Beacon Hill History
Beacon Hill takes its name from its history as a signalling point. Many times over the centuries a beacon has been lit near the summit to give warning or commemorate an important national event.
Up until the early part of the 20th Century, Beacon Hill was part of the Beaumanor estate, owned by the Perry-Herrick family. During the Second World War the site was occupied by the Ministry of Defence and was used for training operations and the storage of munitions. In 1947, the site was purchased by Leicestershire County Council to protect its value as a public open space.
In the early 1970s Beacon Hill was designated as a CountryPark and has now become one of the premier visitor attractions in Leicestershire at the gateway of the National Forest.
Beacon Hill Geology
The rocks at Beacon Hill were formed from volcanic activity around 700 million years ago and are some of the oldest found across the world. The crags at the summit were originally created at the bottom of the sea from compressed volcanic ash. The layers of rock developed horizontally, but were buckled and tilted into their current position by massive earthquakes some 600 million years ago. Look out for the unusual rock formation as you walk near the summit. You will see why it’s been nicknamed the “Old Man of the Beacon”.
Beacon Hill Archaeology
Beacon Hill has been recognised as the site of a Bronze Age Hill Fort since a line of defensive earthworks was discovered near the summit of the Hill. In 1858, this was confirmed when bronze jewellery, an axe and spear head were found at the site. Some of these artefacts are displayed today at Charnwood Museum in Loughborough.
The park is also believed to be one of the earliest known places where man made his home in the area. Due to its great archaeological importance, Beacon Hill is legally protected by English Heritage as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.