Walk 9 – Markfield Tops
This walk takes you around the historic parts of the village. The walk is hilly and takes about 90 minutes leisurely.
It starts from The Co-op with its blue plaque showing it was previously the George Inn. This is a figure of eight walk and you can just do the first circuit. Cross over and by the bus stop take the path and walk up to the Green then go right behind the houses and follow the path swinging left round the hill and quarry, past allotments up to Hill Lane.
Here we have two choices. Taking the short option turn left down Hill Lane. There is a pavement to the end of the fenced off quarry and where it ends take the track to the left up the hill and enjoy the commanding view from the top.
Carry on down the other side following the well-marked grass track and you return to the Green.
The second option for the other loop involves turning right on Hill Lane.
Go up the hill to the end then turn left. As you pass the last of the commercial operations look to the right for a gate and information board where you can enter a Wildlife Trust site.
There are numerous paths to explore in this area but three principal ones to choose from. Start by following the grass path up to the ridge. Here, you can bear left and after a few yards take the path down hill to the left to exit onto the road at a second point.
This is the simplest route but more interesting is to stay on the ridge and enter a rocky knoll known as the Altar Stones.
As you pass through the wall a hard left takes you to the road but better to wander round the outcrop, from where you can enjoy wonderful views. It is said that during WWII you could see the bombing of Coventry some 30 miles away from this vantage point.
The third option is when you first reach the ridge go straight over and down the other side to swing left and take a low level route into Altar Stones with its various options.
In springtime this route is well worth taking as the bottom areas are rich in bluebells.
All three routes bring you to a second entrance/exit onto the road.
Turn left and retrace your steps back to Hill Lane and the quarry and then follow the short option back to the Green.
Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust own and manage the two adjoining and linked blocks. These are obviously quite well-used judging by the various paths. The star attractions are in Altar Stones with its frost shattered cocks-comb ridges and impressive lichens. The summit provides good views all round, with he nearby A50 only evident by the hum of traffic.
From time to time, to keep the undergrowth down, docile cattle are grazed in the first block known as Blacksmith's Meadow. Wire fences keep the cattle in but do not unduly spoil the open aspect of the site.