Charnwood - The Area

Location

Charnwood in the UK Charnwood is an area in the north of Leicestershire with Loughborough as its main town. Loughborough is a market town with a population of over 60,000. As the map shows it is located in the East Midlands area of England. It has and has excellent Road, Rail and Air links (click on the map to show an enlarged version in a new window). It is at the centre of the formerly important underwear and knitware manufacturing belt that stretches from Leicester (15m south) to Nottingham (18m north).
The town was also noted for medium electrical eningeering, including railway locomotive manufacture and the manufacture of cranes and industrial knitting machines. With the decline of textile manufacture and some of the engineering industry in the area there has been a shift towards the newer technologies with many small to medium units. One very old and well established company in town is one of the only two bell foundries in the UK. Loughborough is a also a major centre for pharmaceuticals manufacture. The River Soar runs along the eastern edge of the town and the Grand Union canal passes through it with several popular canal-side pubs.

The town houses the large campus of Loughborough University. The roots of the University go back to an engineering college founded by Herbert Schofield during the 1914/18 war and has long had a reputation for engineering excellence. The University now has departments devoted to most of the sciences and humanities and also incorporates Loughborough College of Art. Sport was also important in the life of the college and the present University is probably the leading academic centre in the UK for Sports Science and with the Loughborough Students Union is very prominent in competitive sport. The Dan Maskell tennis centre was built a few years ago on the campus as an LTA training centre and a 50 metre training pool to Olympic specifications was recently opened by the Princess Royal as part of the English Institute of Sport. Other major sports science and training facilities are under development. The University has encouraged many notable sportsmen and women such as Sebastian Coe, a former management student, and more recently Paula Radcliffe who graduated in modern European languages.

You can find out much more about Charnwood by following this link.

Separated from Loughborough by the M1 is the smaller town of Shepshed and in the surrounding area are several important industrial and rural villages and small towns such as Quorn, Barrow upon Soar, Coalville, Kegworth, Mountsorrel and Hathern. To the east are the rolling Leicesterhire wolds, famous for their foxhunts - the Quorn, Pytchley and Cottesmore - and to the west and north the now (almost) dead remains of the Leicestershire/Nottinghamshire coalfield.

The area is at the northern end of the site of the ancient Charnwood Forest, some of which is being replanted as the National Forest. There are many open spaces such as Beacon Hill and the Outwoods and a few miles to the south the 1000 acres of Bradgate Park. This old hunting park was given to the City of Leicester in 1926. It is a favourite spot for walkers and family outings and still famed for its herd of deer. It was the home of the Grey family (who became the Earls of Stamford) and in it are the ruins of Bradgate House which was the birthplace and home of Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England for 9 days.

On a hill overlooking the park is Old John Tower, a picture of which is shown to the left of this page. This folly was built by the Greys towards the end of the 18th Century. It is said to represent the beer mug so beloved of Old John, a local miller accidently killed at celebrations in 1786 marking the coming of age of the 6th Earl of Stamford.