WALKING THE CANALS
How to get started on a walking routine is a problem which faces many people wishing to get fitter.
We have played an active part if the four year ‘Get Walking Keep Walking’ campaign in Leicester and assist a number of walking for health schemes.
If you want to get out and start walking by yourself or with family and do not want anything too strenuous, we have an asset in Leicestershire in the canal system which could provide a possible answer. We are fortunate in having three lengths of canal in the County. The first is the Ashby Canal of 22 miles from Marsworth to Snarestone, and in the future even more to Moira, as the development continues. The other is the Grand Union from Welford to Ratcliffe on Trent(Soar) roughly 50 miles across the County from North to South. We also have a stretch of the Grantham canal running through the Vale of Belvoir in North Leicestershire.
Canals often followed the contours of the country to keep locks and embankments costing money to a minimum. These routes are curving and often near to a village, hoping of course to develop trade in the process. It is possible to arrange walks to and from one centre by using cross-field and towpaths. The walks could also be out and back along the towpath, the view changes on the return journey. Useful guides are the mile posts or even quarter mile posts along the towpath providing the desired length of walk.
Even if the section walked contains a flight like Foxton locks it is not too strenuous a rise. On an out-and-back walk of course, the downs balance the ups or vice-versa.
Generally the canal system allowed views of the countryside of woods and fields, giving possibilities of bird and animal watching in the hedgerows. Most canal towpaths are hedged providing nest sites, rather than masses of barbed wire. Different sorts of trees provide additional possibilities of study or just observation throughout the year as seasons change from winter to summer and back.