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A Walking Around Carsington Water, Derbyshire

Updated on February 16, 2016

Carsington Water, Derbyshire

Sign on the walk
Sign on the walk

Carsington Water

Carsington Water is a reservoir near Ashbourne in Derbyshire.

If you go around the whole reservoir it is 8 miles, you don't have to do the whole 8 miles but once you get halfway there is no quick route back, as there is a large body of water that you would have to cross.

It is a very nice walk, with paths that are easy to walk or cycle on, it is a great place for children and adults alike. There is no need for a map as the walk is guided by signs and you can't go wrong, a foot for walking and a bike for cycling, with an arrow, just follow.

The walk takes between 2.5 to 4 hours depending on how fast you walk, and if you stop at the pub or not!


At the visitors centre there is cycle hire or guided walks and a place where you can get a drink, ice cream, a nice meal or just a snack. With a book shop and a few gift shops too, toilets and a place to leave your dog if you are walking alone with your dog. The ice creams are yummy, tasty flavors, and not too expensive. It is a nice centre with lots of information on the area and how to conserve water and how the water is processed by Severn Trent Water.

There is plenty to do for children, for young ones there are a few play areas, that are very good, large picnic areas, and lots of grass to run around on. In the visitors center there are interactive things to do as you go around and find out about the area and how it came to be.

Parking is very good at only £2.50 for the day. There is parking at the visitors centre, but there is also a couple of other car parks each one side of the visitors center, as this car park does get very full. I tend to park at Millfield car park, it is about a mile away from the visitors centre, it does not really have any facilities apart from toilets, and picnic benches, but I can always seem to park without going riding round and round looking for a spot, with a dog going mad as he can see where we are and is dying to get out and start running around.

There are four bird watching hides, that are not too far from the visitors centre. I myself have never been in them as I have always had a dog with me, and a dog is not what bird watchers want in a hide with them! But they seem very good and have lots of wildlife information, for children and adults.

Lots of water sports to do at the Carsington Sports and Leisure Club, they provide, canoeing, Kayaking, wind surfing, motorboat training, fishing and anything to do with the water. They are very accommodating and if you are into those sorts of things then are worth contacting if you want to have a go, or do one of the courses that they run.

As well as a very good cycle track and walking paths there are very nice bridle ways too. The cycle tracks and walking paths are mostly kept apart, there is a few times when both seem to coincide, but on the whole is it okay, no one is going too fast and it is mostly children with bikes having some outdoor fun with their parents.

The scenery is lovely, green and lush, it can be a bit muddy if we have had a lot of rain, but it is so fresh and quiet. The best time to get there is early in the morning before it gets busy, weekends are especially busy, but not everyone does the whole walk so once you are away from the car park it quietens down and you can sometimes be just you and nature.

It is beautiful in the summer, and equally lovely in the winter, especially on a nice crisp frosty morning, with the glistening frost on the bare branches. It is brighter in the winter, as the trees have lost their leaves and the path side plants have died back too.

Carsington Walk

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Dry stone wallgateWall in Carsington
Dry stone wall
Dry stone wall
Wall in Carsington
Wall in Carsington

The Walk

I started Millfield car park it is about a mile before the visitors centre if coming from Derby end. I then went away from the visitors centre so I would end up there at the end of the walk.

The walk it's self is lovely and quiet, as long as you pick a week day or a cool day, it can be very busy. Around the visitors centre it tends to be very busy on sunny days and most weekends.

It is a great walk for dogs, and if with children as long as they can either walk that far or you have a buggy it is fine. There is a path all the way round which is very good to walk on, it is quite steep in some places, you pass through woodland and grassland all the time you can see the water, sometimes getting to places where you can go down to the waters edge and let your mind wander with the birds on the water.

You carry on and about at the 3.5/ 4 mile mark there is a place to cross the main road, which is very busy, if you have children or dogs be aware that it is a main road, there are lorries, motorbikes and they are going at speed. If you don't want to cross the road and do a mile less, they have now made a path where you carry on and don't cross the road, which is a lot safer.

If you do cross, you get to the pretty village of Carsington, which is tiny, but pretty, you walk through sweet cottages and down a quiet road, there is always a couple of houses which leave water bowls out for dogs. Then you come to the best bit, the bit which makes it worth crossing the road and going the extra mile, the Miners Arms pub, it is a 400 year old real ale pub, which does tasty homemade food and has nice wines, there is a large outside area to sit outside, where there is a nice and and well built children's play area, is worth a visit if a bit thirsty at this point! They also provide cycle hire and a takeaway menu too.

You then come out of the pub and if you can still walk, go up the lane at the back of the pub, it is very leafy and pretty, if it has been wet though, it can be a bit muddy too. You then cross back across the road and after a while come to another car park with some picnic benches. not much further to the visitors centre, before then there are bird watching hides and conservation areas, where you can sit and watch, but are asked not to disturb the wildlife or rare plants.

At the visitors center there is selection of picnic areas, shops, tea, coffee, ice cream, snacks or full meals. there is another large play area, and plenty of room to run off any excess energy you might have left.

You then have a very pleasant walk to the car park at Millfield, which takes you past the south end of the reservoir which opens up into wide views over the Derbyshire countryside, it is a lovely walk on a warm and sunny day with a gentle breeze, but if cold and windy it can be a bit bracing.

Back to the carpark at Milford where there are lots of picnic benches or places to put down a rug and have a picnic away from the main carpark a mile up the road.

Carsington Walk

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Foxglovethe boatsWild Rasberries
the boats
the boats
Wild Rasberries
Wild Rasberries

Carsington worth a visit

It really is a nice walk, you can tire out dogs or children which is always a good thing!

Or you don't have to walk, if you just want to go to the main car park, have a cup of tea, or an ice cream and wander around the shops, and have a look at the water feature, the Kugel, where a 3ft (90cm) sphere of Bavarian granite revolves mysteriously on a socket. Water pumped from the socket, lubricates the sphere, allowing it to revolve on the slightest touch, then sit and watch the world of busy people go by then you can.

If people watching is your thing then it is a very good place for that, there is a great variety of families, couples walking, children on bikes or running around, and almost every species of dog.

There is also a very nice restaurant if you want something a bit more special, which overlooks the water and it is a licensed restaurant too, so you can sit, gaze over the water, watching the boats and birds, while sipping a white wine.

The visitor centre also has good facilities for the disabled, there are no steps all slops and ramps, good for the disabled or push chairs and buggies alike.

There is plenty of wildlife to see too, the water is a haven for wildfowl. Widgeon, the pochard and tufted ducks regularly winter here, while in the summer you will probably see great crested grebes. There are also many waders, including cormorants and elegant grey herons. Swans and moorhens. The watchtower, which provides a good place for viewing the bird life, was built as an observation post during the Second World War, but you mostly find children running up and down the steps and pretending to shoot their siblings!

Carsington Water, Derbyshire

Carsington Walk

Around Carsington
Around Carsington

© 2013 Lavender Jade


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    • Lavender Jade profile imageAUTHOR

      Lavender Jade 

      4 years ago from Derbyshire

      Thanks Mel for your comment. It is a nice place, and the bird watching is good, but maybe not as good as where you are!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      Looks like a lovely place. I'm sure the birdwatching there is a lot different than what we have over here. Seems to be a peaceful, pastoral place. Thanks for sharing it.


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