Walk to Burrough Court from Somerby

This originally appeared in The Village Diary (June 2024).

A lovely circular walk from Somerby with an option of visiting the 10th Battalion Memorial and a perfect opportunity for a coffee shop break.

DISTANCE: Approximately 5 miles, allow 2.5 hours plus time for a coffee stop at Burrough Court. Add a little extra if you plan to add the spur down to the 10th Battalion Memorial.

START & FINISH: Somerby High Street. Please park responsibly on the High Street.

TERRAIN: A mixture of footpaths over fields, including sheep pasture, bridlepaths and quiet lanes. The footpath between Somerby and Burrough on the Hill has a short steep downhill section.

MAP DETAILS: OS Explorer 246 and 233.

Starting from Somerby High Street walk up the street passing The Stilton Cheese pub on your left and take the first lane off to the left, Newbold Road, passing the riding stables on your left. Once past the riding stables, take the first gate on the right, marked by a footpath sign, and follow the footpath along the edge of the field with the hedge on your left until you reach a gate.

Here you pass into sheep pasture, so please ensure that dogs are on leads. Follow the clear path straight ahead, with the fence on your left, and views over Burrough-on-the-Hill to the right. A yellow topped footpath sign on your right marks the move away from the fence and down the escarpment. Continue on the marked path over the pedestrian bridge and through two gates. Straight ahead across the next field, and then through two more pedestrian gates to the final field before you reach Burrough village. Walk up the field with the fence on your right until you reach the pedestrian gate then follow the path through a small copse of trees to the lane.

Turn right and walk into Burrough village and almost immediately take the marked footpath off to the left (just before you reach the Stag and Hounds pub) through a garden gate and down the right-hand side of a house and into a field beyond. The footpath runs down the side of the field with the hedge on your left. The next field is sheep pasture, so dogs on leads please as you pass directly across into the next arable field. Straight ahead now to come out on Tilton Lane. Turn right and follow the lane until you see the gate on your left, with a stile leading into Burrough Court.

Once over the stile you will almost immediately see car parks on your right. Walk through the car parks until you see the signs for The Larder, the coffee shop at Burrough Court (open 9am – 3pm, payment by card only) which is a recommended rest stop serving lovely cake! Well behaved dogs are welcome at the coffee shop.

Did You Know?

Burrough Court has an interesting history and is (possibly) where Edward, Prince of Wales, later to be Edward VIII, met Wallis Simpson for the first time in November 1931. Burrough Court was owned by Marmaduke Furness and his second wife, Thelma, an American socialite, held house parties here through the 1920s and ‘30s, invitations to which were highly prized. Marmaduke Furness was a big game hunter and brought a pair of zebra back to Burrough Court with the intention of establishing a breeding programme – look out for the Zebra House. During WW2 Burrough Court was taken over in 1943 by the 10th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, but unfortunately burned down in the early hours of 1 February 1944 when, allegedly, some paratroopers tried to blow the doors of Viscount Furness’ wine cellar with explosives. The house itself was never rebuilt.

10th Battalion Memorial

The Memorial to the 10th Battalion is not far from Burrough Court – just a few minutes walk. Walk down the right-hand side of the coffee shop and turn right to go out of the front gate of Burrough Court. Carefully cross the road and go through the white gate immediately opposite. Turn left and walk down the field with the hedge on your left; you will see the Memorial immediately ahead of you with an interpretive board explaining the history of the 10th Battalion. Go into the Memorial Garden and sit a while.

Retrace your steps to Burrough Court and back over the stile and onto Tilton Lane. Turn right and follow the lane past the footpath you used earlier and past a few houses until you come to a footpath sign on the left (there is also a sign at the same point going right but take the gate into the field on the left). Go uphill with the fence on your left and follow the footpath onto a hedged track eventually leading past some open barns on your right and on to Newbold Road. Turn right and follow the lane back to Somerby (don’t be tempted by the gated road to Owston where the lane bends to the left).

Friends of the Tenth

Every year since the Battle of Arnhem in 1944, a commemoration service and parade has been held in the village of Somerby, but there has been a great desire among many associated with the 10th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment to do more.

What transpired then, was the formation of Friends of the Tenth by relatives of Battalion officers and servicemen, members of the Parachute Regimental Association, Leicester Branch, and people from both Somerby and surrounding villages.

The group was formed with the intention of creating a legacy and lasting memorial to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice at Arnhem through the design and installation of a commemorative sculpture in the parish of Somerby.

The 10th Battalion had been stationed in and around Somerby in the lead-up to their parachute drop 64 miles behind enemy lines in Holland.

What many villagers who were around at that time will never forget is that 582 men left on that fateful mission on September 18th, but only 36 survivors returned three weeks later following the end to the Battle of Arnhem.

Friends of the Tenth’s mission now is to ensure their place in history, their bravery and their sacrifice is remembered by so many more. Find out more at www.friendsofthetenth.co.uk

Thanks to Karen Medhurst for providing this walk to the Village Diary.