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Carsington Water

Carsington Water, located near to Ashbourne, is the ninth largest reservoir in the country. Today it not only provides water but also a wonderful recreational facility for the local community and visitors to the Peak District to use and enjoy.

Opened by the Queen in 1992, work commenced on the reservoir at Carsington Water in 1979 but wasn’t without problems. In 1989 whilst under construction the damn, still free of water, collapsed and it wasn’t until 1984, with a new design in hand that work was resumed. The location was deemed ideal as the surrounding hills reduced the need for excessive damn building and the availability of local building materials eased the way for construction. Carsington Water serves over 3 million people across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. It holds 7,800 million gallons of water when full; enough to fill two other Peak District reservoirs, The Ladybower and Upper Derwent together.


Carsington Water  Carsington Water

In recent years investigations at Carsington Water have revealed a Bronze Age burial mound near to the location of the Visitors Centre. This has yielded artefacts such as Bronze Age tools, flint knives and scrapers, proof if any were needed, that there have been human settlements on the site for over two thousand years. Indeed the Romans took great interest in the lead reserves available on the site; an industry that remained at Carsington Water until the Mid 1950s; a history shared with much of the Peak District.

Prior to the reservoir at Carsington Water being built the land was used for farming and as part of the construction two local farms were lost when the reservoir was filled. During the war the land was also used as a bombing range and the old ‘Bomb Tower’, which was built in the 1940’s by the RAF, is still in existence and lies north east of the visitors centre.

An audio trail is now available from the Visitors Centre so that visitors can keep informed while they explore this wonderful part of the country.

Carsington Water  Carsington Water

Carsington’s limestone catchment, which is rare for the area, offers ideal conditions for fish and attracts a broad spectrum of wildlife. Along with the great crested grebe, geese and the odd osprey there is a wealth of birdlife which runs to some 250 different species.

There is also a rich supply of habitat including ancient hedge rows, wildflower meadows and native woodlands, not to forget ponds and scrapes, reed beds. Additionally there are managed islands on the water which while being also used for boating and fishing also help to provide a home to the 30 plus species of mammal which inhabit the area; deer, voles and whiskered bats being a few of the residents.

In fact wildlife is seen as such an important part of the water that over 300 homes for barn owls and other birds as well as bat hibernation boxes. Great effort was made by Seven Trent to ensure that the surrounding countryside was disrupted as little as possible. They went to the extent of planting half a million shrubs and trees. In recognition of the hard work applied to Carsington, Seven Trent was awarded the 'Forestry Centre of Excellence' award for using 'the highest standards of woodland management'.

A great starting point at Carsington Water is the visitors Centre. It includes interactive displays advising on where our water comes from, how we treat it and how we can save it for the future. There is a pleasant square of shops, cafes and an upper licensed restaurant which offers alfresco eating on a balcony overlooking the reservoir itself. Within the square there is even a ‘Kugel Stone’ which weighs in at 1 tonne, but can be moved with just a touch of your hand. An indoor playroom for the children adds to the fun so that the adults can enjoy a rest with some light refreshment and events are held throughout the year.

Carsington Water  Carsington Water

Adjacent to the Visitors centre there’s as ailing club and grounds with short walks to explore, raised gardens and children’s play area.

Walkers and cyclist visiting the Peak District can enjoy over eight miles of pathway around the reservoir but for those with less stamina there are car park at the visitors centre, Sheepwash (to the north) and Millfields (to the south).

The Water Sports and Cycle Hire Centre at Carsington Water offers a whole range of activities including sailing, kayaking windsurfing, power boating, raft building, orienteering, mountain biking and climbing. You can hire equipment for all the activities and the centre offers professional training so that you can get the best out of your visit to one of the Peak Districts key locations.

Fly fishing is the order of the day at Carsington Water fishery with great stocks of brown and rainbow trout which are replenished weekly. There are a range of courses throughout the year which will appeal to the beginner and expert alike and with a cool 750 acres to cast your rod into it’s a real pleasure for all enthusiasts.

You can expect a fun filled day at Carsington Water with things to entertain the whole family. There is plenty of easy access for wheelchairs and even dogs are welcome (on a lead).

Carsington Water  Carsington Water

Carsington Sports and Leisure have been providing training courses for professionals and amateur enthusiasts for many years in water based activities. The activities they offer include: Sailing Windsurfing Kayak & Canoeing Powerboating Mountain Biking Climbing Fishing Youth Activities Orienteering Courses Corporate Events Kids Activity Days Peddle and Paddle Days Youth Courses They offer training in a wide variety of disciplines, using a...
Carsington Sports and Leisure - Ashbourne
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