The River Soar

Located in the East Midlands region of England is the city of Leicester. There are many fascinating things to sightsee in the Leicester region. From the castle ruins to King Richard III’s Visitor Centre, you can spend many hours sightseeing.

City Sightseeing

One of the most interesting things to sightsee is the River Soar near the Castle Gardens.

The Castle Gardens is where Richard III spent many of his last days and it’s no wonder, the River Soar offers an abundance of wildlife and serene views. The River Soar boasts one of the most beautiful serene scenic views in the area.

Once a profitable commercial navigation route for the Britain area, today, this meandering river travels 28 miles through the Leicestershire area and is an ideal setting for a variety of recreational activities.

The River Soar is a breath of fresh air. Leicester’s diverse landscape is showcased right in the heart of the city.

It’s a short walk through the various riverside paths and if you’re lucky, you may even see one of the many otters who make their homes in and around the area.

Walking and Cycling

Plenty of cycling paths and footpaths line the area linking the area to the city and other outlying areas.

The river itself a part of the National Cycle Network for route 6 offers plenty of opportunities for a traffic-free experience cycling on the road and walking routes.

It doesn’t end here however, there’s still plenty of opportunities to explore the area via other landmarks such as the Castle Gardens, Abbey Park, Watermead Park, and many other great landmarks including King Power Stadium, the city of Leicesters football club.

If you’re not into sports, it’s okay, there’s still plenty to explore from King Richard III Visitors Centre to the National Space Centre. You can also take a visit through the Abbey Pumping Station, and even a variety of pubs and local cafes boasting local fare.

If you’re looking for a once in a lifetime experience, look no farther, you’ll enjoy the serenity of the River Soar while you navigate a variety of trails and scenic vistas.

Take a step back into yesteryear and visit some of the shops along the way. You’ll appreciate the attention to detail that the locals have managed to retain in their shops. Explore the myriad of opportunities to step back into yesteryear and picture yourself amongst the wealthy.

Make sure that you wear comfortable foot-ware as you’ll be doing a lot of walking. Bring your camera, a picnic lunch, and plan on several days to explore all that this region has to offer. You won’t regret this visit and you’ll make many great memories as you ponder life in the 1600s.

The River Soar in Leicester has plenty of opportunities to enjoy a few days of sightseeing and exploration. There are many great Visitor activities to be enjoyed by young and old alike. Whether you’re a history buff, or simply interested in medieval life, you’re sure to appreciate the experience of visiting The River Soar.

The Geography of Leicester City

The reference for the city in the world map is latitude 52o38’06” north, latitude 1o08’06” west.

The River Soar, which runs through it, is among the few geographical features in Leicester – since it is, by and large, quite featureless and flat.

It’s on the eastern edge of the National Forest – a millennium project which aims to recreate a large forest in England’s midlands.

The city embraces many satellite towns, such as Wigston, Syston, Oadby and Forest East.

City Coverage

The city has been a unitary authority since 1997, with its very own authority powers inside the city. The city covers an area of approximately 7,500 hectares, and its population density is approximately 38 people per hectare.

The city is an ancient city and settlement – but only had the status of the city after 1919, by Royal Charter.

Population

The city’s population had grown from less than 20,000 (it was 17,000 by the start of the century) to over 210,000 people from 1801 to 1901 – and then expanded further to the current level.

The city has 22 electoral wards, but only two of these (east and west Knighton) aren’t among the top 50% electoral wards recognised as deprived areas. 

Out in the county, the city highest point is Farndon Hill, which is 277m above sea level and located in the Charnwood Forest area.

The area is quite flat and does not have very interesting topography – other than that, you can only see a handful of low, undulating hills in the area – since it was flattened and eroded significantly in the last Ice Age. The elevation inside the city seldom reaches more than 200m and is an average of 150m above sea level.

Geologically

Geologically, the city is on top of the western edge of the Trent Valley’s East Midlands shelf. It is covered with a bed of New Red Sandstone and Mudstone – all laid down mostly in the Lower Lias period.

In the west, there are coal measures from the Upper Carboniferous period. Coal mining was a very important industry for the local economy of villages around nowadays, it has faded away, and is no longer a significant contributor to the economy of the region.

The Bluefaced is a sheep breed developed for the purpose of providing raw material to the burgeoning hosiery trade that happened in the 18th Century. It is a common breed of sheep in Northern England.

Another popular breed, the Border, has surfaced at approximately the same time. While it takes its name originally from the Stilton area in Cambridgeshire, the Blue Stilton – known as the King of English cheeses – is well-associated with the city.

Local Cheese Making

Considering the city has the predominance of licensed Stilton producers (2), the county claims that the cheese is solely their own.

The cheese is associated with Stilton due to the fact it was served at a Coaching Inn, at the village of Great North Road (A1).

