I walked the Ivanhoe Way recently and thoroughly loved it so I thought I’d blog about it. The walk took place in October and the weather was fine, mostly sunny and cool.
Two friends and I rendezvoused in Ashby de la Zouch in the morning and, after a late breakfast set off on the Way towards our first pitch in Snarestone. This is a distance of around 9 miles. The Way meanders out of Ashby towards Moira where it turns southerly to follow the Ashby Canal. Intrepid walkers that we are, we forego a stop at the pub in Moira only to succumb to the delights of a tearoom situated at the start of the canal section. Once fortified, we continued along the canal until leaving it at Measham where the Way follows footpaths and roads to Snarestone.
Our pitch was at the Globe Inn in Snarestone which is directly on the Way. We were joined by another friend here. The pitch was level and the pub served excellent real beer and food to match. There is one toilet and one shower for campers but, oddly, only one external handbasin with cold water. Given they charge £8 I think they should provide an internal handbasin with hot water.
The day was cool and cloudy when we set off to walk around 14 miles. The weather remained overcast all day which is fine for hiking. The Way follows footpaths as it wends it way towards the point where we had decided to divert from the Way in order to reach the evening’s pitch. Apart from a few navigational issues in a wood, the walking was pleasant and easy with many interesting views. The pitch was at Upper Grange Farm in Hugglescote. An excellent site all round with a friendly owner. Like the previous night, we were joined by yet another friend. The evening was spent in the Birch Tree at Bardon which is about half a mile from the site. Again, excellent real ale and very good-value food was on offer. Four of us had three courses each and a pint but the bill was under £55.
Breakfast was taken at a cafe in Coalville which proved to be a slight tactical error as we planned to do just over 14 miles. A hearty and cheap breakfast (£3.70 for a full English) did mean we dallied a bit too long in the cafe. To make up time we had to step out fairly sharply. Indeed, we couldn’t catch up so had to make a short-cut to get back to Ashby by early evening. Once leaving Coalville, the Way, the paths are soft and the views are classic English countryside which looked glorious in the sunshine. The last leg of the route is a fair distance with undulating terrain so I’d recommend an earlier start.
To conclude, the Ivanhoe Way is a lovely walk round some of England’s beautiful countryside albeit in a seldom backpacked area. There are only the two campsites mentioned above near the walk. There are quite a few opportunities for wild camping such as Battram Wood (North of Nailstone) and after Black Ditches in an unnamed wood (around GR375193) to name but two. Thanks to the National Forest planting there are many fledging woods which are not shown on maps where a peaceful night could be spent. I’d suggest walking the Way after a dry spell as there are some ploughed fields to negotiate.