Lost Villages of Leicestershire: Ambion

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Lost Villages of Leicestershire - Ambion: a Walk from Sutton Cheney

This is a fairly easy walk, rich in history. After a short walk along a bridleway you reach the Battlefield Visitors' Centre at Bosworth. The visitors' centre commemorates the events of August 22nd 1485, when King Richard III fought with the army of Henry Tudor, Duke of Richmond and became the last King of England to die in battle. The visitors' centre uses the strapline 'two kings, one day' and is worth a visit.

A quick synopsis of the battle follows:

Richard and his army commanders (the Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Northumberland) camped on top of the hill near the visitors' centre and Tudor and his army took up position at the bottom. Nearby were the private armies of two brothers, the Stanleys; both Tudor and Richard believed they were going to join their side. After an inconclusive clash of arms, Richard launched a mounted attack to try and kill Tudor. Having fought his way through to his enemy, he found the Stanleys had joined Tudor and he was cut down and killed.

The walk leaves the visitors' centre and continues through what used to be the centre's car park; the grassy mounds here actually mark the site of the medieval village of Ambion, deserted in the 14th Century. The walk then descends Ambion Hill to reach the delightful Shenton Station on the preserved Battlefield Line. Shenton Station building was originally the Humberstone Road Station in Leicester and was moved brick by brick to Shenton in the 1990s. The small building which houses Shenton Pottery and the stationmaster's house – now a private dwelling – are all that remains of the original station. The Battlefield Line preserves a short stretch of the Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway (A&NJR) between Shenton and Shackerstone. Before its final closure in the 1970s the A&NJR provided a passenger and freight route between the coalfields of Warwickshire and Leicestershire and once had through carriages to London. Edward VII and the royal train were frequent visitors when he was being entertained at nearby Gopsall Hall. The line closed to passengers in the 1960s. From the station, walk down the old railway cutting now designated as a nature reserve. There are interpretative boards and a bird hide built by teenage volunteers.

After a short walk through the cutting you reach the old railway bridge over the Ashby Canal. The canal was built to carry coal through the Midlands. Mining subsidence has led to the abandonment of the northern part of the canal, but it is still available between Shackerstone and Bedworth to boaters and walkers. Moves are afoot through the Ashby Canal Trust to restore the northern section to Moira. The walk then runs along the canalbank close to what is now thought to have been the site of Richard's fatal charge, reaching Sutton Wharf Café.

Here the walk used to leave the canal to follow a country lane back to Sutton Cheney. However, I have rerouted the walk away from the road to substantially reduce the road-walking. The walk now uses the towpath and footpaths to return to Sutton Cheney Village with its medieval church with close links to Richard, who is alleged to have heard Mass here before the battle. The church has a quiet and relaxing interior. From the church it's a short walk back to the car park.

The rerouted walk now crosses a number of fields which will be muddy after rain, so have wellies at the ready.

England - Central England - Leicestershire - Canal Walk

Features

Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Church, Flowers, Gift Shop, Good for Kids, Good for Wheelchairs, Great Views, Industrial Archaeology, Mostly Flat, Museum, Nature Trail, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
21/06/2017 - Richard Hardy

Had a look around the walk this morning. Ann is correct that the car park by the Old Vicarage is now closed. Alternative parking is available on the street in Sutton Cheney (limited) or at the Battlefield Centre, Sutton Wharf and Shenton Station (paid) - I would therefore suggest that people now start the walk at Waypoints :- 5 - Sutton Wharf 12 - Sutton Cheney 2 - Battlefield Centre 3 - Shenton Station I originally picked the now closed car park because being from Yorkshire free stuff is important. In respect of the Cows, they are a bit of an occupational hazard for walkers in Leicestershire - please take account of advice issued by the Ramblers and other organisations about walking near cows, especially if you have dogs.

11/06/2017 - Ann Finnemore

Just a couple of points: The car park at the start is closed, but it was possible to park on the road without too much trouble. Secondly, after leaving the canal towpath, the field through the kissing gate was full of young cattle (male) who were very interested in us and the dogs, before we even entered. We decided therefore to take an alternative route back to the car. They were probably just being curious, but as they all gathered at the gate and leaned towards the dogs, it caused the dogs to start barking, so it didn't seem a good idea to enter. The rest of the walk was lovely, easy and on good paths. Very enjoyable, and you can avoid the cattle by an alternative route by returning to the towpath, walking back to the Sutton Wharf, crossing over to the side that the cafe's on and. Then simply following the path through Ambion woods back to the battlefield.

11/06/2017 - Ann Finnemore

Just a couple of points: The car park at the start is closed, but it was possible to park on the road without too much trouble. Secondly, after leaving the canal towpath, the field through the kissing gate was full of young cattle (male) who were very interested in us and the dogs, before we even entered. We decided therefore to take an alternative route back to the car. They were probably just being curious, but as they all gathered at the gate and leaned towards the dogs, it caused the dogs to start barking, so it didn't seem a good idea to enter. The rest of the walk was lovely, easy and on good paths. Very enjoyable, and you can avoid the cattle by an alternative route by returning to the towpath, walking back to the Sutton Wharf, crossing over to the side that the cafe's on and. Then simply following the path through Ambion woods back to the battlefield.

12/01/2012 - Richard Hardy

Have had to change the comment on this walk since I rerouted it Originally there was a substantial bit of walking on country lanes, this has now been removed however there are a number of stiles now on the route which may be an issue for your dog. Our collie Blue loves stiles and gets over easy, our other collie Robbie hasn't worked them out yet so needs lifting which can be a muddy experience Also now more exposure to livestock but still a great walk for well behaved dogs

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19.3 Miles