Bottesford – Upper Broughton 14 miles (23 km)
Although this is section one of the Leicestershire Border Walk there is no necessity to start here. Personally I did desire to make the circuit of the county a contiguous walk but as noted by these reports I started on section four at Castle Donington and walked anti-clockwise. Because there is no written route instructions you could easily reverse the direction and start anywhere.
Plungar from The Gas
Looking at Leicestershire from the city of Leicester, Bottesford is perhaps the most isolated settlement within the boundary. As the crow flies Bottesford is 25 miles from Leicester with no direct link by road or rail to the city. Logistically this may well be the most difficult to reach. There is however a two bus link between the start and end using services 19 and 24 changing at Melton.
Footpath alongside Barkestone church
The walks starts along Barkestone Lane which the maps shows as a direct connection between the two villages but not a route for motor traffic. Taking a path across the fields brings us to Redmile where at the time of writing the once prosperous Peacock Inn is awaiting some TLC.
From Redmile to Hose the walk could have used the towpath of the canal. We stay on the field paths but this parallel path offers you the opportunity to make circular walks. The villages come thick and fast along this section and all have some services but check opening times if you plan a visit. Dove Cottage Hospice also offers a tea room alongside the canal at Stathern Lodge. Finally there is the bus threading its way along the narrow roads offering you the opportunity to split this section or create short linear walks, no wonder the Vale of Belvoir is already a popular walking destination.
Long Clawson Old Manor House B&B available here
Long Clawson lives up to the name being a straggling settlement hugging the road that famously has twelve sharp bends serving to calm traffic speed. Another tea shop in the centre opposite the doctors surgery and pleasant protected paddocks cheek by jowl to the constant pressure for more housing.
At West End Long Clawson Dairy has been making Stilton cheese since 1911, when production moved from farm to factory. There have been casualties along the way as will be seen at Nether Broughton but Peak District ramblers will be aware of the derelict shell at Hartington and a modern cheese factory at Harby has stood abandoned for many years. The cold war still simmers with producers at Stilton in Cambridgeshire peeved that they can’t use the name.
After a mile the walk leaves Long Clawson and climbs Slyborough Hill from which there should be decent views, but not for me as the day retained a stubborn mist. These fields appear to have been abandoned to nature and have become rough untended pasture. Nether Broughton offers a series of information boards around the village for which you might like to detour and locate. The one in front of the Anchor Inn tells us of the many small producers of Stilton which like most activities have been consolidated to large factory units. The trend with beer is currently the opposite and just off route at Old Dalby, Queensway, is Belvoir Brewery one of the many micro breweries that have appeared in recent years.
Nether and Upper Broughtons share a name but are divided by county and the Dalby Brook crossed on a plank bridge between the two villages marks our first crossing into Nottinghamshire.
Nether Broughton Heritage Trail
Go to the next part of the walk Part 2 click here