Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Leicestershire Round part 2. Mountsorrel to Frisby on the Wreake

Day 2 on the Leicester Round. Mountsorrel to Frisby. Todays walk will leave the highland of the Charnwood Forest, follow the River Soar upstream, cross over the Six Hills ridge before descending down into the Wreake Valley. In todays walk we would pass through Mountsorrel, Cossington, Ratcliffe College, Rearsby, Hoby and Frisby on the Wreake. The path starts by the River Soar and head South east towards Cossington. We would pass the field at Cossington meadows where last winter I photographed the Owls that I put on this blog. The weather on this day was hot and humid and almost too warm for the length of the walk. The first part of the walk seemed a bit noisy for my liking, with the trafic on the A6 and A46 and the trains on the two rail lines but the walk quickly leads to blissful isolation.
The low land around the River Soar valley offers the occasional glimpse of the city of Leicester to the south.
Just outside Cossington you cross the main line from Leicester to Nottingham. Luckily a road bridge takes you over this one but later on the walk level crossings tale you across.
The road climbs slowly up to Ratcliffe College. This is the last place to savour the view to the west until Borough Hill Fort since the Six Hills Ridge blocks the view. One last look shows almost the entire route so far. To the very left is Bradgate Park and to the right Buddon Wood. The land between Buddon Wood and here is that covered in the walk today.
To get between Ratcliffe College and Rearsby you have to cross the A46. This is the most god awful road to cross imaginable. It is four lanes and the cars thunder along at 80 mph or more. If any part of this route needed improvement, this road should be bridged or the path rerouted under the road a km to the south at Ratcliffe.
The road follows the ridge of the six hills with the River Sour to the west and the river Wreake to the east. Having survived the crossing the walker is greeted with the expanding view below of the Wreake Valley. This picture below show a distant stomping ground of my own. The far horizon shows the end of the Jurrasic Ridge Billesdon Coplow and infont of that one of my favorite places, Barkby Holt Wood.
This part of the Leicester Round crosses the Leicester to Melton line of the railway three times. All three crossings are level crossings but since we only saw two trains in the whole day it is significantly safer than crossing the A46.
From Rearsby its another couple of miles to Hoby heading North East and slightly uphill following the River Wreake against its flow.
A distant Hoby Church seen on the horizon beyond many fields of Oil Seed Rape. The Wreake Valley is well known for its beautiful Jurassic sandstone church spires. Some of which are delightfully pointy.
At Hoby we cross the river Wreake for the last time. Since this river drains into the River Soar close to where I live I have often seen its slow green waters but I have never seen them as far upstream as this.
The Path leaves Hoby to the south. A little way out and a distant wood could be seen on the northern horizon. This same wood is visible from a large number of places because it straddles a slight hill. Being closer and having a map at hand allowed me to identify it as Ragdale Wood on the Six Hills.
With Hoby Church spire receding into the distance behind us we battled on through fields of maturing rape seed. The rubbery pea pods invaded the path and made a progress slow.
Finally after about seven hours of walking the Church at Frisby came into view. Our car parked below it offered a sit down and thermos full of tea. A well deserved break from a stiflingly hot day out and about in Leicestershire.

If you would like a closer look at the route then click the link below

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