Via Newtown Linford and Anstey
Via Newtown Linford and Anstey
This route has been reviewed by 3 people.
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Reviews - 3
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Is this route good enough? - Yes (3)
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David Griffiths09 Nov 2023
Excellent route. Nice mix of town and country.
Hugh Hudson25 Oct 2023 (edited 26 Oct 2023)
Walked from Markfield to Leicester. Mostly good and safe, but there are stiles and wet muddy sections on the Leicestershire Round section, and quite a lot of noise alongside the A50.
From Markfield, the first two miles are identical to Marmou one (which I had just walked to reach Markfield). As Ken says, the path out to the A50 underpass is further east than the right of way line. Beyond the underpass, there is a choice of strictly following the right of way (partly along the wide verge of the A50) or using an unofficial alternative that cuts through a wooded area of access land. I chose the latter this time (having done the official version in the other direction a few minutes earlier) and though it appears well trodden there was one awkward spot passing between trees and bramble shoots. The Leicestershire Round path has more wet and muddy sections and a few stiles, so some may prefer the more direct route out of Markfield (see Marlou two).
Either way we should reach Newtown Linford easily enough, where it is easiest to stay on the south pavement down Main Road and Bradgate Road. Our path right starts up a lane just beyond Bracken Hill, and soon becomes narrow, fenced on both sides until the last house is passed. The path seems well used, though the path through Sheet Hedges Wood seems more popular than the right of way, which heads back into the field earlier. This path offers a good direct route to the edge of Anstey, and has wide views over the Soar valley.
A band of new houses is passed on a sandy path and we then follow a tarmac path right of the cemetery over Rothley Brook and under the A46. There is a choice of routes through the next field, though neither stays surfaced - I chose the higher one (the right of way line). They converge again to pass a sports field before going through trees to rejoin the A50. The next mile or so is a bit of a chore - the A50 has a wide pavement/cycle track with safe crossings of the two roundabouts, but it is noisy and not very enjoyable (though there aren't many clear alternatives so I can't be too critical).
Eventually we cross to the south side using pelican crossings and follow the signposted cycle route through residential streets, then right and left to join the Forest Way, an old railway. Before too long we reach the river Soar, where I chose to stay on the lower path rather than the cycle path. Unusually, OpenStreetMap is wrong - there is an exit to the bridge from the riverside path that does not involve steps.
We cross the bridge and follow the pavements into Leicester city centre, where the meeting point at the clock tower is unmissable.
Ken05 Dec 2022
I walked Markfield to Leicester. The route is a mix of country walking with stiles and cattle. It passes through the honeypot village of Newtown Linford. More field paths before a surprise of cross field paths with a good macadam surface. A section of pavement alongside a busy road before quiet roads, a cycle route and a short riverside path before crossing the river onto the busy city centre streets.
Leaving Markfield two navigational issues need care. The first path and crossing of the busy road is well signed but not quite as shown on the plot which is on the definitive line as shown on Ordnance Survey. The path then runs parallel to the road and eventually moves too close for comfort because the wide verge is only now mown along the highway edge. A well used alternative path goes through access land, the removal of the bottom fence rail would offer confidence that access is allowed.
Once into fields the walk is pleasant. Sometimes the path is enclosed but being the Leicestershire Round it is well signed through to Newtown Linford. The Round is a walk devised by members of the Leicestershire Footpaths Association in 1987 to celebrate a centenary of footpath campaigning by the organisation. This pretty village does get very busy having the main car park for the popular Bradgate Park. There are inns and cafes in the village.
The next section was open farmland mostly grass but often fenced from the cows. Sheet Hedges Wood may offer an alternative path but check on the byelaws before entering this county council land.
The constant creep of houses into fields appears inevitable but here a wide green corridor accommodates the surfaced path. Crossing the road the path alongside the cemetery is even better being an excellent tarmac surface and kissing gates indicate, for walkers only. A tunnel provides safe passage under the busy road, the surfaced path is inviting but the public path forks right or a walked path continues along the field edge after the surfaced path turns into the houses. Alongside Glenfield Sports Ground the path is fenced, I suspect to control dogs and keep the grass pitches clean and safe for users.
Meeting the road there is a shop at the filling station opposite but crossing the road is an issue and the large traffic islands mean a less than direct but safe passage on foot. The pavement passing County Hall is wide and shared with occasional cyclists. It was a relief to turn onto the quieter estate roads before joining the straight route of the Leicester and Swannington Railway, opened in 1832 it was an early competitor to the established boat traffic on the canals and rivers.
A new bridge takes the cycle route safely over a busy road to arrives riverside at Black Friars. A short walk alongside the Soar then over the bridge to meet the road, busy with traffic, pedestrians and delivery cyclists who appear to have priority over everyone. Halloween was a month ago so we were well into Christmas, not forgetting the festive extension for Leicester, Diwali.
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