316.

Sat Nav: NG32 1HB


The Gregory Pub and Dining Rooms, The Drift, Harlaxton is situated just north of the A607 road; telephone 01476-577076.

Harlaxton Village Store and Post Office: 01476-577155.

‘Every year Harlaxton College stages many weddings, conferences, summer residential programmes and special events, welcoming many thousands of visitors from across the world.

Harlaxton Manor provides a warm welcome for all visitors as well as providing essential venue services for event organisers’. (Culled from Harlaxton Manor website).

1 From lay-by by telephone kiosk, turn up Church Street. Then turn right.
3 Leave churchyard via gate to left and walk straight on alongside hedge. Pass through small yard, then enter paddock via gate with chain.
4 Bear left across paddock to exit via another gate.
5  Cross road to reach metal field-gate, which I found easier to climb than to open. Now head due south across fields…
6  … over several stiles…
7  .. and pass through trees…
8  .. then along path in next field. to reach and cross track by Wealdmore Lodge Farm (where you might be barked at, then greeted joyously, by small, nondescript dog).
9  Passing through double wooden field-gates, carry on ahead alongside hedge.
10  Reach metal steps up to lane. Turn right along lane, using broad grass verge.
11 Pass outskirts of Hungerton…
12  .. and continue along lane. At next crossroads, turn right towards Denton. Views open up along here and Belvoir Castle may be seen in distance on left.
13  After nearly one mile your lane descends and Denton appears below. Carry on down.
14  Reach A607 road at gatehouse to Denton Manor. Carefully cross A607 and walk into Denton.
15  Look out for public footpath between houses on right. (Footpath sign is further in on telegraph pole). Footpath leads into meadow.
16  Cross footbridge near fallen tree. Now walk uphill and cross track and two more stiles.
17  Walk up another rise, with church spire at Harlaxton presently coming into view. Soon you must cross that busy A607 again.
18  Safely across, continue in similar direction across fields towards Harlaxton.
19 Cross stile to left of first house. Path leads back to church. Here retrace steps down Church Street to reach High Street and your car. To complete walk, proceed left along High Street past village store.
20  After Number 17, turn right through gate onto footpath.
21 Shortly you turn right onto long approach drive…
22 … cross bridge over lake, pass walled garden and…
23 …. approach gatehouse. Immediately before gatehouse is drive to right, which serves as exit from Harlaxton Manor. This will be your way back. Pass through gatehouse.
24  See Harlaxton Manor in all its glory. Return through gatehouse.
25 Take exit drive, now on your left.
26  As you proceed along exit drive, take your last look back. Carry on into Manor Drive and out onto road, where turn right back to start.

 

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