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Things to do at Rutland Water Nature Reserve England UK - Hubtrail

Updated on February 5, 2014

Where is Rutland Water Nature Reserve

Rutland water nature reserve is a man made reservoir in Leicestershire, sitting just to the south east of the small market town of Oakham, which consequently is the old county town of the ancient county of Rutland.  There are many quaint little villages surrounding the Reservoir, all making very good visitor attractions in their own right, some of which I will go into more detail of later on.   

Rutland Water

A markerRutland water Leicestershire -
Rutland Water, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6, UK
get directions

Here you can see Oakham marked on the map with the vast area of water just to the south east known as Rutland Water.

A little about Rutland Water

I don't want to go into too much detail as this hub is not about Rutland, but what you can do there. However, to fully appreciate the many different opportunities that Rutland holds you really do need to know a little about this magnificent reservoir.

Rutland Water was created during the 1970's and finally the reservoir was filled over three years between 1975 and 1978. Rutland Water also known as Rutland Water Park is set in 4200 acres of countryside.  The reservoir itself has a circumference of approximately 25miles, well this is how far you walk or cycle when going round on the designated pathways.  

When the reservoir was created, there was much history made as well with villages being flooded and lost forever, well unless we have a really dry season then you might see the tips of some places.  One of the villages that was forced to disappear beneath the water was Normanton, a typical local village with a small church.  The church is the only building which survived the flooding and can be visited on the south shore.  Anglian Water re-opened the church in 1986 as a museum showing the history of the museum and it now attracts 30,000 visitors each year.

Views of Normanton Church and Rutland Water

Normanton Church
Normanton Church | Source
Views across Rutland Water
Views across Rutland Water | Source
Views across Rutland Water
Views across Rutland Water | Source
Views across Rutland Water
Views across Rutland Water | Source

What is there to do at Rutland Water

Ok, so I have told you a little about where to find this lovely reservoir and when it was created, but what is there to do when you get there? Well the truth is, lots and lots and lots. There really is something here for everyone, young, old, adult, child, single or not, active or not so active.

Lets start at your arrival. There are four main starting points when visiting Rutland Water, Whitwell, on the north shore and Edith Weston on the south shore, both of which are the main car parks and starting points for visitors. However there is also a car park at Egleton on the western side of the water and another near Empingham on the north east corner. Parking will generally cost you £3 for a day ticket, but season tickets are available and if you intend to visit on a regular basis then they are well worth there money.


Whitwell offers much for the family and anyone else for that matter.  Here you will find a friendly sailing centre where you can hire small dinghies and windsurfing boards.  Private tuition is also available along with hire of wetsuits etc.  You will also find the Rutland Belle moored outside the cafe offering trips across the water.  

If cycling is more your thing then why not check out Rutland cycles where you can find all you need for your bike or you.  If you don't wish to bring your bike or you don't have suitable cycling equipment for your child then cycle hire is available, and by this I mean everything you could think of from Child seats and trailers to children's bikes with tag along systems and then a variety of adult bikes depending on what you wish to do, comfy or not so comfy.   

The Rutland Cycle shop also offers much for the keen walkers out there and Rutland is certainly just as good for walking as it is for cycling and sailing, probably better as you get to see more of the wildlife.

If your children fancy something a little different, then why not take a look at the Rockblok Climbing centre where you will find climbing walls with drop in tuition available as well as being able to prebook.  There is also a trampoline and high ropes for you to have a go at.  They do suggest a minimum age of 5 at the centre.  

Obviously by the end of your day of cycling, walking, climbing or sailing you will be hungry and thirsty.  Although there is plenty of open grassland overlooking the water suitable for picnics (there are some picnic tables doted around if you look hard enough) there is also the Harbour bare and cafe adjacent to the Rutland Belle, and then the Four Foxes which is next to Rockblok.  Here is great if you just want a drink or ice-cream.


Views over the water looking at Whitwell sailing centre
Views over the water looking at Whitwell sailing centre | Source

Edith Weston on the south shore

At Edith Weston you will find another of Rutlands Cycling Shops, the partner to the shop at Whitwell.  Here you can find bikes manufacturers that are not sold at Whitwell.  There is also a hire shop here which covers all the main aspects of cycling including helmets.  

The Waters Edge Cafe and Bar is an ideal place to stop and have a coffee and piece of cake whilst watching over the waters activities.  You can get some very nice lunches from here as well at not too bad a price.

There are your usual ice-cream shops available and picnic tables as well if you prefer to bring your own.  

On the south shore just up from Edith Weston you will find the Rutland Water Sailing Club which is registered to the RYA Sailing School.  They welcome novices as much as experts into the club and also offer special facilities for sailors with disabilities.   


Osprey on its perch
Osprey on its perch | Source
Osprey  in flight carrying a good size fish
Osprey in flight carrying a good size fish | Source

Empingham and Egleton

Empingham offers a very large car park with basic amenities for those of you who wish to just a base to leave the care before you go exploring on cycle or foot.  You can also find a butterfly house here which offers you an insight into the native and not so native species.

Egleton does not offer as big a car park as the other villages around Rutland Water, but it does offer you the unique experience of seeing the wild birds close up, as this is where the Anglian Water Bird Watching Centre is based, also known as the Egleton Centre.  Once into this marvellous centre you have the chance of seeing some of Rutland Waters resident Fishing Ospreys.  The oldest breeding pair which are now 11 years old. There is another Bird Watching centre at Lyndon which is between Edith Weston and Manton.

Summary of Rutland Water

Rutland Water is a man made reservoir and nature reserve created in the 1970's by Anglian Water.  

There is a 25mile circular trail around the water suitable for both walkers and cyclists of all abilities.  The trail is also suitable for children's trailers.  

As you go around the water you will come across various types of wildlife and have the option of using some of the numerous bird watching sites.  

For visitors looking into the history of the area, Normanton church (museum) should be your first point of contact, as this tells the history of Rutland Water.  The church in the village of Edith Weston is also worth a visit as this is where the burial sites of Normanton were brought (I myself have distant relatives now at Edith Weston).

Fancy having a go at sailing or windsurfing then check at the sailing centre at Whitwell for a lesson or two and then take to the water for a different view.  Alternatively you could take a leisurely trip on the Rutland Belle, various trips from dawn to dusk are available.  

Pictures of around Rutland Water

Views of Rutland Water
Views of Rutland Water | Source
Views of Rutland Water
Views of Rutland Water | Source
St Mary the Virgin Parish Church of Edith West and Normanton
St Mary the Virgin Parish Church of Edith West and Normanton | Source


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