Local Walk: Braunston-in-Rutland & Launde Abbey
21st August 2020
This walk starts at the pretty village of Braunston-in-Rutland, passing through gently undulating countryside. It has some interesting historical features and wonderful views over the remote Chater Valley.
- Distance: 6 miles (10km)
- Typical time: 2.5 hours
- OS map: Explorer 234 or Landranger 141
- Start & finish: Braunston All Saints’ Church (LE15 8QS)
- Terrain: Some pleasing contours
- Stiles: 6+
- Cross over the stile at the west end of the church (the right-hand path), walking in a westerly direction close to the right edge of the field. Cross a ditch and then the diminutive River Gwash over a footbridge.
- Once over the river, follow a broad track between two fields as far as a gate. Once through the gate, you will soon pass South Lodge Farm on your right-hand side. At the end of a long, thin strip of a field, cross to the other side of the tiny stream and follow it on the other side to the end of the next field.
- At this point the path cuts diagonally across the field to a stile in the far left-hand corner. Once over this stile, head across a field (wet in winter) towards an opening at the top of the hill.
- Once on the bridleway at the top of the hill, turn right through a gate, then left through a gate into a field, following a track to the next field boundary, then bearing diagonally down to the bottom of the field and the road
- Follow the (small) road to Launde Abbey, crossing the River Chater, then taking the bridleway left (east) just short of the abbey
- Follow this path east and then take the path heading north (the Leicestershire Round continues east). This path rises back up to the ridge bridleway; turn right (east)
- Half way along Top Windmill, take a footpath sign to the left to wend your way back in a north-easterly direction to Braunston; the path is well marked. On entering a field, you will find a bench immediately on your right with good views of the village.
- As you approach the church again, skirt round the left of the farm and climb back over the stile into the churchyard.
POINTS OF INTEREST
Braunston – All Saints’ Church dates back to the 13th century. It is notable for its medieval wall-paintings and odd-looking clock face. As you pass the west end of the church you will see a pagan figure standing at the foot of the tower. Theories abound as to what it signifies or exactly how old it is.
The River Gwash flows to the south of the village. This sinuous stream subsequently runs into Rutland Water and then on to Ryhall before taking a big loop and joining the River Welland to the east of Stamford.
Launde Abbey is an Elizabethan manor house, extensively modified, originally built on the site of an Augustinian priory, Launde Priory, dating back to 1125. Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s chief minister responsible for the dissolution of the monasteries, so liked its position that he wrote in his diary ‘Myself for Launde’. Today it is used as a conference and retreat centre by the Church of England dioceses of Leicester and Peterborough.
The Blue Ball LE15 8QS, opposite the church (01572 722135). Good food and a really friendly place, ideal post-walk.
The Old Plough Inn Church Street, LE15 8QT (01572 722714). Good restaurant and bar snacks. Famous for its pétanque games.
Launde Abbey is open daily for morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea from 10.00 am until 5pm.