The Swannington Heritage do-it-yourself walks are split into four durations/distances:-
Just an hour -a couple of miles.
Developing a thirst – up to five miles.
Building up an appetite – up to eight miles.
Well worth a day – ten miles or more.
The walks can be downloaded free of charge, if you really enjoy your walk and feel that you would like to support the Trust, then you can send us a donation or become a member. If you would like to send us a photo of your group enjoying your walk we would be happy to add them to our Community Gallery.
We have Trust members that have a keen interest in local history, They can add a huge amount of extra information to the walks. A full program of walks can be found on our Diary Page, Our guides will also lead walks for groups by arrangement, see Contact Page.
The Trust welcomes feedback as well as suggestions for other walks. The Fountain Inn has now been redeveloped, it is now Fountain House, 121 Main Street.
For walks starting at Hough Mill, park in the Califat car park, the first parking area on the track leading to the mill.
Just an hour.
Main Street Dash.
A gentle stroll along the former Hinckley to Melbourne Turnpike that can bring butchery, tanning, early mining, farming, possibly the most expensive take-away, Quaker sufferings, railways and the school to life. Wheelchair friendly. (download a map)
Country Lanes (zero stiles on this walk)
This circular walk from Hough Mill explores the quiet country lanes around the mill and passes several excellent mill viewing points. It is a couple of miles in length and will take an hour to complete, but twice as long if you spend time admiring the views and discussing the historical features! There are no stiles on this walk.
The map is an annotated version of the 1962 Ordnance Survey map. The finger of land between the purple and red lines was part of Thringstone parish until 1936, which is why Hough Mill was formerly known as Thringstone Smock Mill. Swannington was to the south and east of the red line, Coleorton to the north and west of the purple line. The current Swannington parish boundary is the green line. Light grey map symbols are buildings that no longer exist. The full “Centuries of Changes” A0 annotated map of Swannington is on display in the mill’s ancillary buildings and A3 copies are on sale at Hough Mill. (download a map)
Wordsworth’s church and the railway that led to California (zero stiles on this walk)
This circular walk from Hough Mill explores the Swannington / Coleorton / Thringstone border area that includes the sites of coal mines, a brickworks, windmills, three horse drawn railways, a church and a smallpox hospital. It is a couple of miles in length and will take an hour to complete, but twice as long if you spend time admiring the views and discussing the historical features! There are no stiles on this walk. (download a map)
Starting at the Robin Hood Public House at the bottom of Spring Lane, trek along an ancient green lane to the site of the former Snibston No 3 colliery and the 1832 Leicester and Swannington railway. Continue to the top of the Incline where locomotives such as Goliath and Atlas could go no further, as they waited for the winding engine to haul coal trucks (from the pits of Swannington, Peggs Green and Coleorton) up the 1 in 17 slope to join their railway journey to Leicester. Head down the Swannington Incline and then onwards into the village passing the Quaker Smithy, Old Wesleyan Chapel and one of Leicestershire’s oldest primary schools. (download a map)
Starting at the Robin Hood Public House at the bottom of Spring Lane, trek along an ancient green lane to the site of the former Snibston No 3 colliery and the 1832 Leicester and Swannington railway. Head through the fields towards New Swannington school before turning towards Potato Lane Bridge which has great views of the 1 in 17 Swannington Incline from above. Catch tantalising glimpses of the village on your way back to the start. (download a map)
Coal, Corn and C of E.
Starting at the former Fountain Inn (now a private house 121 Main Street) follow the path to the former mining areas of the Califat Spinney and the Gorse Field which are now nature reserves. Wonder at the stories that could be told by the weathered bricks in the 200 year old Hough Mill. Visit St George’s Church with its literary origins and sad link with the 1863 Califat Colliery Disaster. (download a map)
Developing a thirst.
Theses short walks are three to five miles in length and could finish with a refreshing drink.
Swannington’s Hidden Heritage.
From the Station public house on Hough Hill, follow ancient green lanes and miners’ paths to Coleorton, Hough Mill and Limby Hall. Open your eyes to unlock the secrets of the woodlands and roads with wide verges. Visualise the mines and horse drawn tramways where now varieties of trees stand tall in the verdant undergrowth. (download a map)
Woodlands and Conservation
View and explore the thousands of trees planted in and around Swannington. Appreciate how former mine sites have been transformed into nature conservation areas. In autumn revel in the glorious leaf colours as the trees approach semi-maturity. Start at the former Fountain Inn, 121 Main Street. (download a map)
Building up an appetite
These medium walks are seven to eight miles and could finish with a relaxing meal.
Four Railways and a Mill
From the New Inn at Peggs Green walk to St George’s Church, the isolation hospital, Coleorton railway, Jessop’s horse drawn tramway and the Calcutta mine, all within the first mile! Onward to Whitwick with it’s ancient church, the Charnwood Forest railway and Hermitage recreation areas. Pass Stephenson’s College on the way to George and Robert Stephenson’s 1832 Leicester and Swannington railway, the first steam railway in the English midlands. Through the Snibston No 3 mine, down the Swannington Inclined Plain, pass the Quaker smithy and walk through woodland plantations to the start of Jessop’s tramway. Explore the Gorse Field, Califat mine and Hough mill, then on to the Willis Walker mine, Billy Bakewell’s packhorses and along the Coleorton railway back to the New Inn. (download a map)
Well Worth a Day.
Longer walks of ten miles or more, well worth spending a day enjoying the walk.
The Swannington Hokey Cokey
Follow an intriguing route that is in, out and twist about! Starting at The Station on Hough Hill, follow ancient green lanes and miners’ paths to Coleorton, Hough Mill, Jessop’s Tramway, St. George’s Church, Calcutta Colliery, New Swannington, Potato Lane Bridge, The Incline and Snibston No 3 Mine. Discover mines galore, horse drawn tramways, the route to the Charnwood Forest canal, one of the world’s first steam railways, a church with literary origins and a former isolation hospital. All within a couple of miles of the centre of Swannington! (download a map)