Distance: 21 miles
Walked 20 September 2008
The last time I walked around Anglia Water's 3100 acre reservoir (the largest man-made lake in western Europe, folks) I didn't have time to walk the optional loop around Hambleton Peninsula.
Today I did, and it was a fascinating experience. You'll see from the maps at the bottom of this post that the reservoir is a U shape. You can just walk a circle around the outside, or you can add the inner circle. I walked anti-clockwise around the outside, and had walked almost all of the outer circle before arriving at the peninsula, so while still keeping the water's edge on my left, I found myself changing direction and walking clockwise, and seeing all of the paths already trod, across a stretch of water.
Today we're in the middle of what might be an Indian summer; it really does feel as if Summer has returned (some might say 'arrived'). It was a perfect day for a saunter around one of England's beauty spots.
I started in Manton, and the first mile or so is along a road, with glimpses of the water. The first real views come as you descend towards Lynton nature reserve. Note the rosehips on the hedge. I noticed so many red rosehips and the red berries of the hawthorn. It's either been a very good year for them, or I've just never noticed them before.
This is Normanton Church Museum, which I've not stopped to investigate so far:
A long straight path takes you along the top of the dam at the eastern side of the reservoir. It looks like a huge dry-stone wall, and the village to the east is much lower than the water level.
The big surprise on arrival at the peninsula is the long busy road. For a couple of miles I was dodging surprisingly heavy traffic. It was well worthwhile, because once off that road, the views are excellent, and as I mentioned before, across the water I could see the paths I'd already walked.
This is Normanton Church viewed from the middle of the peninsula:
My car is somewhere in the distance across the water:
I don't know the story of the Old Hall, but I loved this view, and the old tree in the foreground.
At the bottom is my route created and measured using Meander (the extra loop is in green, and my start/finish point is at the extreme south-west) but I have to include Anglia Water's own map from their hand-out leaflet because it made me laugh out loud while I was walking. You'll see that the Rutland Belle is marked on the map. When I saw the pleasure boat, it was parked near Normanton museum, which demonstrates the folly of printing a moving object on a map!