What it's like
There must be a few reasons the residents of Rutland live longer than almost any other UK citizens. One is surely the simple pleasure of waking up in one of the greenest, prettiest, least developed, quiet and proudly independent quarters of the country.
It is the smallest county, but the motto says it all – Multum in parvo – much in little. The county is a relative minnow; yet it contains the largest man-made reservoir in Europe.
Rutland Water is a haven for walkers, as well as for cyclists, sailors, windsurfers, anglers and birdwatchers. Almost the entire route around the reservoir is off-road, with cheap and cheerful pubs to hand or you could trade up for the finer dining of The Finches Arms in Hambleton.
To the north of Rutland Water is Barnsdale, the much loved legacy of gardener Geoff Hamilton. There are walks and footpaths each and every way you turn, linking bonny village after bonny village – each almost impossibly prettier than their neighbour.
Go to Lyddington, with its late medieval Bede House. Or Braunston, to find a pagan carving. Try Stoke Dry, home of the hung, drawn and quartered Gunpowder plotter Everard Digby. Look in at Whissendine, and take home a bag of stoneground flour from the restored windmill.
And check out the market towns of Oakham and Uppingham for their historic public school buildings and charmingly independent shops.
There is good walking all across Rutland - along disused railways, abandoned canals, up and down gentle hills. It is a wonderful place which isn’t simply close to nature; Rutland nestles deep in Mother Nature’s embrace.
- Around Rutland Water. Walk the 17 miles around the reservoir (or 23 miles if you take in the peninsula), with plenty of pubs and cafes along the way.
- Above the Welland Valley. Take in the south of Rutland and divine views over Rutland’s other reservoir, Eyebrook.
- Six of the best. Tackle one of six Rutland Heritage Trails, each a circular walk with a historical bent.
Must see and do
- Eat Michelen starred food in a pub. Amazing food in a charmingly relaxed country pub, The Olive Branch at Clipsham – the Michelin Pub of the Year 2008
- Have a pint of whatever they’re having. The locals age well; life expectancy is one of the highest in the UK.
- Wing it. Find the ancient turf maze on the roadside in the honey-stone village of Wing.
Destination County : Rutland