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A beautiful reservoir in Derbyshire


Visitors Centre
Water Sports Centre
Wildlife Centre
Altogether, this reservoir took several decades and 107 million pounds to build. It was finally opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 1992. The site has a maximum capacity of nearly 8 billion gallons, which is enough to keep one person going for over 500,000 years! If Carsington were to reach this level, its surface would have enough space for 700 football pitches.
At the Visitor Centre, a permanent exhibition highlights the role of water in our daily lives. The building also houses several cafe, restaurants and craft shops. Its most unusual feature is the Kugel Stone. Despite weighing over a tonne, this huge granite ball can be spun freely on a thin film of pressurised liquid.

Carsington Water Visitor Centre

The Kugel Stone
Just next door is the Water Sports Centre. As well as renting out boats and canoes, they offer lessons in everything from windsurfing to raft building. Alternatively you can stay on dry land and try out orienteering, climbing or mountain biking.

Sailing on Carsington Water
Whichever mode of transport you choose, you can expect to encounter a few of Carsington's furred and feathered residents. For a closer look, you can creep inside one of the carefully disguised hides. Four of these vantage points are hidden around the reservoir. At the Wildlife Centre, various TV screens transmit live video images of the animals. Many of the birds even visit in the flesh, to take advantage of the feeding station just outside.
The surrounding area is criss-crossed by a network of paths, trails and bridleways, which are well-used by walkers and cyclists. The most popular route is around the circumference of the water. It's a 13-kilometre journey that takes most people the majority of an afternoon.

Cycling around Carsington Water
Carsington Water took its name from a small village on its northern bank. Just to the east is another little settlement called Hopton. The two are so close together that they might as well be the same place. The construction of the reservoir transformed them both from obscure agricultural hamlets into attractive waterside havens. Even so, life hasn't really changed that much in either village. They're still quiet, leafy places, with not much more than a few stone cottages.
When Carsington Water was built, it was supposed to attract 300,000 visitors a year. It actually receives closer to a million, making it one of Derbyshire's most popular tourism and leisure destinations. There have been concerns that these hordes of people will end up damaging the scenery, but conservation of the area is very carefully managed. In the last couple of decades, half a million trees and shrubs have been planted, ensuring that this remains a beautiful landscape that can be well used by both humans and animals.
Visitor Information
Carsington Sports & leisure Centre is open daily from 10am. The centre offers various watersport hire and tuition. Carsington Water, Ashbourne, Derbyshire. DE6 1ST. Tel: 01629 540478

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