East Norton – Burton Lazars 15 miles (24.5 km)
I dropped off the 747 at the shelter on the A47, not too convenient for the residents of East Norton but the by-pass was perhaps a price worth paying. The bridleway is soon crossing large arable fields where local riders use the alternative headland paths. There appears to be no remains of Loddington Mill as the only visible buildings are fairly modern.
East Norton Hall through a thin autumn hedge
Towards the end of cross field track we pass the faint remains of the high Leicestershire railway line after which we take a footpath across the field to the church. The little church of St Michael and All Angels stands remote from the village with no connecting road only the cross field footpath, pity the poor pallbearers.
I’d heard rumour for some time of a Youth Hostel having once been located in Loddington. Today I speculated that it may have been located at The Grange. Investigation on my return home, confirmed this and there are some interesting memories at Leicestershire Villages (opens a new window)
Loddington Grange the former Youth Hostel
I had considered taking in Launde Abbey but this required a fair bit of road walking although it would keep the route in Leicestershire. In the end I decided to enter Rutland and keep off the roads. Because Rutland was annexed by Leicestershire in 1974 when the LFA devised their centenary walk in 1987 they took it briefly into the smallest county. Part of our foray again joins the Round for a mile.
As the walk meets the county boundary we pass an Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar. These obsolete structures dotted around the British mainland usually stand proud in the landscape marking a place where we can pause and take in a fine view. Here at 191 metres above sea level the view is fair but the pillar is almost lost in the hedge.
This is a fairly remote bit of countryside between Loddington and Knossington and the remaking of the landscape through the Leighfield Estate emphasises this. The fields are large but the public paths stay on estate tracks or along headlands and the rolling landscape allows distant views emphasising the vastness of the estate a parish without a village.
I was on known territory but unfamiliar paths. It was interesting to look down onto Withcote Hall through which I’d passed many times using the route of the Round. The path has been diverted at Preston Lodge so take care if you have an old map, the footpath to Knossington has little sign of use so I’m pleased to include it on this walk. As I pass through the village so does the 113 bus which serves the area on it’s corkscrew route between Melton and Oakham. This and other local services offer the opportunity to create linear walks.
Meeting the bus in Knossington
The garden centre at Cold Overton looks to be pushing further into the fields and may soon surround our path. There are some interesting buildings on the minor road passing the church. Our path passes through the sparse garden of a house before it drops away through a nice pasture field. The next section has been diverted and will soon be enclosed between trees on the right and a hedge on the left. Currently a view of the Queen Anne style house can be admired as I’m sure the owner desired by placing it here prominently in the landscape.
Somerby can still offer the services of a shop, pub and bus service so you can refresh yourself here or call it a day and get the bus to Melton or Oakham. Yet again our route joins the Leicestershire Round this for the last time until High Cross on the west side of the county. At the foot of the steep bank approaching Little Dalby you will find a seat provided to mark the achievements of Jim Mason who installed many of the original stiles and bridges to open up the Leicestershire Round.
Somerby shop and main street
Leaving the Round our walk is now part of the Jubilee Way extension although there is little sign. We could follow this to Belvoir but that cuts the corner so we will leave it and head east from Burton Lazars. This section ends here, while there are no services on offer in the village there are buses into Melton or the walk along the road has a pavement.
Go to the next part of the walk Part 14 click here