Walk Diary Sunday 2 December 2018 Weather 10° fair.
Ticknall Depart 10 a.m. 11 miles Leader: Jane H.
No. on walk 14
I’ll start by saying that although the walk length shows eleven, that’s because half of us did a detour in pursuit of a cuppa, to Calke Abbey tea rooms, whilst the other half followed the planned route, which ended up at ten and a quarter miles. So that’s three quarters of a mile for a cuppa, but it was good, although the queue a bit long, in consequence it was nigh on four when we arrived back into Ticknall and I expect the other half of the group, already homeward or there already, it’s the first time in a long while since we last drove home in the dark.
A decent walk, with not too much in the way of hills, although surprisingly we seemed at one point to be on a level with Breedon on the Hill church. The weather held fine for us, with a very slight drizzle at the start, sunshine and a blue sky for some of the time.
We set off from the village hall car park in Ticknall, leaving donations in the honesty box for parking and the use of toilet facilities which was much appreciated. After crossing over A514 we entered Calke Park and after a short way we turned left, to meander along a variety of paths, all connected with the past industries carried out here, Lime, Bricks and Coal all resourced from below the ground. Eventually we followed the path above White Leys and Bradstone Holt to take our first break at the Staunton Harrold visitor centre.
Next, via road and field paths we made our way into Melbourne, walking past the ancient parish church of St. Michael with St. Mary, the church to one side and Melbourne Hall on t’other. Spectacular views as we rounded The Pool, the sun shimmering across its surface and many visitors watching the ducks feeding along the sides. We now continued south, passing Paddock Pool to the west and Scotland Farm to the east. You will see from the map there are many crossing paths in this region some of which have been rerouted, which caused some confusion at times, but to give Leicestershire County Council credit, new stiles and marker posts were much in evidence.
A quite late stop for lunch, due to there not being much windless shelter, we did find a good spot near to Racecourse Spinney and settled there. With lunch over we crossed over the road, at Melbourne Lodge and continued on to the shopping / craft centre at Staunton Harrold Hall, a quick browse and the use of certain facilities followed. Must remember to visit here on another day!
From the hall shopping centre, we made a direct line north west, first to Heath End and onward again to Standley’s Barn, then to make our way directly to Calke Abbey for tea, the others, as mentioned, turning to take the track through Deer’s Cote Spinney to finish back in Ticknall. A good day out, although the terrain was not too steep the surfaces were a little tacky due to recent rain, fortunately for us there were some good grassy fields to go through towards the end, so most of the boots went home reasonably clean.