The Woodhouse May Day Challenge is held on the first May bank holiday each year.
It is a challenge and is quite a lot tougher than an average half marathon.
This is one of the runs which can be included in the hill session work or escorted runs
It’s a mixture of road, track, path and field. They laughingly call it undulating.
The event is supported by the village of Woodhouse Eaves and you finish off with a feast!
Stay Healthy. Keep Safe.
This is fairly tough run, and is significantly harder than most half marathons in Leicestershire. It avoids running along main roads, so it’s easier to train than many other runs, but ..
The biggest single hazard I’ve found, having run this route probably 50 times is that very often, a track will open almost directly on to a fairly busy road with fast moving traffic. Here’s an example
The other major thing to consider is footwear. A fair amount of this run is on road or well made paths. In general, cross coutry trainers will be too rigid. If the weather has been dry for a while, you may consider ordinary road trainers although the field sections at the end can be very slippy in wet weather.
The route includes Bradgate Park, so check the warnings regarding ticks and deer
Loos / water. Woodhouse Eaves village hall car park, Beacon Hill, Bradgate Park
If you need to use loos / get water at Newton Linford (Bradgate park), you’ll need to divert off the route slightly
The water in the loos at the top car park Bradgate Park is not drinking water
Rubbish bins. Woodhouse Eaves village hall, all car parks at Bradgate Park.
There are no rubbish bins in Beacon Hill Country Park.
The route above is from the maplorer site, note the variation between the graph of elevation vs time (the recording from the watch) and elevation vs distance (the actual profile)
The run can be broken down into four sections.
The sketch map (above) shows the sections of road / hard path as black lines.
Village hall to Beacon. Uphill, then uphill, then uphill.
Beacon to Bradgate. Downhill and uphill via Broombriggs trail and Lingdale golf course. Then uphill.
Bradgate Park to Swithland. Downhills and car parks
Swithland to Woodhouse Eaves. Undulating
Woodhouse Eaves to Beacon Hills
Probably not the steadiest start to a half marathon you’ll encounter in this area.
Leave the village hall, cross the road at the Old Bulls Head into Brook Road
Up Brook Road, take the footpath marker to the left of the gateway, near Hangingstone Farm
At the top of Brook Road, you need to cross to Deans Lane. The lower part of Deans Lane is by far the steepest bit.
You wouldn’t be the first person to walk there.
At the top of Deans Lane there is a gateway into Beacon Hills Country Park.
Note – you do NOT have any specific priority over other path users.
At the top of the path turn right through the gates then left along the path in the background in this picture.
When you see the playground, veer left in to the car park in Beacon Hills Park.
There are a few paths down the hill, take the one near the board.
Just beyond this bench, there is a path to the right, take that. take care when you leave Beacon Hills Park – the gateway literally open on to the road.
Broombriggs to Bradgate Park
Broombriggs to Bradgate
When you cross from Beacon Hills Park, look out for these signs – there should be one each side of the path facing you
Run along the path, in between the signs. After 50 yards or so, there will be a plaque on the wall, just before a gateway
A few feet beyond there you’ll find an entrance way in the wall, and a bridle path –
Take the path diagonally across the filed to a metal kissing gate, go through that gate and bear right on the Forest Way footpath to the end of Broombriggs Trail.
Through the gateway, turn right and head up the hill until you see the footpath sign on your left.
From here, follow the Leicester Round signs along a track, through a field and then in to and through the golf course.
In the golf course the footpath is very clearly marked, please stick to it.
Beware of golfers, the path goes directly through the fairways of 4 holes and alongside two holes and a tee.
Some of the golfers aren’t as good as they think they are, sliced shots are not that rare.
When you leave the golf course, you face THE test of this run. Christmas Tree Hill. This one is a monster if the ground is wet.
This picture gives no real idea of how steep this hill is. It has hidden gems for the unwary, there are rabbit holes just as you get properly tired half way up. You wouldn’t be the first person to walk on this hill.
At the top of the hill, turn left on the road then go into Bradgate Park (Hunts Hill) ..
Bradgate to Swithland Woods
The route through Bradgate Park is fairly simple. Go through the gateway.
After approximately 50yds turn right on the bridle path and follow it all the way to the gateway to Newton Linford car park.
At that gateway turn left on to the path and run through the park. Safety warning – kids with scooters, dogs without leads.
The loos at the Cropston end of the reservoir are your last chance for bins, loos and fresh drinking water before you finish.
Go through the car park and turn right. Stay on that pavement until you see the Caravan Club sign on the other side of the road.
Swithland to Woodhouse Eaves
The rest of the run has less hills but more mud. Much more mud. Or hard baked ground!
After you have left Bradgate Park and turned right, the Caravan Club site is on your left, just after that is a gateway with a footpath / bridle path sign.
Take the entrance AFTER the caravan club
As the path splits, stay on the bridle path (on the left)
After approx. 500yds, the path comes to a T junction. Take the right turn, which will take you out on to a road between Swithland and Cropston.
Whne you get to the road, turn right then almost immediate left on the bridle path to Swithland.
The next few miles can make or break this run, depending on weather conditions and choice of footwear.
If the weather has been dry, the trails and farmland between here and Woodhouse village quickly become baked hard and cracked.
If it’s been wet, then you face 4 miles of slime.
Follow the bridle path into Swithland village, and turn left on to the pavement when you see this –
Run up through Swithland village, past the Griffin Inn on your left
You’ll run alongside the school (on your right)
You need to turn right, off the road opposite number 140
Through this gateway. The other hazard coming your way is nettles.
Turn right and run (or walk) down the gap between the pen and the hedge, it is clearly marked.
Keep following the footpath signs and they’ll take you to the footsteps towards the railway bridge.
Do not cross over the railway bridge, but take the path before it, on the left.
You’re now back on the Leicester Round for a short way. Run along the footpath you can see below, to the left of the hedge.
Follow the Leicester Round signs until you see THIS large concrete circular structure in the field ahead of you –
Look for the gateway and path to your right
Run up the hill and turn left at the signpost just after this cottage (which will be on your right)
This takes you into Woodhouse village, turn left towards the church, then fork left on School Lane.
School Lane forks right just after this thatched cottage
Run up School Lane
And follow the stream to a gateway.
Follow the footpaths that fork left and eventually you arrive at the playing fields – at the back of Woodhouse Eaves Village Hall.
Your feast awaits!