You may well say, "Where?" I'd never heard of any of these three villages before I planned to walk through them. Back in the 1970s, it would have been possible to travel between them underground. All three had collieries producing exceptional amounts of coal (Bagworth set a Guinness World Record). Nailstone and Bagworth collieries were connected in 1967, and Ellistown was merged with the other two in 1971. All the mines are long closed now. The railway lines have been taken up, the winding wheels turned into civic sculptures, and the pit sites transformed into country parks.
It was a beautiful sunny day, but we'd had a lot of rain recently. Within five minutes of leaving Ellistown, I was glad I'd worn my wellies.
The way took me alongside a quarry site and then into a collection of woods: Common Hill Wood, Workmans Wood, Battram Wood. The colours of the trees in the November sunshine were beautiful. The path was a muddy mess.
At Battram village I crossed a newly landscaped section, where the recently installed gravel trails didn't quite match up with the footpaths on the NFW instructions. I didn't have too much trouble finding my way, but I wouldn't discover what this place was until later in the walk.
A short sharp climb brought me up to Bagworth Beacon, installed "to celebrate the dawning of a new millenium - the year 2000" according to a plaque on the post. It was only 11am, but I was hungry, so I ate half a sandwich on a pleasant bench.
At Bagworth I followed the NFW to where it crossed the main road. That was the end of my National Forest Way section, but I had some bonus Ways to follow on this walk, as I was joining the Ivanhoe Way / Leicestershire Round across to Nailstone.
Once again I was glad I was doing a loop. I would have missed the quite moving memorial statue for Bagworth Colliery, and the informative sign outside the village hall. Bagworth is clearly a village with an active civic society.
The path to Nailstone started off as a nice firm grassy track with sweeping views, then degenerated into a slippery splash across muddy fields. By the time I reached the beautiful church at Nailstone, I was ready for the rest of my lunch.
Heading north again, I crossed a few more fields, then arrived at the other side of the newly landscaped area I'd crossed earlier. This side had a sign which informed me that I was in the Nailstone Platinum Jubilee Park, built on the site of Nailstone Colliery. Bizarrely, it surrounds a giant Aldi distribution centre, which is itself surrounded by the tallest fence I've ever seen. Are they expecting to be raided when the apocalypse comes?
|giant Aldi fence in the background|
On the other side of the Platinum Jubilee Park was Battram Wood again. I decided the paths at the first entrance I got to were a bit much, even in wellies!
So I went a little way along the lane to find the NFW again, and followed that back to Ellistown. This was the state of my legs at the end of the walk.