Locked down again and going mad. I'm not particularly good at sticking to an exercise routine - seem to get bored too easily with running (after a couch-to-5km) and cycling (which I tend to do with the kids). But I do enjoy walking, whatever the weather, headphones in and listening to an audiobook or podcast. Anyone that lives near me will probably spot me doing laps of the village every few days - we have an old railway line near our home that's a good straight line for several kilometres, some good cross-field footpaths with views towards Leicester city centre, and a nearby hill looking down into a quarry. But with the lockdowns and homeworking of 2020, I've done these loops around the villages many times.... so I wondered about a change. Not that there's anything I can do right now, in the middle of #Lockdown3.
One of the amazing audiobooks I listened to in 2020 was Bill Bryson's Road to Little Dribbling, which saw him taking the route from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath, a straight-line route that spans England and Scotland (the longest straight line one can travel in the UK without crossing any part of the sea, which he calls the Bryson Line). If you draw a straight line between the two (916 km), it passes within 2.8 km of the very centre of England.
That's right here in Leicestershire, at Lindley Hall Farm, 1.5 km east of Fenny Drayton and 5 km north of Nuneaton. The farm is part of the former RAF Lindley (1943-46) airfield, named after the farm which itself was named after the former Lindley Hall. According to Wikipedia, a plaque denoting this point, and disputing England's "traditional" centre as being Meriden in the West Midlands, was erected by Ordnance Survey on 14 June 2013. This also right next to MIRA, the Motor Industry Research Association, an automotive engineering and development consultancy company that uses the old airfield.
It's also only 7.3 km from where I grew up, in Hinckley in Leicestershire.
So that feels like a meaningful-enough starting point for this fairly pointless blog post. Armed with Strava recording my movements, Google Maps as a guide to the Bryson Line from Lindley Hall Farm, and Wikipedia for place names, I wondered how far I would get without actually leaving Leicestershire.