Distance: approximately 17 miles.
Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer Map Number 233 (Map 1:25000)
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This route offers drivers and riders access to the beautiful Leicestershire countryside at its best, and is arranged so that it can be either driven or ridden as one complete 17 mile route, or divided into a number of shorter rides or drives offering different types of scenery and ground surface.
If driving a carriage, completion of the northern section requires an active backstepper, driver and horse as there is some driving on field edges, crossing fords and negotiation of unsurfaced tracks. In contrast, the southern section offers the opportunity to drive quietly on a hard, level surface on a lane in the beautiful parkland setting of Rolleston estate leading to the picturesque village of Skeffington, where there is room to reload a horse and carriage or return back to your parked lorry.
Route researched by Alex Pyper (BHS Access Officer)
Whole route when ridden/driven in a clockwise direction
1. Starting from the New Inn Lane layby near Rolleston Park Lodge, turn right (northwards) to the Lodge gates and follow the minor road through the park to Rolleston Hall, and then on to Skeffington. It is essential to shut all the gates along the way due to livestock.
2. Turn left at Skellington near the bench.
3. Follow the road/pathway and cross the A47 carefully. You'll need to ‘put your groom down’ as there are gates on both sides of the road.
4. The track known as Skeffington Glebe Road will lead you to a farm yard after approximately one mile – the route follows the track away from this yard which is private property.
5. Continue across Eye Brook and down the hill until you are nearly in the village of Tilton on the Hill (the road takes you sharply left for a short way, and then continues for a short distance before reaching the Rose and Crown pub in Tilton on the Hill). This is one of the highest places in East Leicestershire. Nearly opposite the pub is a church on a staggered junction which you cross straight over.
6. After approximately half a mile, you have three options:
- Option A. Continue straight ahead and down through two fords before reaching a minor hard-surfaced road, at which you turn right to reach the sign post for Halstead, Marefield, Newbold and Owston.
- Option B. Follow the track round to the right. You pass Red Lodge Farm on your right, then cross a ford, and continue up the side of a field to a gateway leading onto a hard road.
(The same signpost shown in Option A will be a slight distance down the road on your left.)
Both ways involve soft ground, but the alternative route shortens the distance to be driven/ridden whilst increasing the amount of off road driving/riding available.
At the sign post a further option exists which is also suitable for anyone wanting a separate circular, short distance drive on a tarmac surface.
- Option C. By following the Newbold/Owston direction your drive/ride is extended by approximately two miles to include the picturesque village of Owston where mounds and depressions in the fields to the north and west of the church indicate the site of an Augustinian Abbey which was demolished in the second half of the eighteenth century. On reaching Owston turn right near Oundle Farm which leads back to the above sign post.
The road marked Halstead now gradually leads back to the starting point of the Drive/Ride following the Halstead/Withcote road past Whatborough Hill.
1. On reaching the next T-junction, turn left away from Halstead, and after a short distance turn right.
2. Take the next right turn and continue along a minor road running around the base of ‘Robin-a-Tiptoe’ hill. (Folk law suggests that this was so named because an outlaw who was hanged there was so tall that his toes touched the ground!)
3. Once again at the next junction turn right towards Tilton Grange, and next left by Tilton Woods.
There is a steep slope here which needs to be noted, especially if you are driving a carriage without brakes or a two wheeled vehicle.
4. Continue along this minor road (Skeffington Wood Road) until you once again cross the A47 main road taking you into Skillington village.
5. Continue to follow the road - bearing right round to Skillington Church, and the left to reach the thatched seat and circular bench shown in the picture.
6. Turn left and retrace your steps for approximately 2.5 miles - past Rolleston Hall, through the Park, and back to the Lodge where you started.
Local amenities: Food and drinks can be obtained from The Rose and Crown, a traditional village pub at Tilton on the Hill, which also has parking facilities (tel. 01662 597234). No other pubs or shops are actually on the route but there is a village shop off-route.
Parking: Suggested parking at the southern end of the route is in a sheltered layby on the B6045 (see images on right). The distance from here to the park entrance is approximately 150 metres. No recommended parking is possible at the northern of the route but there are roadside verges which can be used at your own discretion.
Droppings should be taken away or brushed aside from parking areas where it is safe to do so.
Insurance: The BHS recommends that before undertaking any part of this route, both horse and rider should be adequately insured against public liability. The British Horse Society can provide public liability and personal accident insurance cover as well as many benefits if you join as a member (terms and conditions and territorial limits apply). For more information or to join, visit our Membership section.
Feedback: These routes are kept to the standard that the local authority can afford. They were all accessible at the lime of launch and are on definitive public rights of way. If you experience any problems with the routes or wish to raise any concerns, please contact the local authority, your local BHS Access Officer or the Access Team at BHS HQ via email@example.com.