Rutland Water

From Academic Kids

Rutland Water was known as Empingham Reservoir during its period of construction and until its official opening in 1976. Its global coordinates are N52°40'W0°40'. It is a reservoir in the county of Rutland, England, just east of the county town Oakham. The centre of its dam is at British national grid reference Template:Gbmappingsmall. It provides a reserve supply of water in the driest and most densely populated quarter of the United Kingdom and is one of the largest artificial lakes in Europe. The site includes the lake and 3,100 acres (13 km²) of open country. Since the water is drawn upon when needed, the relative areas of land and water vary a little but the flatter parts of the lake margin are enclosed by banks so that the wetland nature reserve is maintained (grid ref SK886073).


Engineering and technical

Its construction by damming the Gwash Valley near Empingham, was completed in 1975. It flooded six or seven kilometres of the Gwash valley as well as the side valley at the head of which, Oakham lies. Nether Hambleton and most of Middle Hambleton were demolished and their old wells plugged, as part of the ground preparation. The Gwash makes a net input to the lake but its flow downstream is maintained. Most of the water stored is extracted from the River Welland at TF017160, between Tinwell and Stamford and from the River Nene upstream from Peterborough, a city which is a major user of the water.

Community continuity

Upper Hambleton and the remnant of Middle Hambleton, including the Old Hall, are now known simply as Hambleton and are to be found on a long peninsula in the middle of the lake: land which was formerly a ridge between the two valleys in which the lake now lies. The few houses of Normanton avoided flooding although its church did not. The lower part of the building was supported against water damage so that its upper part could be used for presenting the story of the construction of the reservoir to the public. Some funerary monuments from it can be seen at Edenham church, Lincolnshire.


The reservoir is not used just for storage of water, but is a popular sports centre - as well as water sports such as sailing, there are fishing, walking to be enjoyed and cycling, with a 25 mile (40 km) perimeter track. A pleasure cruiser carries the public around the lake. Birdwatching is a recreation which brings people here from long distances.


The lake and its surroundings comprise two nature reserves and are now designated as a Special Protection Area and as a wetland of international importance - the former for its wintering populations of Gadwall (some 4% of this species’ European population) and Shoveler ducks. It is home to the Anglian Water Bird Watching Centre. Every August, the centre is the venue for the British Birdwatching Fair. Other birds listed as being found on the site include Lapwing, Coot, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Teal, Wigeon, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe and, most notably, Osprey.

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