I now had a map with a line showing the preferred route and a series of dots offering points of interest on the line or close by. It had already become apparent that only in a very few places could I strictly follow the chosen course.
Dots show the selected points of interest on my route. Do you recognise the shape?
Features such as rivers, with their limited crossing points would influence the route. Also I didn’t want to be walking through miles of built up areas and major roads had to be avoided so detours would be required. The Rights of Way “network” does not stand alone but forms part of a highway network including roads so I needed to find paths that linked with other paths rather than using any that end on a busy road.
There are also some footpath deserts that blight my route where I would have no choice but to circumnavigate the area. Locally the old parkland at Stapleford to the east of Melton Mowbray has long been jealously guarded by the Lords of Harborough. One successfully kept the Midland Railway at bay so it’s hardly surprising that no footpaths cross this estate.
The Germans also have much to answer for. We built numerous airfields in the Second World War. Footpaths were cut and when peace returned no one thought to reconnect them so ancient paths that once offered direct links to other settlements north of Higham on the Hill now end at the perimeter fence of the Motor Industry Research Association’s ‘Proving Ground’. Initially such obstacles looked insurmountable, or at the very least would severely distort the route.
Even though we walk for pleasure I find no enjoyment following a twisting route that, like a James Brindley canal, is within sight of the same church tower all day.
Did you work out the route from my series of dots? Here are the dots with line.
The route will take the walk around the Leicestershire border
The walk would follow around the boundary of Leicestershire. The next step is a detailed look at the map.