A Visit to Carsington Water

One of my latest outings for Collections in the Landscape has been to Carsington Water, an area with which we have strong links via our collections. The site is managed by Severn Trent and I was kindly welcomed by Ranger, John Matkin, who gave me a tour of the landscape.

Carsington Visitor Centre was my starting point, as it is for many visitors. From here, you can take a number of walks or bike rides, including the 8 mile route around the reservoir. Photograph by Stephen Jones.

The area to the north of Carsington was an important lead mining centre in Roman times, and it has been suggested that the valley is the site of Lutadarum, the centre of the Roman lead industry in Britain. Two Roman sites were discovered prior to the construction of the reservoir and three excavations recorded and saved artefacts before the flooding of the landscape. The results of these excavations are stored here at the museum.

Objects on display at the museum include pottery, glass and metal work. More materials are preserved in the museum stores and range from ordinary building remains such as tiles and nails to more unusual finds such as a lead phallus, thought to have been displayed as an amulet in the home or on a horse harness.

Some of the Carsington materials currently on diplay at Buxton Museum & Art Gallery.

Some of the Carsington materials currently on display at Buxton Museum & Art Gallery.

During my short tour of Carsington John led me to Stone Island, one of the most popular short walks for visitors of all abilities. The walk gives excellent views of the Carsington Hills (the source of all that lovely Roman lead) and is also the site of a Bronze Age barrow. A digital ‘stop’ at this location would be able to tie-in multiple elements of Carsington’s history.

Next, we drove north to the Sheep wash Car Park. This spot overlooks the area of the valley that saw the principle Roman excavations. Of course, this spot is now firmly underwater but it’s great to stand overlooking the water and picture how it might have looked over 1,500 years ago.

Carsington Water is well served by paths and bridleways and would be perfect for a joined-up trail to be explored on foot or bicycle. The reservoir is also a popular centre for water sports. However, whilst a canoe based trail sounds like great fun, it’s probably the perfect way to lose a smartphone in to the inky depths!