Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Rutland Water: the Hambleton peninsula

The first view of the lake

Rutland Water is a drinking water reservoir created only in 1976. It was formed by flooding two valleys and is said to be one the largest man-made lakes in Europe. What is now the Hambleton peninsula was once a ridge that separated the valleys. Effectively therefore, the lake is shaped like a thick horsehoe - see map. Hambleton village was originally Upper Hambleton and its name was shortened after Lower Hambleton became part of the reservoir.

We started our walk with Sally and Malcolm at the Finch's Arms pub and walked past the church to be drawn to the little group of estate cottages of 1892 including the Old Post Office. We especially loved the art nouveau clock on the right gable.

Further along the road a left turning led down towards the lake, giving the view shown above. Once we got to shore level there were pleasant views across the lake to the north shore. The object in the water looks like a diving platform, but no doubt has some function obvious to an engineer.

We crossed a temporary surfaced track and wondered about the construction work that was obviously going on - surely they weren't building a waterside hotel and spa? After a quiet section of woodland, Armley Wood, we followed a wide track, dodging passing cyclists, to reach this pleasant inlet.

As we approached the end of the pensinsular, the explanation for the temporary track became clear: extensive works were underway to strengthen the shoreline with an edge of small stones. When we saw the finished product later, we thought it made the lake look much more obviously artificial.

Once we had fully turned the corner, the next section, looking towards the west from a grassy shore was very attractive.  

Then came a nice section of mixed woodland, with pleasant glimpses of the blue water after which we emerged onto a grassy area with views of the Old Hall (1611) sitting on a small promontory.

We climbed back up to the village, now able to get a better picture of the 12th century church of St Andrew, with its with its low broach-spire and original Norman doorway. Like so many churches, it was vigorously restored in the 19th century.

Conditions: warm and sunny again.

Source: the AA.

Distance: 4.5 miles.

Rating: three and half stars. Lovely lake views, but the construction work - and the cyclists - made it feel a bit busy, even slightly urban. Surprisingly little wildlife, although the main wildlife focus, especially water birds, is on the south side of the lake.

No comments: