Route details

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    5 miles (8.7km)

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    Allow 2.5 hours

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    OS Explorer 245 The National Forest

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    Os Grid Ref


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    Sence Valley Forest Park, Ravenstone Road, Ibstock, LE67 6NW

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    Path type

    Unsurfaced paths, tracks, woodland trails and farmland.

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    Unsurfaced paths which can be muddy in wet weather and stiles may restrict access.

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  • The birthday walk

    The birthday walk

    pdf 6.82 Mb


This rural 11-mile walk links the 10 woodlands created in the first decade of the National Forest and is the perfect way to witness the ever-changing landscape and vibrant beauty of the Forest.

Along the way you will encounter nature-rich paradises, a mix of young and ancient woodlands, historic buildings and discover the mysterious Noon Columns, each reflecting the character of the landscape in which they stand.

There are also various refreshment stops along this route at Ibstock, Coalville, Heather and Cattows Farm located near Ludlam Wood. Here you can enjoy freshly made cakes and lunches created from their own fresh produce.

Walk highlights

Sence Valley Forest Park

From 1982 to 1996 this site was part of an extensive opencast coal mine called Coalfield North. During this time, 8 million tonnes of coal were extracted from the ground. Following the completion of mining, the site was restored in 1998 to create a new forest park, part of the new National Forest. It includes wildflower meadows, woodlands and three lakes linking to the River Sence, which all provide a great mixture of habitats for wildlife. A community orchard and a new woodland have recently been planted to celebrate Forestry England’s centenary.

Kelham Bridge Nature Reserve

As part of the development of the site the highly modified channel of the River Sence has been diverted in places to form more natural meanders and bends. Small areas for flooding have been created along the river margins to extend the floodplain habitats. The reedbeds provide habitats for invertebrates, birds, small mammals and amphibians. The pools attract water birds and wading birds, which can be viewed from two bird hides.

Noon Column

See the light at the six Noon Columns dotted around the Forest. Slots cut into these 3-metre-high oak sculptures, designed by internationally renowned artist David Nash, allow rays of sunshine through at ‘true’ noon each day.

Off route highlights
Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood

Planted in 2012 as a celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, this extensive woodland contains over 300,000 new trees, a wildlife lake and bird hide and is home to a wide variety of wildlife. There is good accessibility for all ages and abilities, and the site history is interpreted at the visitor barn, a short walk from the car park.


  • Car Parking
  • Grassy Paths
  • Picnic Area
  • Viewpoint
  • Dog friendly
  • Refreshments

Where to eat

  • Cattows Farm Shop & Tea Rooms

Discover more

There's always somewhere new to visit in the National Forest, with an array of unique attractions to explore and discover.

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