A Beautiful Walk Full of History - Bradgate Park, Leicetershire
Between the villages of Newtown Linford, Anstey, Cropston, Woodhouse Eaves and Swithland, lies Bradgate Park. It has 850 acres of stunning walks within the Charnwood Forest, with it main attractions being Old John, the history of the Grey family (Lady Jane Grey's family) and the abundance of roaming wild red and fallow deer. In 1928, the Grey family gave the park 'to be preserved in its natural state for the quiet enjoyment of the people of Leicestershire' (and visitors!). Bradgate Park is one of the very few places in Britain where Precambrian rock can be seen, which formed around 560 millions years a go. There is a small museum with rotating exhibitions that has great information about the history on the formation of this landscape and the Grey family too. A day trip to walk in Bradgate Park is both a great and educational day for all who appreciate history and natural beauty.
The main entrance is situated in Newtown Linford, but is accessible from Hunts Hill and Hallgate's next to Cropston Reservoir. Through the gate lies the grand walk along the river, from here you have a choice of routes. If you are arriving at lunch time, why not carry on down the path to Bradgate House and the cafe rooms and museum opposite. Here there are a lovely selection of teas, coffees, cakes, lunch meals and afternoon tea. From here, you could spend the whole day wriggling along the many paths to see the deers, Spinneys, Cropston Reservoir, Sliding Stone Enclosure, Old John and the monument, finally ending up walking through ancient oak trees to reach your beginning point. Or, of course, you could do this the other way round and finish with a refreshment to complete your day trip to walk in Bradgate Park.
The many path and time options allow for any walker or any experience, but the whole of the park is generally managable by all. The only part worthy of note is the slightly steep incline up to Old John if you work you way there from the cafe. So those who prefer going down hill, begin with the oak trees up to Old John as this is a gentler climb. The climb and day trip to walk in Bradgate Park is definitely worth the effort with fantastic views over Leicestershire. Weekdays are going to be the quieter time to visit, with hot weekends being the busiest as it is a haven for local dog owners and walkers.
The car parks are all pay and display, but it is possible to access Bradgate Park via the 120 bus route. This stops by the park entrance in Newton Linford. The 123 and 154 buses between Leicester and Loughborough stop close by Hallgate's entrance with a short walk to the park.