June Walks Giveaway: Beacon Hill, Leicestershire
This walk is reproduced from our popular walking book 'Pocket Pub Walks in Leicestershire & Rutland'.
📥 To download this walk and take it with you, click here!
BEACON HILL, LEICESTERSHIRE
Distance: 5 miles
This varied walk is both beautiful and exhilarating – and energetic as it climbs some 500 ft to the summit of Beacon Hill, the second highest point in Leicestershire at just over 800 ft above sea level, with stunning views. The route also visits Windmill Hill, which has the stump of a Victorian windmill, once a tourist attraction in its own right. After all this exertion, the return is a welcome contrast with a stroll down a pretty lane and then along a good track to Woodhouse Eaves.
RECOMMENDED PUB (in case you’re reading this in the future, when pubs are open again)
The Curzon Arms in Woodhouse Eaves.
HOW TO GET THERE & PARKING
From the A50, ½ mile east of junction 22 of the M1, take a minor road north, signed towards Shepshed. After about 200 yards, take the first road on the right, Priory Lane. At a crossroads with a more major road, keep ahead on Joe Moore’s Lane. Bear left at the next junction on Maplewell Road to Woodhouse Eaves and the Curzon Arms on the left, set back from the road.
1. With your back to the pub turn right along the road for about 100 yards. Take the first lane on the right, Mill Road. Continue ahead when this becomes a track.
2. Some 30 yards after passing a gate across the track turn right on a wide path up Windmill Hill. There are three paths leading onwards on the far side of the remains of the mill. Take the lefthand one, opposite the rear door, and follow the rather narrow path down to a T-junction. Turn left, steeply downhill back to the
track and turn right for 40 yards.
The windmill was an important landmark until it burned down in 1945. An information board tells you all about its history. The viewing platform on the stump was opened in 2004.
3. Do not go through the gate across the track but turn left through a small gate and follow the path along the right-hand side of a field to a metal kissing gate on the right towards the end of the field. Turn right through this and go ahead along the left-hand side of two fields to a gate into a wood. Follow the path ahead, parallel with a road, to a surfaced drive.
4. Turn right and cross the road and then a track and go ahead to a T-junction with a second track. Turn left for about 300 yards.
5. Turn right on a track marked by a tree stump carved as a face and walk along the track to a T-junction.
6. Turn left. Ignore a track on the right and go through a gate across the track. Some 20 yards after the gate bear left off the track on a grassy path uphill, passing to the left of a fenced pond. Follow this path up to the top of Beacon Hill, pausing often to admire the ever-widening view. At the top continue past the toposcope to the trig point. The toposcope shows many features in view, though you will need a clear day to see the more distant ones.
Beacon Hill is the second highest point in Leicestershire and is the site of a Bronze Age hill fort. When the last Ice Age ended the rocks would have been surrounded by forest, which was cleared by early farmers for grazing so that heathland developed. This would revert to scrub and woodland without management and the rare-breed sheep, cows and pigs you may see are part of this. The longhorn cattle look quite fearsome with their curving horns but one reason for choosing that breed is that they are docile animals, not upset by people or dogs, so you have no reason to be alarmed by them.
7. From the trig point go downhill a short way to a clear path in front of a wall. Turn right and continue past an information board opposite a small metal gate on the left, and round a right-hand bend to a second small metal gate on the left.
8. Turn left through this and follow the path downhill, initially through trees, to a track. Cross the track and go through a wooden barrier. Keep ahead along the path, ignoring a wide path on the left, to eventually reach a lane.
9. Turn right and follow the lane down to a road junction.
10. Cross the road and continue ahead along a drive, signed ‘Loughborough 1½’. Some 25 yards after a drive on the left, fork right on a track, which becomes a surfaced drive after passing Hangingstone Farm. Continue to a road at Woodhouse Eaves.
11. Cross the road and continue in the same direction along Main Street through Woodhouse Eaves. Turn right along Maplewell Road back to the Curzon Arms.
- Alex Batho