Walk 13 - Rothley
This walk visits the Saxon village of Rothley and surrounding Rothley Park estate. It is an easy 4 mile walk in traditional English countryside and settlement. There is seasonal mud in places and some uneven footpaths and should take a comfortable 90 minutes.
It starts from the car park on Warren Way at the junction with Hallfields Lane, at SK585124, post code LE7 7TN. There is a regular bus service from Leicester or Loughborough which takes you to Cross Green and you can start the walk from there as an alternative.
From the car park turn right along Hallfields Lane and after 100 yards, left along the footpath signed for the church. As you enter the churchyard note the tall Saxon shaft and the Grade II listed parish church. Christianity has been recorded on this site since before the Norman conquest.
Follow the path around the church and exit at the lychgate along School Lane passing the former church school on the left. Turn left along Fowke Street.
On your right are some old cottages including thatched Step Cottage erected in 1727.
Fowke Street leads to Cross Green and the war memorial.
Walk across the Green, cross North Street and walk along Woodgate passing the shops.
Keep straight ahead until Woodgate merges with Wellsic Lane.
Keep right and after 100 yards there is a signed footpath on the left leading to the cricket clubhouse.
Take this path and glance over to your right where the middle age remains of the Knights Templar manor (subsequently passed on to the Knights Hospitaller), can be seen. The manor was passed to the Babbington family in 1565, some 25 years after the dissolution of the monasteries. Nowadays it is the Rothley Court Hotel but it still houses the old Knights' chapel.
Keep left of the Clubhouse and pass through two gates to the third by the side of a house and then turn left. You will reach Rothley's second green, Town Green.
Spot the surrounding cruck cottages.
At the Green turn right across the grass and right again along a no-through road named Town Green Street.
Pass over the Rothley Brook bridge and take the footpath on the right signed for Thurcaston. The path goes between the fences, over the clapper-like bridge and through Rothley Park with its many old and large trees. The footpath then crosses the golf course following the yellow indicators to the railway.
Under the bridge and the footpath bends left across a field to Thurcaston village, at Mill Road. Turn left along Mill Road for 100 yards and at the far side of the road bend there is a footpath sign left. It leads you up a private drive, passes the garage and on the other side of it a yellow signpost showing the route into the field. Follow the hedge along your right hand side until the path bends right between the trees and a row of back gardens.
At the end you meet a bridle track where you need to turn left and follow the track, over the Great Central Railway and straight back towards Rothley along the other side of the golf course. When the track turns to tarmac and bears round to the left you will spot two footpaths on the right. Take the far one, across the field and across a second field. It ends at a gateway on the edge of a new housing estate.
Go through the gate by the edge of the housing estate and immediately turn left along the earth bank by the dyke.
This will lead you back to the car park.