Coal Mines to Country Parks - National Forest Day Walk
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This 10 mile walk passes through the villages of Thornton and Bagworth in west Leicestershire, past the picturesque Thornton Reservoir and across former coal mining sites, which have now been transformed into woodlands and country parks.
We commence at Thornton Reservoir, which was built from 1847 to supply water to Leicester's 58,000 inhabitants and was the main source of water for Leicester until the opening of Bradgate Reservoir in 1871.
Bagworth Heath Woods was created from the scarred industrial landscape of Desford Colliery. The 80ha. country park includes lakes that were formed by mining subsidence as well as rehabilitated woodland, grassland and heathland.
The walk also takes in the Bagworth Incline, which originally formed part of the Leicester to Swannington railway - one of the UK's first public railways. It was engineered by George Stephenson (the "Father of Railways") and his son Robert in 1832 and was used to bring coal from the collieries of west Leicestershire into Leicester. With an incline of 1 in 29 it was bypassed in 1848 by a deviation railway line.
We than make our way back to Thornton for a pint before heading home.
Your First ODL Walk Event?
This walk is a great introduction to ODL for new members.
We know that new members in particular like to know in advance more about what an OutdoorLads event will be like. If this is your first ODL event, you should check out the information designed specifically for you on the My First Event page on the ODL website.
Feel free to contact Skip with any questions you may have.
Image credits: Thornton Reservoir, Leicestershire (photos 1 and 2) © Jim Monk and licensed for re-use under this Creative Commons Licence; Footpath through Bagworth Heath Woods © Tim Glover and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
What to bring
As ever, the weather will be unpredictable. Please ensure you have adequate layers to keep warm and waterproofs to keep you dry in case of rain. Some of the paths are across open fields, which can be quite muddy underfoot, especially after rain, so you'll want decent boots and possibly gaiters too.
Note that the kit list below is only a general guide and you should consider the weather forecast and what clothing you'll need closer to the time.
Please contact Skip if you're unsure about any of the items in the kit list.
Boots: Hiking boots are the most essential piece of kit when hiking just about anywhere. You should make sure that your boots are both waterproof and breathable, and provide good ankle support.
Socks: Good walking socks are essential to keep the feet warm and dry, and to prevent the development of blisters. Sports socks and other socks not designed for walking may become waterlogged, or damaged, which will in turn blister your feet.
Gaiters: Gaiters attach to the bottom of walking boots and extend to just under the knee. They provide waterproofing for the bottom half of the leg, and are essential in keeping feet dry.
Walking Trousers: Walking trousers should be windproof and made of a rip stop material that will stand up to walking through ferns and undergrowth. Ideally, they should also be water resistant, or at least not gain weight, and lose their insulation properties when wet. Jeans should be avoided, as they are heavy when wet and provide no protection from the elements.
Waterproof Trousers: Waterproof trousers are essential in keeping the legs dry, as water resistant trousers will not keep out any significant rainfall. You should look for waterproof trousers that are breathable to avoid sweating too much.
Base Layer: A breathable base layer should let sweat escape from the body. This should ideally consist of a breathable synthetic / tech fabric, although a cotton t-shirt would suffice.
Mid Layer: A mid-layer goes on top of the base layer and ideally should be made from a 100 weight micro fleece, or a rugby jersey style thick shirt. The layering system is important as it allows walkers quickly to adapt to changes in the weather, as well as body temperature.
Outer Layer: The outer layer should consist of a windproof jacket or a thick fleece. This is the final layer and you should ensure that this layer provides ample warmth. Depending on the time of year (and conditions) this outer layer could be a waterproof jacket.
Waterproof Jacket: A good waterproof jacket is one of the most important pieces of kit you will need when hiking. You should look for a jacket that is both waterproof and breathable - although not cheap, a good quality Gore-tex jacket is a sensible investment.
Head torch: It's always a good idea to carry a headtorch as the days get shorter, if you have one.
Food & drink
Bring a packed lunch, snacks and perhaps a flask with a warm drink!