Rutland Water loop by Matt Lamy
Cycling journalist and 'Rides of Passage' author Matt Lamy takes on a nice 'n' easy spin of Britain's largest manmade inland body of water: Rutland Water.
Imagine a cycle ride that is almost pan-flat, on mostly traffic-free paths, around a beautiful reservoir, with cafés, pubs and bike shops galore, where it's almost impossible to get lost. Sounds like cycling heaven, right? Well Rutland Water, in England's smallest county, Rutland, is that nirvana.
I start this route in the car park near Rutland Cycling on the north shore of the water and head anticlockwise. But such is the nature of this ride that you can start in any of a multitude of places along the reservoir perimeter and go in a clockwise direction just as happily. Just keep the reservoir on the same side of you, and keep pedalling.
From the north shore, head west then south, and you'll come across your first and only real choice on this route: whether to head onto the peninsula that pokes into Rutland Water. I’d say do it — this isn’t a long or hard ride and you get a great view.
As you leave the peninsula you’ll come across Rutland Water Nature Reserve — a great place for a spot of twitching — then continue south. If you’re already in the mood for a spot of lunch, the Horse and Jockey pub in Manton not only offers massive amounts of cycle parking but dishes up fine food, a great selection of drinks, and a cosy atmos. There's plenty of other pubs around, though, so feel free to explore alternative refreshment stops.
A fun, very slightly rolling route along the southern bank of the Water takes you on to Normanton, with its bike shop, Waters Edge café, visitors centre and incredible church rising from the water. Then it’s a case of finishing your circumnavigation around the north-east corner and heading back to your starting point. Who said cycling had to be hard?