Grace Dieu Viaduct and Craglets
Grace Dieu Viaduct and Craglets
OS ref. SK433180 (Sheet 129)
SITUATION and CHARACTER
Grace Dieu Wood lies just to the east of Thringstone. It is old wooded parkland and some of the exotic trees are magnificent specimens. The wood is very overgrown and without people walking the old paths through the parkland the whole area would become inaccessible. Just downstream from the viaduct is a large overgrown hole in the ground. It used to be an old lime quarry but earth has slipped in and the local kids use it as a mountain bike track.
APPROACH and ACCESS
There is a map of the locality under "Cademan Wood". There are three approaches to the climbing:
1. From the B-road from Whitwick to the A512 park either in Melrose Road, or the Rangers Supporters car park. Take the public footpath down past the Bowling Club and football pitch into Grace Dieu estate.
2. There is a hole in the wall beside the back road from Thringstone to Poacher's Corner (433172) with paths leading to the wood. This access also serves Temple Hill (see Cademan Wood).
3. There is a green gate also on the back road from Thringstone to Poacher's Corner (435174) with a path leading round the field to meet an old parkland path (runs NE-SW).
The area is part of the DeLisle estate and the old manor house is now a preparatory school.
Although the wood is private property there appears to be little restriction on access, indeed, stiles and proper holes in the walls seem to be the order of the day.
Areas to keep away from are: the ruins of old Grace Dieu Priory (435183), the big white house (437175) and the school (438179).
GRACE DIEU VIADUCT (433181)
The disused branch line (Charnwood Forest Railway, LNWR, opened 1883) that ran from Coalville to Loughborough skirts round Grace Dieu Manor estate just outside Thringstone. The railway crosses Grace Dieu Brook on a fine viaduct. To be in keeping with the parkland environment the bridge buttresses were faced in stone, gritstone in this case.
There are five buttresses, each about 10m high, and just wide enough to span with the arms. The stones protrude and provide small footholds. At the arch level one would be forced more on to the face of the buttresses. For the final 2m the buttresses disappear leaving vertical masonry.
The best approach is to use Access Point 1 to get on to the old railway track. Turn left (north) along the old railway. This is not as obvious as you might think. Follow the track for 0.5km and the viaduct is obvious. Alternatively there is access from the A512 along a public footpath past the Manor Farm. A sign prohibits access along the obvious track past the old Lodge (432182).
There aren't any climbs yet. Before you try, look down from the top. This reveals some buttresses will be easier than the others. Going north the second buttress on the right (East 2) has finishing holds. Two buttresses on the left (West 3 and 4) have tree branches which might be useful to hold you on near the top.
The best ten unclimbed routes in Leicestershire?
GRACE DIEU BOULDER (432176)
This is the remains of an old quarry which has left a 7m pyramid of rock on the edge of the wood by the brook. It can be approached from Access Point 1 to the old railway and then a short walk south. The top of the boulder can be seen from the path beside the old railway track. Alternatively use Access Point 2 and follow a range of paths, cross the stream and get on to the old railway.
There is an easy slab, steep walls, an arÍte and overhangs. Now getting overgrown. (See diagram).
GRACE DIEU GORGE (423177)
The Grace Dieu Brook has cut a small gorge below the footpath of Access Point 2 just as it turns NW beside a field. There are a few very overgrown craglets that may offer a problem or two to the very determined.
HOB'S HOLE CRAG (435175)
A small green craglet boasting a huge tree. From the green gate of Access Point 3 follow a rocky ridge past boulders and the crag is visible across an old scenic path. Gives a problem or two.
WHITE HOUSE FACE (436176)
There is some rock here but it is buried so far under the rhododendrons that it's a waste of time.