5 HISTORICAL AUTUMN WALKS IN LEICESTERSHIRE
Autumn has always been my very favourite season. From the crunch of the crisp earthy toned-leaves and landscapes, the shorter days, the morning hue or evening mist in the air, it’s time to notch up the togs on the duvet, wrap up warm in layers and stride in the new seasonal landscape with the reward of a mug of hot chocolate and watching those around devour pumpkin pie (I’m not a fan myself!!). Autumn is a sheer pleasure to changing vista lovers like myself and the thought of hygge-filled times ahead. Oh and not to forget my childhood love of conker fights and roasted chestnuts!!
Long autumn walks are one of my favourite seasonal pastimes so here are a few, which I particularly love as not only are they local to me but are intertwined with snippets of Leicestershire’s heritage.
1. Abbey Park
Located a stone’s throw away from the city centre, Abbey Park was a Leicester Abbey back in the twelfth century as the name refers. It was the same place where Cardinal Wolsey (King Henry VIII’s almoner) was said to be laid to rest. There is a statue, which represents this spot.
The park is a vast site to walk around and is especially a beautiful complement of colours due to the variety of evergreen shrubs, trees and boating lake with the Rived Soar running through it.
Spot the remains of the mansion, known as Cavendish House, which boasts the beautiful Victorian section of the park.
There is also a café on site close to cardinal Wolsey’s statue to sit in or grab a hot beverage and snacks in the colder weather.
Expect to spend several hours here taking in the glory of this former manicured abbey grounds.
Address : Abbey Park. Leicester, LE4 5AQ
2. Bradgate Park
If you love a country walk, the town of Newton Linford, on the outskirts of Leicestershire hosts the stunning Bradgate Country Park, which covers 830 acres of land and was originally a deer park. So naturally today you will see much of the resident deer herd roaming the park, that you can also access daily for free walks to learn more about them.
The park offers some of the finest views over the county and Leicestershire’s smallest river, the Lin runs through the lower end of the park, where there is a popular picnic spot.
You can climb up to the 18th century folly, Old John, which sits at the top of the park and take in the views or mooch around the old ruins of Bradgate House, where Lady Jane Grey lived in her younger years. Hear the sounds of the friendly peacocks as you meander the old grounds.
The vast landscape of the park is particularly awe-inspiring during the autumn with the ever-changing hues from early morning to evening.
Address: Bradgate Park, Newtown Linford, Leicester LE6 0HE
Information : Website
3. New Walk
A stunning mile-long example of a tree lined Georgian pedestrian promenade, New Walk was intended to connect Welford Place, at the bottom of the walk, to Leicester racecourse, which is now Victoria Park. New Walk has been a protected conservation area since 1969.
For me New Walk is at its prettiest in the autumn, with the trees shedding their leaves, the odd squirrel scurrying in a hurry up a tree, a beautiful catholic church and an array of once aristocratic houses built in the 1820’s, which are now offices and private residences. There also a couple of open spaces including The Oval, a gated park and De Montfort Square, housing a statue of Robert Hall.
This promenade was referred to once as Leicester’s only respectable street!
Address: New Walk., Leicester
Read all about The Story of New Walk through the times
To find out more on Historic Leicester, click on my Local’s Guide below:
4. Foxton Locks
Love canal and barges, head to Foxton locks and walk along the longest and steepest staircase locks in the UK and peruse their incredible Victorian engineering! There are a flight of 10 locks and also the canal House museum to pop into for some respite!
Over 4,000 pass through Foxton Locks a year, which makes it the most visited places on the canals and if after the walk up the locks you fancy a boat ride you can take one yourself or visit the pub at the bottom of the locks or even have a autumn picnic!
The locks are a great way to see the autumn colours and the surrounding countryside.
Address: Bottom Lock, Gumley Rd, Foxton, Market Harborough LE16 7RA
5. Victoria Park
Until 1883, Victoria Park was the city’s racecourse but today forms 69 acres of open parkland and it is perfect for walks, exercising and visiting the wartime memorial of those brave who fell.
The park has two war memorials, the most notable being the memorial arch (Cenotaph) commemorating the fallen of World War 1. This was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who also designed the Cenotaph in London at Whitehall.
The other memorial, is a small rock memorial which commemorates the American 82nd Airbourne division who were based in Leicester prior to the D day landings in 1944.
Victoria Park is framed with trees and mapped with pathways, which are also lined with trees that give the perfect crunch leafy paths and benches for a short rest in between taking in the vastness.
Address: Granville Rd, Leicester LE1 7RY
There you have it, some of my favourite Autumn walks in my home county. Tell me, are you a fan of Autumn? what are your favourite activities at this time of year?