It’s (sadly) not a rail trail, but this route nonetheless broadly follows the course of the former Great Central Railway – the lost mainline from London to the Midlands and Yorkshire.
Rather, it’s entirely on-road, mostly on quiet lanes though a handful of the roads have sadly become busy with car traffic. The terrain is undulating and there are some lovely villages along the way.
Just before Leicester you join NCN 6, which leads you into the centre of the city on – at last! – the Great Central itself.