Carsington Water is a large reservoir owned and managed by Severn Trent Water. It is located just outside the boundary of the Peak District National Park, easy to find and well signposted from nearby roads.
The main car park near the Visitor Centre costs £5 for all day parking and while the machines only take coins, it is possible to pay in other ways inside at the main reception desk, where you will be given a voucher to display in your car. We also picked up detailed maps (donations requested for Water Aid) for the various cycling, walking and children’s play trails here
The children (3, 7, 9) spotted the large outdoor adventure play parks straight away and spent a good long while making friends and exploring all the play equipment, while we enjoyed the amazing views across the lake and planned our visit.
Equipment for water sports and cycling is all available to hire on site from Carsington Sports and Leisure but as we had our own bikes with us we didn’t investigate these options further.
We chose to take the blue (easier) circular route around the lake and found the path easily and well signposted throughout. We spotted the child-friendly Hob’s Trail and loved seeing the wooden fairy houses dotted in woodland on our route.
The route was on compacted gravel material and this did mean that some of the hills and slopes were a bit skid prone but all of our (very standard bikes) coped well. There were a few gates on the circular route and this was tricky at times when they appeared on inclines as we had young children and a trailer.
We made several drink and snack stops on the way round, and loved spotting the wooden sculptures in clearings. There were lots of animals and wildlife to admire as we cycled and the lake was almost permanently at our side, so we enjoyed pointing out different boats and ducks too.
At the end of our ride, we used the bike rails at the front of the visitor centre to store our bikes before we bought yummy ice creams from the café, explored the (very educational especially about sewage!) information centre and visited the Kugel Stone.
We then walked out onto Stones Island to play on its beaches and explore the standing stones and wooden sculptures before heading home.