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We welcome enquiries from groups wishing to visit and will do our best to accommodate any particular requirements.

Having hosted a  wide variety of walking groups, history societies, railway/coal mining/windmill enthusiasts, U3As, Women’s Institutes, Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and other community groups, we thoroughly enjoy sharing our Trust sites and welcome enquiries for future visits.

Tailored school activity days can be arranged including themes such as the Little Red Hen story or woodland activities.

For enquiries please select the Mill and Mining Tours option when sending an email via our Contacts page https://swannington-heritage.co.uk/trust/contact/

Hough Mill Tours

Full tours of Hough Mill take 50 minutes to an hour.   The tours include:

  • how windmills work and grind grains into flour;
  • milling families who worked and owned Thringstone Smock Mill (the original name);
  • cessation of commercial usage and decline of the building structure to a derelict shell;
  • name change during North West Leicestershire District Council’s ownership;
  • 1994 purchase of Hough Mill by Swannington  Heritage Trust and mill restoration.

For those unable to climb the 40 steps there is a ground floor screen with a slide show of mill photographs.

Some walking groups opt for a 15-20 minute mini tour as a visit to Hough Mill is a stop on their walk.

Read more about Hough Mill and its history.

Guides visiting Hough Mill
Many walking groups head to Hough Mill for a tour
Let us know if you are coming by bus as we will open the track's height barrier

Coal Mining Tours

Coal Mining Tours take 50 minutes to an hour.  The tours include:

  • digging out the surface coal in the Gorse Field;
  • evidence of Gorse Field bell pit mining and its prevalence in Coleorton, Swannington and Thringstone;
  • replica horse gin;
  • history of the Califat coal mine and two fatal incidents;
  • Califat engine house and boiler house complex excavated by Leicestershire Industrial History Society 2006-2020;
  • Miners Cottages excavated by LIHS 2016-2020;
  • Alabama engine house and boiler house complex excavated by LIHS 1993-99;
  • eighteenth century Newcomen boiler, one of only seven remaining in the world.

The tour involves walking about half a mile along the track and grass paths over uneven ground.

Read more about Bell Pits and Gin Pits the Victorian era Califat Coal Mine and the Califat Spinney

Guides search for soft toys at they explore the coal mining tour
Bradgate U3A on a coal mining tour of the Gorse Field and Califat Spinney
Bradgate U3A turning the replica horse gin in the Gorse Field
Newbold Heritage Group at the 18th century Newcomen Boiler in the Califat Spinney
The 1850's winding engine house at the Califat coal mine

Railway Tours Of The Swannington Incline

Railway tours of the Swannington Incline take one and a half to two hours.  The one and a half mile tour includes rough ground and a path that can be muddy. The inclined plane is over 700 metres of a 1:17 gradient, downhill on the outward leg and uphill on the return journey. The tours include:

  • origins of Robert Stephenson’s 1832 Leicester and Swannington Railway;
  • the railway reaching Swannington in 1833 and the need for more powerful locomotives;
  • winding engine and boiler houses at the top of the Incline;
  • operation of the Incline;
  • safety end;
  • Potato Lane Bridge;
  • Church Lane Bridge;
  • Cattle Arch Bridge, the only bridge on the railway where the rails were on top of the bridge;
  • railwaymen’s cottages;
  • Calcutta pumping rods inspection engine;
  • how the railway led to new mines opening including Snibston No 3 (the Incline car park).

Shorter tours can be arranged that only cover the top of the Incline and avoid the 1:17 slope.

Read more about the Leicester and Swannington Railway and it’s western end the Swannington Incline.

Woulds U3A at the Swannington Incline
Calcutta pumping rods inspection engine at the Swannington Incline
Tour guide describing the winding engine house

Event Venue For Your Group

We welcome groups that like to run their own events at Hough Mill.  These have included:

  • car club rallies,
  • art clubs who enjoy painting the windmill and acid grass heathland,
  • camera clubs,
  • Royal British Legion who have an annual family barbecue and games evening
Austin 7 Car Club
Austin 7 Car Club at Hough Mill
Austin 7 car club
Griffydam Art Group
British Legion annual barbecue at Hough Mill
Whitwick and Swannington churches kite flying
Yoga at Hough Mill
Hough Mill provides groups with lots of options
Relaxing yoga in the relaxing countryside