Gumley - Laughton - Mowsley - Foxton - Gumley

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The walk starts in Gumley, a very old village still without streetlights or a shop and located on the summit of a range of hills overlooking the Welland Valley in South Leicestershire. The name of the village in the 8th Century was Godmundesleah, meaning the 'lea' or 'woodland clearing' of a man called Godmund. Some say the area has connections with Arthur and Camelot, with traces of an old defensive ditch around its perimeter colloquially referred to as Offa's Dyke.

From here we head downhill past Gumley Covert on the right and on to the pretty villages of Laughton with its fantastic thatch and mud wall around the church and the larger Mowsley, with The Staff Of Life public house. Across a further three fields we reach the high point of the walk at 616ft on the edge of the A5199. Here we take an about-turn, before long joining the road for a short distance before a right turn towards Laughton Hills, where if you are lucky, buzzards can be spotted soaring above the trees. We then drop down to Bridge 51 over the Grand Union Canal, join the towpath and follow the canal for two or three miles to the top of Foxton's famous ten locks.

As we approach the last couple of miles of the walk there is a lot to do. The locks were opened in 1810 and allow boats to be raised or lowered a massive 75ft. For those interested there is a museum, alongside which lies the old 'Inclined Plane Lift' which originally opened in July 1900, closed in 1911 and was broken for scrap in 1928. This was able to raise or lower boats in eleven minutes (a 75% saving on the locks) and to accommodate vessels with a wider beam. It is currently being restored by the Foxton Inclined Plane Trust, who with a £1.78 million lottery grant is working on restoring it to its full working condition in the next few years.

Descend the ten locks, where at the bottom refreshments can be obtained, either at the newly restored Foxton Locks Inn or its adjacent café and shop. It is then simply a case or rejoining the towpath for a short distance, crossing a small footbridge and walking back up the hill to Gumley.

England - Central England - Leicestershire - Countryside

Features

Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Church, Flowers, Gift Shop, Industrial Archaeology, Museum, Pub, Restaurant, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife
12/07/2009 - Robert Holland

Walked this on a lovely day on 12.7.09 and it's definitely moved straight into my top 10 Sunday walks. Although a little long, it's fairly easy with no real ascents - although following the trail across a field of oil seed rape was hard going. Lunch at the Foxton Locks Inn was superb and made me wonder if the starting point may not be better in the Locks car park - was tough doing the last mile after the pub... All in all a beautiful walk and thoroughly recommended. Happy walking

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Distance away
27.4 Miles