Finally, I have a whole weekend off! The sun was shining this morning so we headed to Rutland Water in Leicestershire with the bikes.
We parked at the home of Ruland Cycling in the Whitwell car park. The shop is huge and has a wide range of bikes (mountain, road, hybrid and kids amongst others) for sale and hire (including tandems). The shop also includes outdoor clothes, cycling clothes and accessories and climbing gear.
We had our own bikes but bike hire is reasonable, although it does add up for a family but info on prices can be found here
There is also a climbing wall, trampoline and high ropes course (over 8’s only) Prices are here
It’s advisable to book for the climbing wall and ropes as they are busy at weekends and holidays.
We set out towards Egleton, anti clockwise around the water. It’s 17 miles for the circular route. If you include the Hambleton peninsula, which we did, it adds up to 23 miles. It’s worth taking a trip round the peninsular as it offers some beautiful views and impressive houses. There are some steep climbs and descents around the Peninsula as there is around the whole of Rutland Water but if your thighs are up to the extra miles and you have time, it’s a nice trip round.
The paths are pretty good quality with some softer ground at times which would become boggy after rain but there is also tarmac surfaced areas.
The tarmac and trail sections are intermittent so there isn’t any section all the way round of one surface or the other. It’s not particularly off road either for hard core mountain bikers but I imagine it can pretty mucky in winter!
Egleton in a beautiful picture postcard village. There is parking there but it’s for the nature reserve and a sign does state ‘no parking for cycling’. It’s a bird watching centre with a shop serving ice creams, drinks and vending machine coffee. The visitor centre also has a small interactive exhibition.
It’s a good stop off point if needed but just a bit further up the road is The Horse and Jockey is situated in Manton is situated at the half way point and a good place to refuel with bike parking and outdoor seats.
There are refreshments at all the car parks, the usual coffee, cakes and plates of chips but nothing fancy and don’t expect too much from the coffee!! If you don’t fancy a pub lunch and can’t survive on ice creams it would be best to take your own food.
There are other pub off the track and the leaflet from Rutland Cycling centre has them listed and shown on the map.
Just past Edith Weston is another car park and here there has just opened a Giant bike shop. Well worth a look. Again there is a small cafe and toilet facilities here.
Normanton church museum sits just past car park. The church was saved from the water by raising it’s floor and now houses a museum.
Details of it’s opening times can be found here
The last part of the route takes you over the dam, which is lovely and flat before heading down into the second to last car park situated near the water sports centre. We reached here between half four and five and the cafe was closed by this time but it is only a short trip back to Whitwell car park where the cafe and cycling shop remained open.
As it’s open water it is pretty exposed and despite the sunshine a wind blows over the water brings a nip with it especially later in the day but I would imagine after a run round in the heat of summer (!!!) it would make a refreshing change!
I would thoroughly recommend a trip to Rutland Water as it is a beautiful location and even if you don’t intend to cycle round it, a walk along it’s shores will dust the cobwebs away.