Thursday, June 05, 2008

On Rudyard Lake

The lake at Rudyard was built as a reservoir in 1797 to supply water for the local canal system and it still supplies water for the canal which runs into Leek nearby the River Churnet. Later in the 19th century, the North Staffordshire Railway Company ran a track beside the lake which joined up to the line between Manchester and Uttoxeter. This opened up the lake to tourists and people used to flock in droves, on weekends and public holidays, from the industrial cities of Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent. Two of the visiting tourists were the parents of the poet and writer Rudyard Kipling, who named their son after the lake where they had met and fallen in love. Today the lake is used for leisure pursuits like, sailing, canoeing and fishing as well as cycling and walking along the pathways which run close by.

The best place to park is near the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway which runs at weekends and during school holidays and from here it is a short walk to the dam head which you can cross to gain access to the Visitor Centre, Activity Centre and cafe.

The path which goes up behind the activity centre leads to two footpaths; the Staffordshire Way and the Staffordshire Moorlands Way.

We followed both for a while and then cut off onto the Staffordshire Moorlands Way which took us behind some of the large, secluded houses which stand on the edge of the lake.

It was a glorious afternoon, with dappled sunlight underneath the trees and plenty of wildlife to watch and photograph. It was so quiet and still except for the birds flying between the trees and calling to each other; we saw plenty of blackbirds, a thrush, a tree-creeper and, of course, a squirrel or two. The air up on the pathways must be very clean as the walls alongside were covered in moss and lichens.

I love these old stone walls and I'm convinced that I can see a face in the one below. Or is it just my vivid imagination?

I found my first foxglove of the season, too, just coming into flower.

After a while we set off back along the way we had come and joined the walk to the picnic site which takes you as far as the boat house. Some days the lake is busy with people sailing or canoeing and also with the pleasure boat Honey taking people along the lake.

During our visit there were just a few people wandering around and a group of ramblers taking refreshments at the cafe. We paused at the cafe for ice-cream before setting off back towards the station to pick up our car and drive home.


  1. This is a really interesting post, I had no idea that the lake was the origin of Rudyard Kipling's name. My uncle used to go fishing there when he was a young man but I don't believe I've ever been. Looking at your photos I think it's about time I did.

  2. What a fabulous place to visit on lovely day.

  3. I love the old stone wall, mosses are beautiful aren't they?

  4. Hi, I just popped by to say thankyou for visiting my blog and leaving such a nice comment. You have a beautiful garden ~ I'm so jealous! I'll be stopping by again
    Deborah x