Mount St Bernard’s Abbey, Charnwood in Leicestershire
The walk begins at the beautiful Mount St Bernard's Abbey still home to monks - see: Mount Saint Bernard Abbey – A Cistercian monastic community in the heart of rural Leicestershire. It was founded in 1835 - the first monastery opened after the reformation and the only monastery in the UK that brews its own Trappist beer, which is based on a Belgian monastic recipe, (the sister monastery is Chimay, in The Ardennes). The monastery shop is just off the car park, where you can buy beer and local pottery (thrown by Brother Martin).
Unusually for the East Midlands, the location is high - not far short of 1000ft and is surrounded by rocky slate outcrops, and dense woodland of Charnwood Forest. After a decline to Blackbrooke Reservoir (which can be slippery), the beautiful views over Leicestershire lead down to Charley Road - a busy road that we must walk down to get to the main forest. We walk to the edge of the town of Whitwick, then double back through more forest eventually joining the Ivanhoe Way and emerging at the back of the monastery with great views again. After the walk, if we are in good time, you are welcome to join us for a tea and scone/ muffin at the monastery tea rooms (St Joseph's), which are located outside of the monastery site, turning right out of the monastery gates at the end of the drive, and traveling 200m back down the road. The tearooms are on the right, up a short drive. Alternatively, you can explore the main abbey and grounds which are open until 7.30 pm.
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