“ Reservoir and visitors centre. Ashbourne, Derbyshire. DE6 1ST. Tel: +44 (0)1629 540 696. „
The 'cycle track' at Carsington is ill-conceived, poorly planned and badly managed. This route is advertised as being family friendly and safe. It is neither. This then ruins it for people who are suited to the route. We are a cycling family, both myself and my husband mountain bike regularly around North Wales. Our son (aged 9) races BMX at a national level, and our 7 year old is starting to follow in his footsteps. We took our mountain bikes to Carsington on a grey overcast day having completed the full length of the Tissington trail the day before. The hills mentioned are a challenge for even a hardened adult cyclist, they nearly all needed to be broken into 2 for our kids (and many of the red faced adults we saw) then when we got to the top we were greeted with signs telling us to dismount and walk down! These hills were safely ridable unfortunately at the bottom of each is a tight blind bend as the cycle route merges with the walking route. Yes that's right you are forever coming round blind corners to be faced with a family walking and blocking the entire track. If like many of the adults we saw, you ignore the walk down the hill signs and ride down, you will probably hit them. When we reached the far end of the lake the fun started, some muppet had cut the hawthorn and blackthorn hedges that line the route. They had thoughtfully not cleaned up. 3 puncture stops later (fortunately we had a puncture kit many others were not so lucky as they faced the 4.5 mile walk back pushing their bikes) we were spat out onto quite a busy road we were expected to ride along (no pavement for the kids to walk along).
So our experience of Carsington was stop/start cycling, moaning children who have done nothing but struggle up hills and walk down them again all day and punctures because someone was too lazy to clear a cycle path of thorns after cutting the hedges. And an 8 mile cycle ride that took 3-times as long as the 26 mile Tissington trail that is about 5 miles down the road. NEVER AGAIN
Carsington Water is a wonderful place to get back to nature. The man made reservoir was developed by Severn Trent Water in 1992 and is a popular spot to try out various water sports including windsurfing, sailing and canoeing. The perimeter of the lake forms a walking / cycling / horse riding route and the 8 miles of pathway goes through woods, over the reservoir dam and past the picturesque village of Carsington. Along this scenic route, there are various boards with information about the local flora and fauna.
I went with a couple of friends and hired a cross country bike for 3 hours which cost just £10, they require you wear a helmet and provided us them free of charge, and were happy to run through their bike gears and other features . We completed the cycle route with a stop for lunch in two hours so could have had the bikes for less time but we hadn't ridden for a few years and forgot how good we were!! I have also sailed at Carsington when on a school trip, this was highly enjoyable and they went through all the basics of the boat and the safety aspects.
There is a courtyard with places to buy food, good clean toilet facilities and good small exhibitions about the creation of the reservoir and the rock and water formations and cycles. There are also shops to buy outdoor gear and a notice board full of people selling sporting gear. It's open 9.30 - 6.30 in the summer and 9.30 - dusk in the winter.
Carsington Water is a great day out, and the village itself is very pretty and has places to camp and good pubs to satisfy that rumbling tummy after a full day in the fresh air!
