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Walks in and around Quorn, Leicestershire

This section is really all about walking: walking around the village, walking to neighbouring villages. Oh, and walking to the pub.

Quorn has a great network of footpaths. By buying a set of our walking leaflets, you'll be able to locate them all, and also those that lead to other villages close by. You might also learn about the history of the area, the geology and the environment.

In this age where every organisation has a mission, we proudly state that we don't have one, or if we do, it's to reach the nearest ale house.

We organise occasional public Parish Walks each year - everyone is welcome to come along. If the date for the next one has been set, it will be posted on our main village website - see the village calendar for dates.

Quorn Walks Footpath Leaflets - buy the set

 walks in and around Quorn village, Leicestershire Six walks are detailed in a series of leaflets, each self-contained and detailing a particular route. Only one is presented on this site. Two routes take you within the village using the network of paths connecting areas within Quorn. The remainder take you out of the village and usually into one or more of the surrounding villages. All start and finish at Quorn Cross (by pubs) and indicate where to find refreshments en route if possible.

Printed leaflets detailing the walks can be purchased as a set from the Parish Office in Quorn. They come in a pack of six - current price is £1.00.

You are free to download and use the information on this site to help you to explore Quorn and the surrounding area. Ideally, go and buy a set of our walking leaflets - these also fund the site you are reading now. Please do not use the material for any commercial purposes.

Example Walk - Buddon Brook and Swithland Reservoir

This is one of the set of six

 swithland reservoir 9 km (5.5 miles)
Pubs at start and end
Café at 6.5 km (4 miles)

Starting at Quorn Cross, the centre and main crossroads of the village, set off along Meeting Street. Beyond the award-winning gardens and the flood barrier to the left flows Buddon Brook, whose course we’ll be following all the way upstream to Swithland Reservoir. The many items of interest along Meeting Street and then Chaveney Road are explained in another walk in this series. In this case we walk about half a mile before turning left at the footpath sign just past Elms Drive [Checkpoint 1 on the map].

Soon after turning left, we pass the site of the former Chaveney’s Water Mill (also called Quorn Water Mill, now Mill Farm). From the 16th to the 19th century, when Swithland Reservoir was built, a mill race from the brook was the motive power for this corn mill; the actual site of the old millwheel is not visible from the public footpath. Just after we enter the brookside path itself, you can see the remains of an ancient moated site beyond the far bank. This was probably the site of a hunting lodge for Quorndon Park, the former medieval deer park that existed from at least 1139 and extended over 360 acres that included Buddon Wood and the land now covered by Swithland Reservoir – under which lies the site of another lodge.

Make the most of this 600-metre section of the walk alongside the alder-fringed Buddon Brook, as there’s plenty to see and hear, including all three species of woodpecker, the brightly coloured kingfisher and the handsome grey wagtail, which – with luck – can be seen feeding in the more open, stony sections. A large variety of small birds occur here: six species of warblers in summer; flocks of siskin, redpoll and goldfinch feeding in the alders in winter; and species of tits all year round. Butterflies include the orange-tip, gatekeeper, speckled wood and ringlet; and dragonflies include brown, southern and migrant hawkers and the common darter.

After walking parallel to the Great Central Railway (see Walk 2), and turning left at Rabbit Bridge [Checkpoint 2], often festooned with trainspotters, we descend to Swithland Reservoir. This was created between 1894 and 1896 by damming Buddon Brook and forms a combined system with Cropston Reservoir further upstream. The elegant architecture and landscaping of the Victorian water treatment works to the left certainly offer a contrast with equivalent schemes today.

The reservoir itself supports a wealth of bird life. In winter, many species of waterfowl can be seen and the large gull roost can hold up to 15,000 birds of up to eight species, some originating from distant parts of Europe or even further afield. In springtime look out for the handsome great crested grebe – you may even be lucky enough to see it indulging in its spectacular courtship display. If you can pick out the anchored raft, way out in the water, you should see cormorants, probably drying their outstretched wings. The list of bird species at the reservoir changes over the years and recent arrivals have been peregrine falcons, to be seen throughout the year, and common terns. In all, some 230 species have been recorded here.

 swithland birds The illustration of the reservoir shows swallows, a house martin and a sand martin.

After crossing the controlled outlet to Buddon Brook and turning onto the eastern shore of the reservoir, we begin to skirt Buddon Wood Quarry, out of sight but plunging down cliffs hundreds of feet deep beyond the remaining woods to our left. The rocks of Charnwood are among the oldest in Britain and systematic quarrying began here in the late 1700s. The quest is for hornblende granite, a particularly hard rock, usually pinkish in colour and used in road-building and other construction. Just before Buddon Hill became ‘Buddon Hole’, large amounts of Iron Age pottery and quern-stones were found on it, offering more evidence that this was the site of a Celtic settlement overlooking the Soar Valley. ‘Querns’ were hard stones used for grinding corn and Quorndon therefore means ‘quern hill’. The current quarry is now the largest of its kind in Europe and can often be glimpsed in all its glory from aircraft on their descent into East Midlands Airport.

After climbing up Kinchley Lane, we turn left onto Wood Lane [Checkpoint 3] and then right onto the common at Bond Lane, Mountsorrel. (Alternatively you can take a short-cut back to Quorn by staying on Wood Lane.) In springtime the common is alive with golden gorse blossom and the ground is carpeted with wood anemones and patches of greater stitchwort. Two birds worth looking out for here are the linnet and the yellowhammer.

Not far into Bond Lane the road passes over the route of the old branch line from the Great Central Railway at Swithland to the quarry. After bearing left, we see the re-created contours of the formerly quarried Broad Hill, thought to be the site of a 4th-century Roman villa. The double overbridge now carries road traffic from the quarry works, while the second, single bridge just beyond carries the mineral conveyor which moves material from the current quarry to the railhead at Barrow, along the route of the former 1860 branch line to the Midland Railway.

For refreshments, turn left before the main road into the Stonehurst Family Farm and Museum.

Emerging on the main road [Checkpoint 4], turn left. The items of interest along the road back into Quorn are explained in another walk in this series.

 area map

view larger map

© Quorn Parish Council, 2004
Paintings of Swithland Reservoir and birds by Ernest Leahy, courtesy Ian Gamble.

Thanks to Ivan Bexon, Phil Child, Peter Gamble, Bill Edwards, Richard Guise, Kathryn Paterson and Brian Williams for their help in the production of these leaflets.

Problems with Quorn Footpaths

Any problems with access, signage, or whatever, contact the Parish Clerk for Quorn - see Quorn Parish Council.

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Wildlife in Stafford Orchard and around the village.
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On-line museum featuring Quorn photographs and documents.