From the furnace walk

This five-mile circular walk explores the industrial and natural heritage of Moira. The route takes you through new woodlands and wildlife habitats and, as you go, look closely and learn something of the industrial past that once dominated this landscape.

This area, known as the Heart of the Forest, tells a story of national change in microcosm; the change from 19th-century coal and clay industries to a 21st-century green landscape and its new natural and built heritage promising a sustainable future for the area.

This landscape change was accelerated by the creation of the National Forest in the early 1990s.  The Heart of the Forest has seen the most significant increase in tree coverage, with woodland cover increasing from 1% to 27% over the last 30 years.

This walk takes you through new woodlands and habitats and, as you go, look closely and learn something of the industrial past that once dominated this landscape.


  • Car Parking
  • Children's Play Area
  • Dogs Allowed
  • Grassy Paths
  • Picnic Area
  • Restaurant Cafe
  • Toilets
  • Walking
  • Walking Trails

Location Map

Moira Furnace Museum Trust DE12 6AT Leicestershire


Distance: 5 Miles
Time: 2.5 hours

Start at: Moira Furnace Country Park
OS Grid Ref: SK312152
what3words: /// lavished.retrial.crops

Use with map OS Explorer 245 The National Forest
Walk type Medium Walks

Points of Interest

Moira Furnace Museum & Country Park

A hidden gem in the heart of the Forest, you will find plenty to keep you and the family entertained. Visit the museum to learn about iron-making and social history, explore the lime kilns and ancient woodlands, take a trip on the narrowboat or walk along the Ashby Canal towpath. Open all year round and great for picnics, dog walking, woodland walks and wildlife.


Ashby Canal

This 50km (31 mile) long canal in England originally connected the mining district around Moira with the Coventry Canal at Bedworth in Warwickshire. It was opened in 1804, and a number of tramways were constructed at its northern end to service the collieries. A 14km section from Moira to Snarestone was progressively closed between 1944 – 1966, due to breaches caused by mining subsidence. The Ashby Canal Association was formed in 1992 to work towards reconnecting the 2.5km Moira section south to the Snarestone Tunnel.


Hicks Lodge, National Forest Cycle Centre

In the heart of the National Forest, this is a former coal mining site that has been totally transformed by new woodland and exciting trails. A great day out for the budding cyclist, there is a range of trails for beginner to intermediate riders. Visit the lakeside bird hide where you can soak in the beautiful scenery and spot visiting wildlife, such as the migratory sand martins. There are also walking and horse riding paths to explore, a play area and a café.


Heart of the Forest trail

Seven Interpretation Hubs are located in the heart of the Forest: Albert Village Lake, Donisthorpe Woodlands, Moira Furnace, Conkers Waterside, Oakthorpe picnic site, Ashby Woulds heritage trail and Hicks Lodge lake.

They are linked by a multi-user trail and were inspired by the stories of the communities who have lived and worked in the villages in and around the Ashby Woulds, between Swadlincote, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Measham and Overseal. You will see three of these on your walk, so come back another day and find the rest!