Carsington Water or better known as Carsington Reservoir was opened by the Queen in 1992. Carsington Water helps Severn Trent to guarantee suplies for millions of customers in the East Midlands. Water is pumped from the River Derwant when the river level is high, stored in the reservoir and released when the weather is very dry. I visited Carsington Water about 5 weeks ago, and it was totally amazing. It is heaven for water sports lovers but unfortunatly there aren't any facilities for Water Skiers - like myself which is a downside to it all! -However *every cloud has a silver lining*. There is a large visitors centre and car park on its western shore. The centre has some interesting exhibits, which tell the story of water and of Carsington Water. Next to the visitors centre is the water sports centre where sailing, canoeing (which i highly recommend), rafting, windsurfing and fishing are all available. - told you every cloud had a silver lining!!! - Boats, wet-suits and other equipment are also available, i had my own wet-suit therefore it was a little cheaper. Prices however vary and they are very reasonable, for things such as 1hr lessons and courses are also available. One third of the reservoir is set aside for conservation work, but there is a 8 mile track which goes all around the water and that is suitable for walkers, bikers and horse riders. On the subject of Horse riding your can in fact go horse treking, which is very fun! At the visitors centre there is a cafe, restaurant, picninc area, craft shops and a childrens play area. Other tings such as: Very clean toilets, First aid point, payphones. You can also Trout fishing and cycle hire. Accomodation is available all around the tiny villages, which include:Hopton, Kirk Ireton and Carsinton itself. I camped at a beautiful campsite which is a Caravan club one, that was called The Blackwall Plantation. It has a heated toliet block, dog walk, veg prep, showers, play area
and a woodland walk. Not forgetting the lovely veiws over the water espeically at dusk. Other attractions near by: Alton Towers, Tissington trail - a 25/30mile bike ride - Crich tramway museum, the Peak Rail, Heights of Abreham, Peak district National Park, Matlock and Matlock bath. The water sports centre also has a shop which sells all your wet-suits, and clothing wear such as: Gul, Animal etc. There are also many very nice country pubs around one serves fine food which is The Knockerdown.
This reservoir was built by the Severn Trent Water Authority and came into use in 1992. It is about eight miles around the edge of the water and has produced a beautiful lake in a very scenic part of Derbyshire, close to the town of Ashbourne. As you would expect the reservoir is the centre for many water sports, including canoeing, sailing and wind surfing, but it also has become a haven for many species of wild life and situated around the water are conservation areas, a wildlife centre and many bird hides. When the reservoir was established it was realised that many tourists would visit the area, and from the start this has been included in the planning. There is a very comprehensive visitors centre which has displays and exhibitions telling the story of water. How it is collected, treated, used and disposed of. The displays have been very well laid out and have been designed to appeal to age groups. Also in the centre there is a large display explaining the role of the reservoir in supplying water to 3 million people in Derbyshire. Adjacent to the visitors centre is a very large pay and display car park (£1 for the day). From the visitor’s centre you can walk around the lake and escape from the rest of the tourists, or you can enter the visitor’s complex where there are many attractions. If you do decide to walk around the lake it is estimated that it takes between 2 and 4 hours to complete the walk. I haven’t tried the walk all around the lake yet, but have done a few bits of it. You can, of course, cycle around the lake, and although I have been told that there is a cycle hire centre I must admit that I have never seen it. Outside there is a large children’s adventure playground and also a large grassed area for playing games, flying kites or for having a picnic. Also on this area there is often special events at weekends during the summer. When you pass through the exhibition area
you come into a large open courtyard which is surrounded by about six gift, craft and souvenir shops, which are not tacky at all, but have some very good products for sale in them, at very reasonable prices. There is also a restaurant for meals and a kiosk for drinks, snacks. From the courtyard you can walk out on an area of ground that spreads out into the lake. At the end of here there is a large mound that you can walk up to get a really good view along the reservoir. The visitors centre is open every day and there is no admission charge. Obviously the reservoir was built as a functional water supply for the people of Derbyshire, but it is good to see that the designers also realised that there would be a tourist interest and have provided very good facilities for visitors, walkers, cyclists, nature lovers and sportsmen. This is a very popular family visit and I have taken my family there on many occasions and I am sure we will go there many times again in the future.
This is what Severn Trent customers end up drinking, since its a reservoir. This 741 acre expanse of water blends well with its natural setting to create a beauty spot that gets over a million visitors a year. Since being opened by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in May 1992, the reservoir has won several awards. An 8 mile track circles the reservoir, ideal for both walkers and cyclists. For water sports enthusiasts, sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, and fishing are available from the water sports centre, and both bicycles and water sports equipment can be hired out by the hour or day, although the boat hire is a tad pricey. The Visitor Centre is located on the west bank where you can learn about Severn Trent Water and all aspects of water supply.Theres some dodgy food outlets and nice gift shops and stuff especially for the kids. There's also a wildlife observation centre where you can operate zoom cameras and stuff.