Sunday, August 09, 2009

Two circular walks around Rutland Water

Rutland is a well-kept secret and a real gem. Today I went to Rutland Water to find something that turns out to be quite elusive - a good view of the whole reservoir.

There's a walk around the large reservoir (the largest in the country), but you're obviously close to the water's edge and you can't really see it all at once. I still haven't found the view I was looking for, but in the process I have devised two good circular walks in a beautiful area.

First of all, something very funny I discovered today. Type 'Rutland Water' into Multimap and this is what you get....

Multimap / Streetmap / GetAMap are good, but you can't beat seeing a large area spread out in front of you in great detail, which is what you get with an OS Explorer map (Explorer 234 in this case).

I could see that there are several high points around the reservoir which are on rights of way. Armed with this information, I set off to explore...

Walk: Hambleton Circular Walk
Distance: 5.5 miles
Walked: 9 Aug 2009
Terrain: a gentle climb to 165m
Start point: Egleton Bird Watching Centre, SK878072

The Bird Watching Centre is a convenient place to start. It has a car park which seems to be free, and public conveniences. Head back along the track due west, picking up the Rutland Round. cross (carefully) the A6003 and a railway line. Then comes most of the climbing.

There's a bit of a peak, with tantalising glimpses of the water.

The countryside in Rutland is just delightful. The path keeps climbing, giving hope of a better view.

At Brooke Road, the Rutland Round heads back along the road towards Oakham, but here's a secret. Cross the road and pick up an ordinary public right of way, walk alongside Gorse Field Wood and towards the Mobile Phone mast and Hill Top Farm (clues that this might be a good viewpoint!) Before getting to the mast, at SK845077 (ish) is the best view I found today. Here you can see the two 'arms' of the reservoir and the bump on the horizon in the middle of this photo is Hambleton Peninsula.

I then used Braunston Road to get back to Oakham (Britain in Bloom winner), it's pretty as roads go, with good verges on each side.

Heading south out of Oakham, past the Museum and back with the Rutland Round, we leave the B641 at SK864082 cross a couple of fields, the A6003 again and a couple more fields (all well waymarked) before arriving back in Egleton, which really is a pretty village.

More about this Rutland Water circular walk

Walk: Exton Circular Walk
Distance: 6.5 miles
Walked: 9 Aug 2009
Terrain: fairly flat
Start point: Exton (just south of), SK928107

At this start point is a handy lay-by. Waymarkers clearly mark the first part of this route 'Viking Way', a long-distance path running from North Lincolnshire to Oakham (close to here). This part of the Way really is beautiful, and so I'll find out more about the rest of this path.

The path eventually arrives at the water close to the Harbour Cafe (which does a great bacon and brie baguette!) You can see the dam from the cafe patio, and following the reservoir's circular route clockwise (keeping the water to your right) brings you to the dam.

This is the dam, which on an 'out of season' day is a lovely walk.

Instead, I left the reservoir at the start of the dam and headed for Empingham. The Rutland Round crosses fields to Empingham, but today I took a more direct route along a track and then on the A606 for a short way (see map below). At SK947087 I bypassed the town by taking a public right of way across a field (and a cricket pitch!) There was another nice glimpse of water before leaving the Exton Road. (SK948091)

Again I found the footpaths well waymarked and really beautiful.

At the trout hatchery, I followed the road west for about half a mile. It's possible to follow this quiet road back to Exton, but I took the right of way which runs parallel to it (past Cuckoo Farm) which turned out to be a wonderful finish to the day.

The fingerpost in the middle of the photo is pointing back to the footpath that I've just emerged from.

More about this Rutland Water circular walk


Julian Skeels said...
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Julian Skeels said...

You can also find OS Maps on Multimap, just press the "OS Maps" button...

peahen said...

Yes, Multimap, Streetmap and GetAMap (from OS themselves) all show you OS mapping, but strangely not Google Maps. In fact, when I'm making a map such as the two on this blog post, I take screen shots from Multimap and stitch them together. (Then use Meander to add / measure the route). Note that OS's data is copyright and to display a map image on a website you need to link to GetAMap and comply with their rules (which I've forgotten to do on this post) or get an OS internet licence.

Julian Skeels said...

Disclosure: I should have mentioned I work for Multimap

You can also embed draggable OS maps directly into your blog. Try the 'link' feature above the map.

peahen said...

Ah :-) Thanks for your comments and a great website. And the chance to tell you what I'd really like to see! Embedable maps is a really useful feature, but you'll see from the blog that what I'd really like to be able to do (perhaps I can already?) is to embed a pannable zoomable map with my route plotted on it! (Along the lines of a google maps mashup.) (That's why I wrote Meander). If you'd like to discuss further I'd be pleased to hear from you -