Being Christmas school holidays I was looking for a family long-ish circular walk. The criteria were that my husband and I could walk whilst our son would make use of his bike. After a little research, I came up with a visit to Carsington Water where we haven’t been yet. An addition to my reservoir walks

Carsington Water in Derbyshire

Carsington Water

Carsington Water is a reservoir operated by Severn Trent Water located between Wirksworth and Kniveton in Derbyshire, England. It is the ninth-largest reservoir in England. 

Additionally, the reservoir is a major centre for leisure activities including walking, cycling, bird watching, fly fishing, canoeing, sailing and windsurfing. 

Carsington water


There are four signposted trails at the reservoir. 

Yellow – Walk around Stones Islands. Short flat accessible walk of approx. 1 mile which is suitable for pushchair and less mobile. 

Purple – A moderate circular walk of 3 miles along the top of the dam enjoying the views of the valley below. 

Red – Long 8 miles circular all off-road walk is more challenging and suitable for more energetic walkers and cyclist. For bird enthusiasts, there are 5 bird hides on this route. 

Blue – National Cycle Network goes through a part of the reservoir 

Carsington Water in Derbyshire

So this beautiful chaffinch and great tit at one of the hides. Carsington Water is also an RSPB site. Have a look at their website what birds can be seen at the reservoir. 

Carsington Water in Derbyshire


Carsington Water in Derbyshire

The Walk

We parked at the main carpark at the Visitor Centre and took the 8-mile red route clockwise. Apparently, it is cheaper to park at one of the two other car parks, Sheepwash car park or the Millfields car park.

Arriving quite late at 12noon we were aware of getting it dark quite soon. I was just a little bit anxious if we would complete the circle on time as it was the first “long” bike for our 6 years old son. There was only one way to find out so we got going.  

Carsington Water in Derbyshire

It is a fairly easy walk with some elevations at places. Our son had to get off the bike and push it quite a lot but he really just started on a “big” bike and needs to get a bit more confident and practice going up the hilly bits. That slowed down our walk a fair bit. But in all fairness, he pushed his bike by himself ( there was a cafe visit promised as a treat at the end ;-)) and Oliver and I had a great walk.

Carsington water, Derbyshire


Carsington Water in Derbyshire

The weather stayed dry and it was, if only a bit, too overcast for my liking. I would love to see this place again in summer though when the trees are full of leaves and the weather is better. 


Carsington Water in Derbyshire



Carsington Water in Derbyshire

Perfect timing. We finished the walk with the final stretch along the dam just when it was starting to getting dark.

Carsington Water in Derbyshire

Visitor Centre

There is a play area with two playgrounds one for little ones and the other for bigger children next to the Visitor Centre. We didn’t go as we wanted to have something to eat at The Mainsail restaurant which was closing in an hour at 4.30pm. After the early dinner, we had a little wonder around the Severn Trent’s interactive exhibition at the Visitor Centre. It is a fun way to learn about our water supply. 

Furthermore, there is also an RSPB shop at the Centre’s courtyard where you can also enjoy a cup of coffee or ice cream. 

Carsington Water in Derbyshire

Beautiful day for our last walk of 2018, you can easily spend the whole day at Carsington Water. There is plenty to do for everyone. We are taking a picnic next time. 

Carsington Water route map


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