All four Blue Stilton producers are less than 30km (about 20 miles) away from Melton Mowbray. Melton Mowbray, of course, is the home of British Pork Pie – since it’s protected, only a Pork Pie from Melton Mowbray can be named a Pork Pie. 

Climatically, the city has England’s typical temperate climate. While the climate is similar, its temperature is quite unusual: the average temperature, surprisingly, is only 9oC. It varies throughout the year, of course, with an average of 21oC through July and August.

It has an average low of the only 1oC through December and January. The wind direction is primarily south westerly – the wind brings weather systems from the North Pole and Atlantic.

Leicester Clock Tower

This tall clock tower stands on the top of a banked lawn about 300m from the road.

The tower is built in the Gothic revival style and originally was meant to be a tollhouse.

Tower Structure

It is actually an open-air stone structure with a three-storey-high clock tower. It consists of seven bells chimes which are played every twenty-four hours, by the town bell-man. It is constructed of slate, bricks, and mortar.

The shadow of the tower does a delightful dance over the surrounding city as the sun moves from east to west each day. Due to its shape and position, it can be seen for several miles in any direction.

Centre Attraction

The Clock Tower has also become one of the major attractions in Leicester’s tourism industry. Many visitors from all over the country come to see the unique clock tower.

Its presence conveys an impression to many people that Leicester is an old city, which has some truth to it. Also, during Medieval Times, the clock tower was used as a monastery.

You can also reach this point by several main routes. The best way to reach it is by travelling on Peel Street. By travelling in a southerly direction, you will find it at the corner of Peel Street and High Street.

You can also reach it from its sister buildings at Cherry Street and St. Nicholas’ Street. If you decide to make a visit to the clock tower on a weekend, you can go during the week.

Preservation

The Lewes Royal Borough is responsible for preserving the buildings of the area. All regulations are strictly followed. There are strict rules that must be followed by any individual who wishes to buy a piece of land here.

It’s important to the local residents, businesses, and government to preserve the character and charm of this place. They honour and cherish their history and take whatever steps they deem necessary to protect it.

Still, that doesn’t mean being a tourist here is all that stressful. It’s a rare chance to step back in time and see how the European world used to be while enjoying modern amenities, comforts, and conveniences.

Don’t Miss Out

If your travels happen to bring you to this corner of the world, then make sure you take the time to enjoy the Clock Tower and its surroundings.

Aspiring landowners in this area love buying properties that have a view of the Clock Tower, but they must abide by the covenants and restrictions. Still, it can be well worth it given the view out the window.

The real dream is living in a place where you can leave the patio doors open and hear the clock going off every hour on the hour. You’ll always feel connected with the world around you if you do this! Even staying the night at one such place is well worth it.

Leicester in Numbers

The population of the city is quickly coming up to 300,000 markers, up 20,000 since the 2001 National Census.

This signifies the city’s role as the biggest city, one of the biggest areas in the East Midlands.

In addition, the city is among the 20 top cities in England for its large population.

Leicester’s Ethnically Diverse And Young Population

It is also making a splash as the most ethnically diverse city as well, with 36% of the population being Black, Asian, or other minority.

Still, 64% of residents are white, 30% Asian, 3% black, 2% ethnically mixed and 1% Chinese.

Males actually outnumber females by 2%, making up 51% of the population while females account for 49%.

The population is still pretty young, with a majority of adults being under 35 years of age. The largest age group is under 15 years of age and accounts for 20% of Leicester’s population.

Life Expectancy

The life expectancy lags from the rest of the nation, with males reaching 73.6 years, and females 79 years. That compares to the national average of 75.7 for men and 80.4 for women.

Housing

Of the 110,000 dwellings, one-quarter are single-standing homes. Overall, one-fifth of the housing includes flats.

The rest of the housing is terraced or semi-detached. One-third of the households are occupied by single people, with 9% having a lone parent household.

By comparison, the national average is 30% single occupancy while 6% are lone-parent households. Nearly 60% of the housing is owner-occupied nationally.

In the city, the rate of rentals is 40%, which is actually higher than the national average of 29%. Do remember that Leicester has a transient student population that occupies nearly 10% of all housing, whereas only 7% occupy housing in other parts of England.

Overall more than half are middle class. They fall into the C1 and C2 bands, with 27% belonging to the D and E bands, or working class. A full 19% are among A and B bands.

More than 75% of the 112,000 working-aged population are engaged in full-time employment with a small percentage owning a local business.

More than 60% of the working population lives within 5 km of their workplace and 75% live within 10 km of work. The 91,000 vehicles in the city are used almost solely for commuting purposes.

Meanwhile, 17,000 take the bus to work, while the remainder takes to foot to walk to work. Leicester appears to be a healthy place for people to live, especially given the short (read: stress-free) commute that may involve walking.

Though, there is more to it as the life expectancy numbers indicate that something is impeding the ability of the city to thrive as long as the rest of England.

