Hiking round Harborough

Route: Circular  Distance: 6 miles
Route: Circular Distance: 6 miles

This week, our walk starts in the delightful market town of Market Harborough before taking in East Farndon and Great Oxendon on a walk of six miles.

Start by parking on Western Avenue near the Farndon Road end in Market Harborough. Walk down the lane past the side of the Farndon Fields Farm Shop on Farndon Road. The bridleway follows a track past the back of some industrial type units.

As I write there is a housing development through which the bridleway passes. The builders have sectioned off a ‘pedestrian walkway’ so keep going over their access route. At the boundary to the new estate the Bridleway carries straight on but you need to turn left following the wooden stakes.

The footpath leads along this boundary and finally leaves it behind, over a narrow wooden bridge. This marks the Leicestershire-Northamptonshire border.

In the field follow the path to the two high wooden electricity posts you can see in the hedgerow. You emerge onto the East Farndon to Lubenham road. Turn right up the lane a short way until a 3-way footpath marker.

Follow the one away from the village, up the hill.

The path crosses diagonally up the ridge and furrowed slope. Head for the tallest trees, this is where the stile into the next field can be found.

Nearby the Judith Stone can be found – an Ice Age relic left by a retreating glacier. Head up the hill. An unusual white and green modernist style house can be seen further up the lane on the edge of the village.

Cross over the next road and follow the signs saying Jurassic Way. This leads around the village further over some new stiles and past some rather nice houses and a stables. Just over the brow of the hill the church tower gradually comes into view, first the weather vane then more and more.

This area is full of hummocks and hollows – an ancient village.

Follow the footpath into the village, through a black wrought iron gate, over the road and up the steps that leads to the right of the church to rejoin the Jurassic Way. This field is full of lambs so if you are with a dog use the road instead. Head for the top right corner of the field, then out through a five bar gate. Turn left down Oxendon Road – still Jurassic Way. Easy walking down into Great Oxendon.

We strolled through the village to snoop at the houses.

Past the red phone box now a village information point. At the T junction turn left and carefully cross the A508. The George is a lovely pub inside with good beer, a good menu and a friendly welcome.

Past the village’s granite Millennium memorial and then the next right the footpath is clearly signed down someone’s drive. Follow the signs over a stile past a friendly horse.

The path is now called The Macmillan Way. It leads you down just where the disused railway tunnel ends – this is the pedestrian loop to avoid the spooky route. Keep going down the cutting, the path leads to join the flat old railway track – this one is Midshires Way. MIND OUT FOR CYCLISTS! Turn left under the brick bridge.

Keep on the track all the way back into Harborough. When the track reaches the Bowden Road turn left, go over the main road and right along until you get to Bath Street. This becomes Western Avenue, where you should find your car.

Contributed by Alison Bagley.