Rutland is England’s smallest county (it’s a myth about whether the tide is in or out – this is always the smallest!) Located smack in the centre next to Leicestershire (it used to be part of this county, it’s now independent). With no motorways or fast food restaurants, this tiny county is a nice oasis away from conventional life, and is known for Rutland Water, a manmade reservoir that is almost solely responsible for saving ospreys (fish-eating birds of prey) from extinction, thanks to a successful conservation effort.
The county has two main towns of Oakham and Uppingham, which have nice indie shops and art galleries, along with pretty villages, country pubs and marvellous countryside. As well as wonderful walking and cycling routes, it’s also known as ‘the county of good taste’, thanks to its array of local indie food producers.
Rutland Water is the largest manmade lake in England, set in 3000 acres of countryside and features Normanton Church (saved from being demolished which now sits on its own peninsula). The Rutland Water Nature Reserve is home ospreys and 25,000 waterfowl.
One of England’s few remaining working windmills from the 19th century can be found in the village of Whissendine (built in 1809). Fully restored, this mill grind grains into artisan flour that is used for local bakeries (it also makes bran for local pigs, chickens and horses).
Rutland is England’s smallest county (if the tide is in on Isle of Wight). Formerly part of Leicestershire, there are no supermarkets, no fast food restaurants and the Internet is pretty dodgy too. But if you like to be far from the madding crowd, this is a lovely county that sits on Rutland Water (home to visiting ospreys) which you can walk or cycle around, if you’re feeling energetic.
The main wildlife here are visiting ospreys. A manmade effort to bring them back to Osprey Water now attracts thousands of visitors a year to see these beautiful birds, saved from near extinction. Find more ways to help your local wildlife rescue and animal shelter.
Rutland Water (Robert Petcher) did not exist 50 years ago, but the largest manmade lake in England is now a worldwide success story in saving ospreys from exinction, and also a beautiful nature reserve for other birds, as well as a nice place to walk. Located near Oakham, it covers over 300 acres and was completed in 1978.
Ospreys are large birds of prey that often are mistaken for buzzards or large gulls. Very vocal, they have white heads with brown eyestripes, and the females usually have a brown patch on their chests (adults have yellow eyes, juvenile birds have orange eyes). They have feet more like owls than hawks, and live on fish rather than mammals. They also have ‘built-in-water-goggles’ to see underwater. They also have little spines under their large feet, to securely hold fish when flying back to their nests.