• Laura Purkess

Bardon Hill, Leicestershire

Location: Bardon Hill Quarry, Leicestershire

Nearest town: Coalville

Peak: 278 metres above sea level

Rank: 25/48

Difficulty: ★★

Date climbed: 31 May 2020


A former volcano, Bardon Hill overshadows Bardon Hill Quarry, which has been in operation for over 400 years and still churns out three million tonnes of rock each year - equivalent to 15% of the UK's annual output! The quarry contains veins of quartz that contain copper and gold!

There is a trig point at the summit (pictured below), which has striking views of the quarry and beyond. The countryside in Leicestershire and the surrounding counties is relatively flat, meaning the views are far-reaching. Writing in the 1830s, John Curtis said the view extends to over 5,000 square miles - or 1/12th of England and Wales. However, suffice to say that as hard as we squinted on a clear and sunny day, we could see neither the Millennium Stadium nor the North Sea.

The hill is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and is noteworthy for its mature oak trees, which dominate the lower half of the slopes, and heathland, which covers closer to the summit. Supposedly, there are 130 species of spider living on the hill (I hate spiders so thankfully we saw none of these).

We climbed the hill amid the easing of lockdown restrictions during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, so this was the first time in months that my boyfriend, Kieran, and I had seen other people. We climbed the hill with his brother, Elliott, and his brother's girlfriend, also called Laura.

We parked the car in the parish of Bardon, at the western foot of the hill. From there, we headed up a clearly defined footpath through the woodlands (largely shaded) that took us up the first half of the hill, where it opens up (exposed - wear suncream if sunny) and reveals a view of the summit. Here, you are around 100 metres from the top. The walk up takes around 45 minutes at a decent pace.

Amenities and parking

There are no train stations within walking distance of Bardon Hill, so a car is a must. There are plenty of residential roads with free parking in Bardon.

There are sadly no local pubs in Bardon, but there are a number in the surrounding villages and the much bigger town of Coalville is a short drive away.

Leicestershire, we didn't expect much, so your high-point was a pleasant surprise.

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