All Leicestershire people should know Croft Hill, eight miles south-west of Leicester off the old Roman Fosse Way (now the B4114), it stands 128m high (approx 420ft) and is slowly being eaten away by the large quarry works below. The hill is the only large natural feature in the otherwise flat Soar valley and from the top of the hill you can view much of the southern area of Leicestershire and beyond.
They are creating another hill nearby from the spoil and landscaping the area with woodland and walks for public access. The area is popular with walkers and although the actual quarry is a eyesore they are doing a commendable job in trying to make the surroundings as natural as possible and accessible for local people.
The church in Croft is probably Norman in origin and in the 19th century was restored in Croft stone by the Rev James Brookes. It sits on the southern side of Croft Hill in the old part of the village and the church of St Michael and All Angels consists of a nave, north and south transepts, chancel, west tower, and south porch. The inside is a delight with a fine wooden beamed roof and a gothic inspired altar piece of carved marble in-laid with very good tile mosaics. The east end wall and arches consist of two coloured stone whilst the rest is plastered and white washed. The church is well cared for and with the trancepts seems spacious and open. It may have been heavily restored by the Victorians and not have so many original or earlier internal features but to me and I expect others, they did a fine job at Croft.
The cemetery around the church is quite large and well maintained, next door is the Aggregate offices for the quarry which is set in some very nice grounds.
Access is good, there is parking outside the entrance of the church, and the path leads up to the southern porch. Wheelchair access is fine but the path is quite steep at the start. As per usual the church was not open on my visit (mid week day)but there was a notice giving dates of services and other events. The church does seem to be active which is a good sign.
For refreshments there is a pub the Heathcote Arms, within a couple of minutes walk down the road to the east. It serves food and Everards ale.
I do like Croft church, it sits in a nice area of the village and although surrounded by the quarry these are not seen at all. It has the added benefit of good walks up Croft Hill and the surrounding area. You could walk to Huncote church easily from here via Croft Hill and have a pint at either location in either the Red Lion at Huncote or back at the Heathcote Arms, the choice is yours.
Shane M Welch
I went to this fine church not long ago to see my ancestors graves of John Knight and family who worked at the Quarry in the 1800s..