Village Trail and Walk
Take a guided walk and discover the history of Markfield, or simply gain an overview of the village from your armchair or with a self-guided walk!
For details of the information board in the Main Street car park, please see the separate page.
Guided Village Walk
The guided village walk takes place each summer, usually during the Festival of Archaeology.
Whether you are new to the village or have lived here for many years, it is a great opportunity to learn more about the history of the places which we see every day.
The walk takes us back through the geological and social history of Markfield. It will cover typical village life in the nineteenth and early twentieth century and how this was influenced by the geology, communications and landscape. Walkers will be able to see the recent success of turning the legacy of old quarry workings into a public amenity and nature reserve. The walk over Markfield Hill provides splendid views of Charnwood Forest and several neighbouring counties and, weather permitting, will include a sunset backdrop to the haunting Altar Stones. There is some rough terrain with steep tracks. People are advised to wear suitable footwear.
Walks can also be arranged for groups by request, please message us via the Contact Us page.
The 2017 walk
The July 2017 walk was led by one of our members, Barrie Gannon, with help from Laurence Lock. A record number of 37 people gathered on the Green outside St. Michael’s Church and we made our way down to the lower village Green. We learnt about the sawpits which used to be situated here and the origin of the term ‘underdog and ‘top dog’, referring to the men who operated the saw from the bottom and the top of the pit.
We saw the old bakery on Main Street which was still operating within living memory, and is just one of the buildings in the village which sport a blue Heritage information plaque. We heard that in 1901, some eleven pubs served a population of only 1,632! We walked back past the old village school and went into the churchyard where we saw the Norman stonework in the wall of the church and looked at some of the old tombstones.
From there the group walked up to Hillside to see the cottages which were built mainly to house the quarry workers at Hill Hole Quarry. We learnt about the night soil men, who collected the human waste from the cottages, and how one unfortunate man put the bucket on his head to carry it away, but it was so thin that it broke and covered him in unmentionable solids and fluids!
We climbed to Hill Hole Nature Reserve and heard about the history of the quarry industry and the ages of the rocks in this area. The rock at Hill Hole, Markfieldite, is some of the oldest in the world at over 543 million years. This rock is very hard and durable and hence quarrying developed as a major industry. At one time there was a windmill on the hill here, one of two.
The base of the second windmill stood on the land now known as the Altar Stones and was a post windmill, which could be turned around on its base to catch the best wind. The views from the Altar Stones themselves were fantastic, although it was too hazy to see the spectacular sunset of the previous year.
We returned past the allotments to the Upper Green after walking for 2 hours. People had travelled from as far afield as Rugby to join the walk, and visitors said how much more there was to Markfield than they had thought.
Self-Guided Village Trail
Some 39 points of interest are included in the village trail booklet, with explanations of their historical significance.
The trail can be purchased from Markfield Library or History Group members, priced at 50p. Alternatively, please send a message via the Contact Us page and we will be in touch. The front cover and an example page are shown below.