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Railway Walks & Explorations

A rough, illustrated, guide to the former Charnwood Forest Railway, Canal and Tramway - and what they look like today.

By clicking the icon in the top left of the map window, you can select/deselect other options to view or click the icon top right to view full screen.

The Flickr photos for this map are also viewable at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmf2eNnX

The railway and tramway routes are shown in orange and the canal route in blue .

The canal route ends at Napantan where it was met by the Charnwood Tramway which led down to the Loughborough Navigation (ie the River Soar) at Loughborough Basin. The canal started both from near Thringstone and Osgathorpe and met at Junction House betwen the two places. Both of these ends of the canal were fed by other tramways from quarries at Thringstone, Barrow Hill and Cloud Hill respectively.

The route of the tramway from Nanpantan is clearly recognisable downhill, alongside the road, where the unusually wide verge gives things away for some distance. Abruptly however, this wide verge disappears at a slight rise where the tramway turned a little southwards to go round a small hill. It must be remembered that traffic was exclusively stone down to the canal and the tramway route would have taken advantage of this gradient. From here the route is unclear, but a careful examination of old property boundaries in Loughborough possibly provide a good indication. I will refine my map as more information is found. In the meantime, the road crossing of the tramway on the approach to Loughborough, would probably have been near the current Toby Inn.

The Charnwood Forest Railway (aka The Bluebell Line) superseded both the canal and its tramways. Its route is clearly defined today throughout. Note that the former goods area in Loughborough still has rails in situ!

I have found a number of websites with more information on the railway and its history. The following are just samples.
Follow these links for further information:- All links should open in a new tab.

For a historic map of the route, follow this link and then adjust the transparency on the slider scale to view the present day appearance:
Click Here for Historic Map

The original survey map for the canal and tramroads is embedded above from the host site (not mine) which some people have reported issues with. Click here for the original host site.

The best starting point for the canal is probably https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charnwood_Forest_Canal whereas for the railway use https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charnwood_Forest_Railway .

These websites, for the canal and for the railway are also of some interest.