29 December 2016


In the dog-days of 2016 I’ve hired a car to visit all those places that aren’t that far away but usually require intricately-timed public transport connections to visit. Yesterday was Bradgate Park, today was Rutland Water. A 25-mile walking and cycling trail (packed with children testing out their new bikes and scooters) circuits the lake, but I just walked from Edith Weston to Whitwell and back instead.


Tiny Rutland (the smallest historic county in England) was made even smaller when Rutland Water was formed by the flooding of the Gwash Valley and an adjacent side valley, east of the county town of Oakham. The resulting reservoir, the largest in the country by area, opened in 1976. Nether Hambleton and much of Middle Hambleton were demolished and flooded, leaving Upper Hambleton on a long peninsula. Farms, woodland, and part of the parkland of Normanton Hall (demolished in the 1920s) were also flooded. The hall’s private chapel would also have been lost, but instead its lower half was filled with rubble to raise the floor level, and the deconsecrated chapel is now used for weddings.


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