Where: Asfordby, Leicestershire. The route could also easily be started from any of the other villages it passes through: Saxelbye, Shoby, Hoby, Gaddesby or Kirby Bellars.
Distance: 17.4 miles.
Ascent: 1,110 ft.
Maps: Ordnance Survey Explorer 246
Parking: There are two free car parks in Asfordby village centre and two pubs with car parks.
Overview: This route is a circuit around and through part of this nice river valley. It is on bridleways and country lanes but does have several busy road crossings. It makes a lovely summer evening ride. The trails can vary in quality depending on recent weather and the passage of off-road vehicles and horses. Don't bother if it has been wet for a prolonged period.
Local Bike Shop: Rutland Cycling
symbols on the map to view photographs of the route)
(click on a grid reference to centre the OS map above on that point)
1. (0 miles) SK708190
Start by heading away from the village centre along the main street towards Melton. After a couple of hundred yards turn left into Ridings Close. At the end of this cul-de-sac a bridleway begins as a path between the backs of the houses. Follow the bridleway and cross the busy by-pass carefully. Carry on climbing up a farm road until just before Asfordby Farm there is a track off to the left. This track loops all the way round the back of the farm to become a double track through a big dip. This is a permissive bridleway. After the initial dip and following corners it is a fast rough, descent to it's end.
2. (1.7 miles) SK721201 Turn left up the lane. Climb gently until just after a T-junction on your right there is a wide gravel track on your left. Take this unsigned track (sometimes the gate at the top is closed) and descend at speed before climbing back up past the muck heaps! At the top of the climb turn left into the trail that runs between the two hedges. This is a narrow flat trail but can be fun depending on how churned up by horses/damp it is? The trail emerges from the greenery where another trail crosses it. Turn right on to this and pedal the short track to a gate at the road.
3. (3.7 miles) SK707212 Turn left out of the gate then take the first right and descend on tarmac to Saxelbye. Follow the road through the village and immediately after you go under the railway bridge take the short, steep bit of singletrack on your right. This is a very short trail through the little copse that brings you back out on the road just round the corner. When you emerge (beware traffic) cross the road and go over the cattle grid and up the road opposite. Follow this over another cattle grid, then down to a T-junction. Turn left and go through Shoby to meet the A6006.
4. (5.9 miles) SK681200 Carefully cross the busy A-road. There are two bridleways here. Take the gate for the one on your left and head diagonally across the field to a gate in the far corner. Through this the bridleway follows the obvious course between hedge and fence along the side of several fields and through more gates before cutting across a small field behind Barn Farm and continuing via more gates and pasture. It is signposted well enough to follow easily and will eventually lead you to the village of Hoby. Wind your way through the village until the last right hand bend where you should take the left turn down Brooksby Road. This is signposted for Brooksby and Melton. Follow the road down and across the river before climbing to meet the A607.
5. (9.1 miles) SK673159 Cross the main road into the entrance of part of Brooksby College. Follow the drive round past the college buildings, quarry workings and through gates. It finally climbs on a gravel surface before becoming a rutted trail along a field edge. It then goes through another gate and across a field to meet a double track. Follow the double track down until it turns right. Do not turn right - carry straight on following the obvious Midshires Way through more fields and gates until you come to a gate with a road. Turn right and then take the first left as you enter the village of Gaddesby onto Pasture Lane. Stay on the lane, ignoring the bridleway you pass on your right and take the first right - still called Pasture Lane. Follow this until you see the bridleway sign on your left a hundred ish yards before the cross roads.
6. (12.7 miles) SK713135 Turn left on to the bridleway. It follows the edge of the first field before crossing the next slightly diagonally to a gate. This section is often badly cut up by horses and/or ploughing! Through the gate the bridleway follows another field edge and crosses another field before becoming a smoother faster double track trail. At the end of the bridleway turn right onto the road and follow it to it's end at Kirby Bellars.
7. (15.3 miles) SK716175 Cross the A607 via the staggered junction and go down Main Street. Immediately after you cross the railway bridge turn right into Washdyke Lane and proceed over the river via a brick bridge to a gate. Follow the edge of the old, dry canal to another brick bridge and turn left over this. Follow the obvious rutted trail in a straight line until it goes up and over a hill on a better surface and meets the A6006. Turn left and follow the road back to your start point in Asfordby.
Possible extensions: There are options in several directions but the most obvious is to take the bridleway you pass on the road after Gaddesby and go down to Ashby Folville and then head via Thorpe Satchville to Burrough Hill and back via Great Dalby.