Looking at safety, it is important to find out whether that variable may be playing a role in the vitality and ability of the population of Leicester to thrive well into the golden years of life.

Is Leicester A Safe Place To Live?

The crime statistics are not all that great right now, as per 1000 people, the violence against an individual is at 40.

The national average stands at a low of 16.5 incidents of violence against an individual per 1000 people. That means residents are exposed to violent events at a rate of 2.5 individuals more than the average. Leicester city’s average for burglaries is at 10, whereas the national average is 6.4.

Those vehicles that are mostly used for commuting to work are prone to theft at a rate of three above the national rate, at 13. The robberies are at a rate of nearly triple with 4 per 1000 of the population.

Education in Leicester

The schools are behind the national performance as well. It has 86 Primary, 10 Special Schools, and 16 Secondary institutions. The Achievement and Attainment tables back in 2006 found that the Key Stage 4 was at 5 GCSEs with C grades or more was at 33.5. The national average was 45.8%.

The Key Stage 2 attainment for the Primary Schools was at Level 4 or more for three subjects — English 72%, Math 69%, and Science at 80%. It turns out that the Local Authority numbers are at least 7% behind national scores in every single one of the three subjects.

The city two universities: De Montfort University and Leicester University have a long history in the city.

Leicester University began in 1921 and was given full degree-awarding capabilities in 1957 through the Royal Charter. Leicester University is number 24 on the Good Universities Guide.

Forty-eight years later the Polytechnic opened its doors as a conglomerate between Technology and Art colleges. It was in 1992 it received the university designation.

The De Montfort University does ok among the Good Universities Guide, ranking 89th among a listing of 100 universities. It is neither considered the best nor the worst.

Leicester History

This is one of the oldest cities in England dating over 2000 years. There are very many things historians consider interesting in Leicester. The history of the origin of the city is lost in time. However, there are two major theories explaining the origin of the city.

Origins of Leicester City

The first theory is that the first name is from Celtic one, Coriletav. This theory is supported by the name given to the settlement by the Romans: Ratae Corieltauvorum. The other theory believes that there is a mythical British King who was called Leir.

Leir was the one who founded the settlement around the same time that the Celts were in the area. It is believed that King Leir was supposedly buried under River Soar.

What we are sure of is the fact that the Romans built a fort there around 47 or 48 AD. By about 50 AD, a city had grown around the fort.

Ratae Corieltauvorum was very important to the Romans as it was one of the key staging posts on a major Roman road, the Fosse Way which is linked to what is now Exeter and Lincoln.

Rapidly becoming a market town for local people and their produce, the settlement thrived on the trade that Romans brought to the area.

After the Romans moved north to conquer more of England, the settlement was well established and could continue to prosper without the Romans.

The Jewry Wall and its Bathhouse in the city is the main feature that is still visible showing that Romans were once there.

As with most of England, little is known of the history during the Dark Ages following the Roman departure. The next important event was in 680 when the city is known to have been given a Bishop.

It seems that life was good as the settlement continued to prosper. Artefacts have been found showing that Leicester with its farming community had potters, cloth weavers, blacksmiths, and carpenters.

The ninth-century saw a downturn in fortunes when the settlements fell to the Danish Viking invaders. Until the 20th century, the city had no bishop as the Bishop had run away.

The Norman Conquest sees the city mentioned in the Doomsday book as Ledcestre. The name is believed to have been derived from Ligeraceaster which is a combination of Castra-camp and Ligore-Legro an early name given to River Soar.

The city had some importance in medieval times. The Normans saw the city as large enough to build a wooden fort since it had a population of about 1500.

In the 12th century, the fort was rebuilt with stone.

It was ruled by an Earl as was the custom during those days. Unfortunately, the Earl of the city rebelled in 1173 against King Henry II. This caused untold suffering to the citizens as many were killed by the King’s wrath with Robert.

During the Middle Ages, Leicester was well known for its quality wool cloth and the hosiery made from wool. It was around this time also when leather was considered an important industry. This is what gave rise to its association with shoes and footwear.

The trade was so strong in 1464 that the cities merchants were able to form a corporation. As a result, it could elect its own mayor to run the town. The population had doubled to 3000 by 1500. It continued to rise despite the frequent outbreaks of plague which could decimate the town population.

The town was given a coat of arms in 1619. The city declared itself for the Parliamentarians during the English Civil War and was laid siege by the Royalists in 1645. After breaching the town wall, the Royalists killed many of the inhabitants.

The population had doubled again to about 6000 at the beginning of the 18 century. The population and prosperity would flourish thanks to the birth of the industrial revolution.

The opening of the Soar canal in 1974 literally fuelled the boom in the industry by providing quick and cheap methods of coal and iron transportation. Next time you hear the name of Leicester city, you will understand where the name came from and how the city came into being.