Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire
Charnwood Forest is a traditional working landscape, it has a high proportion of land in agricultural use. Working granite quarries at Bardon Hill, Buddon Hill and Whitwick send crushed aggregate out by train to destinations all across southern England. The quarries are continuing the long exploitation of the hard stone below Charnwood Forest that has been prevalent for centuries.
The rocks that help form the craggy landscape of Charnwood Forest, much of them volcanic in origin, have given up many important archeological specimens. There’s even a fossilised species called Charnia masoni. The prehistoric plant is named after the forest where it was found and the schoolboy Roger Mason who discovered it in a quarry there in 1957.
Bardon Hill is a popular destination in Charnwood Forest. Near Coalville , it is the highest point in Leicestershire at 912 feet and is the site of a radio mast. Quarrying activity that began there in 1622 has now cut the hill into two very distinct halves. One is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the other has been completely removed by the Bardon Hill Quarry. It has been written, by TR Potter in his History Of Charnwood Forest, that the view from the summit is “one of the most extraordinary points of view in Nature”.
At 814 feet Beacon Hill is the second highest hill in Leicestershire, and also the second highest in Charnwood Forest. It is very popular with walkers and provides a popular recreational climb.
Spectacular views and scenery await anyone walking up the hills in Charnwood Forest but perhaps some of the best landscapes greet visitors to Bradgate Park . The park was founded back in 15th century and is open to the public from dawn to dusk.
The River Lin flows through the park, which is in an area bordered by the villages of Newtown Linford, Anstey, Cropston, Woodhouse Eaves and Swithland. Red deer can be seen there and there are a number of architectural features from the park’s long history such Old John Tower there. Old John, now a Grade II listed building, is a folly built in 1787 of granite on top of the highest hill in Bradgate Park.
Swithland Wood, just north of Bradland Park is another much-loved woodland in Charnwood Forest. A disused quarry here, now flooded, was the source of much of the slate roofing for the area.
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