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Harborough District
Shown within Leicestershire
Shown within Leicestershire
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region East Midlands
Administrative county Leicestershire
Admin. HQ Market Harborough
 • Type Harborough District Council
 • Leadership: Leader & Cabinet
 • Executive: Liberal Democrat (council NOC)
 • MPs: Alan Duncan,
Edward Garnier,
Andrew Robathan
 • Total 16.14 sq mi (41.81 km2)
Area rank 285th
Population (mid-2014 est.)
 • Total 63,176
 • Rank Ranked 309th
 • Density 3,900/sq mi (1,500/km2)
Time zone Greenwich Mean Time (UTC+0)
 • Summer (DST) British Summer Time (UTC+1)
ONS code 31UD (ONS)
E07000131 (GSS)
Ethnicity 97.9% White
1.0% S.Asian

Harborough is a local government district of Leicestershire, England, named after its main town, Market Harborough. Covering 230 square miles (600 km2), the District is by far the largest of the eight district authorities in Leicestershire and covers almost a quarter of the County.

The District extends south and east from the Leicester urban area; on the east it adjoins the County of Rutland; has a boundary on the north with the Boroughs of Charnwood and Melton; on the south it has a long boundary with the County of Northamptonshire comprising the Boroughs of Corby, Kettering and the District of Daventry. To the west the boundary is with Warwickshire and the Borough of Rugby, a boundary formed for much of its length by the line of Watling Street. The north-western boundary of the district adjoins Blaby District and the Borough of Oadby and Wigston. The villages of Thurnby, Bushby and Scraptoft abut the suburbs of the City of Leicester.

The population of the District at mid-2007 was estimated as 82,300.

The principal centres of population are Market Harborough (20,170), Lutterworth (9,000) and Broughton Astley (8,660). The District also has four large villages of over 3,000 population - Kibworth (4,910); Fleckney (4,910); Great Glen (3,460) and Thurnby and Bushby (3,160). The District has 17 parishes with populations between 500 and 3,000, 40 parishes with populations between 100 and 500 and 28 parishes with populations of below 100 (mid-2004 population estimates).[1]


  • History of the district 1
  • Topography and landscape 2
  • Built heritage 3
  • Social and sporting 4
  • Community organisations 5
  • Civil parishes 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

History of the district

The district was formed in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972. It was a merger of Market Harborough urban district, Market Harborough Rural District, Billesdon Rural District and Lutterworth Rural District.[2]

Situated in the south of East Midlands but linking to Northamptonshire and the South East Region, and between the West Midland and East of England Region with access to three national transport routes - the M1 motorway the Midland Main Line railway and the A14 East West national trunk road, the district has always occupied an important strategic position.

Topography and landscape

The landscape of the district comprises both pastoral and upland characters.[3] Generally the A6 Market Harborough to Leicester Road forms the boundary between each. The lower pastoral landscape of South Leicestershire is found to the west of the A6 whilst the more undulating upland landscape of High Leicestershire is found to the east.

South Leicestershire consists of gentler country around Lutterworth and Kibworth. Low hills swell out of shallow valleys and villages are pinpointed by church spires peeping above dark spinneys. Near Foxton and Gumley the Laughton Hills tumble down to the Grand Union Canal and Welland Valley, forming one of the best landscapes in this part of the district.

High Leicestershire consists of the tract of land between Market Harborough, Tilton On The Hill and towards Melton Mowbray and forms some of the loneliest countryside in the Midlands. Many villages were deserted centuries ago and remote hills such as Robin-a-Tiptoe in the parish of Tilton peer out over pastures and the occasional farmhouse.

The infant River Avon and River Welland form the southern border of the district with Northamptonshire with sources at Naseby and Sibbertoft respectively.

Built heritage

Stanford Hall, Leicestershire is located in the south west of the district. The village of Stanford-on-Avon is in Northamptonshire but the house and park are on the Leicestershire bank of the River Avon

The Grand Union Canal (old) cuts across the district from Husbands Bosworth to Newton Harcourt with a spur to Market Harborough which leaves the Canal at Foxton.

South East Leicestershire Treasure: More than 5,000 silver and gold coins, around 2,000 years old, were found at a site near Harborough around 2002. The finds are to be exhibited at Harborough Museum in Autumn 2009.[4][5]

The Eyebrook Reservoir straddles along the Harborough District's border with the county of Rutland. The reservoir serves as a popular trout fishing area and bird watching area, with nearby Eye Brook Valley Woods as a beautiful and natural small forest area for walking. The Reservoir and woods are cared for by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and are SSSIs.

Social and sporting

The Harborough District has a long association with fox hunting and is the base for the Fernie Hunt.[6] Although hunting wild animals with dogs has stopped following the Hunting Act 2004, the Fernie Hunt continues to operate under the three principal exemptions to the Act - trail hunting, hound exercise and flushing coverts to a bird of prey. A historical account of fox hunting in the Harborough District (when the hunt was known as Mr Fernie's Billesdon Hunt) is available in the book "Annals of the Billesdon hunt (Mr. Fernie's) 1856-1913 : notable runs and incidents of the chase, prominent members, celebrated hunters and hounds, amusing stories and anecdotes" by F. Palliser de Costobadie[7]/ Also see an earlier guide to the fox hunting country north of Market Harborough published in 1882.[8]

Community organisations

The Harborough Youth Council[9] was set up in 2007 to represent the views of young people (aged 13–19) and aims to improve life for young people. It holds a District Youth Conference each year where young people give their views in front of district councillors. The HYC meets usually once per month, and sends representatives to CYCLe (County Youth Council Leicestershire). More information can be found at[10]

The Harborough District Sport and Activity Alliance[11] aims to make sport and physical activity accessible for all people throughout the Harborough District enabling them to fulfil their potential through sport and physical activity.

Civil parishes

Market Harborough is unparished.


  1. ^ Leicestershire County Council website
  2. ^ Harborough DC Press Release 2004
  3. ^ Harborough District Official Guide (undated)
  4. ^ Harborough Museum - Treasure webpage
  5. ^ "Treasure Hunting TV". 
  6. ^ "Fernie Hunt". Archived from the original on 27 October 2009. 
  7. ^ "Annals of the Billesdon Hunt". 
  8. ^ "The Hunting Countries of England, Their Facilities, Character, and Requirements". 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^

External links

Communities and organisations
  • Villages in Harborough District
  • Parish Plans
  • Map of Parishes
  • Community Forums
Heritage and attractions
  • Harborough Museum
  • Harborough Coin Hoard
  • The Via Devana or Gartree Road which runs from Leicester to the County border
  • - Grand Union Canal - Leicester Line
  • High Leicestershire and Rutland Cycle Routes
  • The Leicestershire Round - Walking Route which runs from Claybrooke Magna to Owston in Harborough District
  • Horse Riding in Leicestershire - The Midshires Way
Sporting and social
  • Fernie Hunt

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