This is part paved and part paths which can be muddy in places in poor weather. The walk should take about 2 hours.
We are taking Quorn Cross as our starting point and we set off along Meeting Street and Chaveney Road. This first half mile is of historic interest. Meeting Street once part of the ancient salt road that linked the Midlands with the east coast. Two typical architectural features to look out for as you walk around the older parts of the village are walls built of granite, from the nearby quarry (Buddon Wood Quarry opened in 1821) and roofs with diminishing courses of Swithland slates (smaller slates higher up the roof). This walk takes us round the quarry and could be said to go round the upside-down hill. Budden Hill as was is now one of the biggest holes in the ground in Europe
Beyond the award-winning Memorial Garden and the flood barrier to the left as we start, flows Buddon Brook, whose course we will be following all the way upstream to Swithland Reservoir. Walk about half a mile and then turn left and joining the public right of way at the footpath sign just past Elms Drive.
Soon after turning left, we pass the site of the former Chaveney's Water Mil (also called Quorn Water Milll, now Mill Farm). From the 16th to the 19th century when Swithland Reservoir was built, a mill race from the brook was the motive power for this corn mill; the actual site of the old millwheel is not visible from the public footpath. Just after we enter the brookside path itself, you can see the remains of an ancient moated site beyond the far bank. This was probably the site of a hunting lodge for Quorndon Park, the former medieval deer park that existed from at least 1139 and extended over 360 acres that included Buddon Wood and the land now covered by Swithland Reservoir – under which lies the site of another lodge.
Make the most of this half-mile section of the walk alongside the alder-fringed Buddon Brook, as there's plenty of wildlife about.
After walking parallel to the Great Central Railway and turning left at Rabbit Bridge we descend to Swithland Reservoir. This was created between 1894 and 1896 by damming Buddon Brook and forms a combined system with Cropston Reservoir further upstream. The elegant architecture and landscaping of the Victorian water treatment works to the left certainly offer a contrast with equivalent schemes today. The reservoir itself supports a wealth of bird life which abounds in this area, as do wild flowers and the insects etc. which rely on them. The jewel in the crown is this reservoir, where NatureSpot ( www.naturespot.org.uk ) have records of 233 species. Wildfowl includes Greylag, Pink-footed and Canada Geese, Tufted and Mandarin Ducks, Goldeneye, Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Pochard, Shoveler, Smew, Goosander, Scaup and Pintail. Less common bird species include Garganey, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Common Scoter, Cormorants, Little and Great White Egrets, Great crested, Black-necked and Little Grebes Peregrines can sometimes be seen in Buddon Wood
After crossing the controlled outlet to Buddon Brook and turning onto the eastern shore of the reservoir, we begin to skirt Buddon Wood Quarry, out of sight but plunging down cliffs hundreds of feet deep beyond the remaining woods to our left. The rocks of Charnwood are among the oldest in Britain and an important source of hard rock. Systematic quarrying began here in the late 1700s. Just before Buddon Hill became a quarry, large amounts of Iron Age pottery and quern-stones were found on it, offering more evidence that this was the site of a Celtic settlement overlooking the Soar Valley. 'Querns' were hard stones used for grinding corn and Quorndon therefore means 'quern hill'.
After climbing up Kinchley Lane, we turn left onto Wood Lane and then right onto the common at Bond Lane, Mountsorrel. (Alternatively you can take a short-cut back to Quorn by staying on Wood Lane.) Take care as either route carries traffic with limited pavements.
Turning right here at Kinchley Lane takes us on a short deviation of approximately 230 metres to the Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre and Granite's Coffee Shop where refreshments are available.
In springtime the common is alive with golden gorse blossom and the ground is carpeted with wood anemones.
Not far into Bond Lane the road passes over the route of the old branch line from the Great Central Railway at Swithland to the quarry. After bearing left, we see the re-created contours of the formerly quarried Broad Hill, thought to be the site of a 4th-century Roman villa.
The double over-bridge now carries road traffic from the quarry works, while the second, single bridge just beyond carries the mineral conveyor which moves material from the current quarry to the railhead at Barrow, along the route of the former 1860 branch line to the Midland Railway.
For refreshments, turn left before the main road into the Stonehurst Family Farm and fascinating largely motors Museum.
Follow the main road back to your start.