The Ivanhoe Way

The Ivanhoe Way is a 35 mile circular walk  around the north west of Leicestershire, which is split up into seven sections, making it easy to walk as a series of short strolls.

It was created by Leicestershire County Council, in conjunction with the Leicestershire Association of Parish and Local Councils, to celebrate the centenary of civil parish councils in 1994.

The route

Ordnance Survey Explorer map 245 (The National Forest) shows most of the route in detail, though map 233 (Leicester & Hinckley) is needed for the start/end of the walk at Shackerstone.

ivanhoe-way-mapThe route mostly follows public rights of way, though there are some sections on quiet roads, unsurfaced tracks, cycle paths and canal towpath.

The southern section from Bagworth to Shackerstone overlaps with the Leicestershire Round, the 100 mile trail, which connects many places of historical and geographical interest around the county.

The Ivanhoe Way is named on some finger posts where the route leaves surfaced roads and is signposted with the Ivanhoe Way logo on waymark arrows – except on some of the section common to the Leicestershire Round.

Ivanhoe Way route updates

The Ivanhoe Way leaflet is now somewhat dated and there are some anomalies, as detailed below.

These notes envisage you follow the route clockwise from Shackerstone, as described in the printed leaflet.

Thanks are due to Sheila Dixon whose additional comments have been added to this section.

Ashby de la Zouch Grid Reference SK365173. The route leaving Ashby heading east may be slightly confusing. Having left North Street and crossed an area of open ground, the path crosses a track and re-enters the built up area.

The footpath should then fork, with the left path running along the edge of the development and becoming a bridleway running along behind a warehouse. This left path is the Ivanhoe Way. After the warehouse it crosses the A511 Ashby bypass, which is not marked on the Ivanhoe Way leaflet. The right fork runs along a residential cul-de-sac Plantagenet Way then crosses the bridleway which follows Featherbed Lane.

Heath End near Staunton Harold Grid Reference SK 368214. Going north/clockwise near Calke, the path from Ashby meets a lane. The right of way used to continue straight ahead here through the grounds of the Saracen’s Head public house. The pub has now closed and is a private house. The public footpath has been diverted into the small field to the west, running parallel with its former location. The footpath then goes via another parcel of land to join the road. The Ivanhoe Way now follows the roadside verge for a short stretch (you are briefly in Derbyshire) and then turns right onto the start of the Staunton Harold Hall drive.

Dimminsdale Nature Reserve near Staunton Harold Grid Reference SK 376218. The route comes through the Dimminsdale Nature Reserve. If heading east/clockwise follow the path through the reserve, then turn right onto the road which bridges over the end of the reservoir and then leads to the Severn Trent visitors car park. The official line of the footpath heads in a more easterly direction straight through the bottom end of the reservoir. Ordnance Survey marks the footpath as going that way but there isn’t actually a ferry! One day the footpath will be officially moved. If heading west/anticlockwise, follow the road over the bridge then look out on the left for the pedestrian entrance to the Nature Reserve. There is no official footpath sign as this is only a permissive path and is just inside Derbyshire.

Peggs Green west of Thringstone Grid Reference SK 414181. The maps on the leaflet show the footpath coming out on the main Nottingham Road through Peggs Green, following the road south for 130 metres, then turning left onto a footpath. This is the route which is signposted. Some OS maps mark the path going virtually straight across the road to follow a path opposite which is not the signposted route. Other OS maps show the route here correctly.

Agar Nook on the east edge of Coalville Grid Reference SK 457142. The situation here is slightly confusing as the map on the leaflet shows one route, the signs on the ground indicate another; so you have a choice. At different times the Ordnance Survey maps have shown either of the routes. The options are:

a. On the leaflet the map and text indicate turning left from Meadow Lane onto Agar Nook Lane which follows the very edge of the built-up area. This is probably the more pleasant route. At the end turn right, cross Greenhill Lane and walk along the footway for 120 metres until you reach the footpath sign on the left indicating the Ivanhoe Way.

b. Other signposts and some OS maps show that, where Agar Nook Lane goes off left, you continue on the public footpath straight ahead, which leads out on the residental street of Lancaster Close. At the end of this turn left onto Stamford Drive. At the end of this turn left onto Greenhill Lane and cross; after 55 metres you reach the footpath sign on the left indicating the Ivanhoe Way.

Option of going via Bardon Hill Top Grid Reference SK 460137. After leaving the edge of the built-up area and going 440 metres, the footpath turns sharp left. After another 140 metres there is another footpath off to the right. The ‘official’ route of the Ivanhoe Way continues straight on, and then bends right in segments to take you round the slope of Bardon Hill. However, the other path off to the right gives you the option of going via the hill top. You should certainly check an Ordnance Survey map to see where the hill top path goes. Confusingly it is not shown on the Ivanhoe Way leaflet because, at the time it was produced, the area had been quarried away but has been subsequently restored. On the top of the hill there is a network of paths which lead to the trig pillar and viewpoint overlooking the quarry.

Bagworth Loop Grid Reference SK 456085. Users of older OS Explorer maps may be puzzled, upon reaching a footpath junction, just south east of a property named Bagworth Park, to find signs for the Ivanhoe Way pointing in two directions. The Ivanhoe Way leaflet includes two options here. The latest OS Explorer map does show both of these routes. The main Ivanhoe Way route continues straight on, under the railway line, directly into Bagworth,

The alternative route, turning right, follows the route of the former Bagworth Incline, then crosses the current railway at the site of Bagworth station and follows Station Road down through the village. It rejoins the main route at the T junction with Main Street/Barlestone Road.

Overlap with the Leicestershire Round Grid References SK 448080 or SK 447080 (Bagworth) to SK 380073 (Shackerstone). Whichever route you take into Bagworth, when on Main Street you meet the Leicestershire Round long distance footpath. The Ivanhoe Way follows the same route as this for most of the next 5½ miles. On many of the waymark posts only the Leicestershire Round symbol is shown.

Divergence from the Leicestershire Round Grid Reference SK 385072. Note that just over ½ mile on from Odstone the unsurfaced track swings sharply right. The Ivanhoe Way turns left onto the public footpath, whereas the Leicestershire Round continues to the right, along the track. The routes then cross again on the edge of Shackerstone; here the Ivanhoe Way continues west on a lane, straight over the canal bridge; whereas the Leicestershire Round is now facing in the opposite direction, and comes out from the canal towpath and goes down the track paralleling the canal leading to the steam railway station.

Last updated 27/02/2015

Explore North West Leicestershire

North West Leicestershire is an area of contrasts, from the bustling, historic market town of Ashby de la Zouch, to the wooded and rocky outcrops of Charnwood Forest and the idyllic stretches of the Ashby Canal. For centuries the area has been marred by quarrying and coal mining. Many former mining sites have been reclaimed and restored as part of the creation of The National Forest.

The Ivanhoe Way Challenge

  • The Ivanhoe Way Challenge is a 37 mile annual charity walk around the Ivanhoe Way organised by Richard and Angela Bebbington in aid of Wishes 4 Kids. The challenge is to complete the 37 mile round trip within 15 hours. The ‘Ivanhoe Way 20’ and ‘Ivanhoe Way 13’ are also available.

Your feedback

Feedback is most welcome, including reports of any missing signs or other problems.