Carsington Water Cycling and Watersports Guide

The Peak District’s premier watersports location is set amongst beautiful scenery and offers something for everyone, both on and off the water.

Carsington Water is a Watersports mecca and Cycling hub situated just a short distance beyond the southern border of the landlocked Peak District National Park.

The reservoir is one of the UKs biggest and offers a host of water based activities, as well as cycling, walking, fishing and bird watching. A visitor centre, cafe and play area provide great flexibility for the whole family.


Carsington Sports & Leisure run the onsite watersports centre at Carsington Water, the building is adjacent to the visitor centre.

Equipment hire includes a fleet of high quality craft – with paddleboards (SUPs), canadian canoessit on top kayaks and standard kayaks available to rent by the hour. Buoyancy aids and wetsuits are covered in the price.

Self launch day tickets and season passes are available for windsurfers, sailing dinghy’s or any of the above mentioned paddlesports. Note – 3rd party liability insurance is a prerequisite for launching your own craft.

A small sailing vessel on Carsington Water
A small sailing vessel on Carsington Water.

For sailing and windsurfing enthusiasts, Carsington Water offer a number of RYA accredited sailing and windsurfing courses.

Passionate paddlers can enrol on a British Canoeing certified Paddle Award. These craft specific courses cover the fundamentals of your chosen discipline, with the Start and Discover options offered (at the time of writing).

Private tuition is also offered for individuals or families/groups, with the session tailored specifically to your needs.


There is an 8 mile circular cycling route around Carsington water. The trail is hard packed (making it rideable year round) and undulating – with some fairly steep but short sections offering a challenge for all!

Bike and cycle path at Carsington Water
A section of the 8 mile circular cycle path at Carsington Water.

Along the route are some great views of the reservoir and surrounding landscape. As you ride the trail you’ll frequently enter the treeline – offering welcome shade on a sunny summer day. Picnic benches are also scattered around the reservoir should you plan a lunch stop enroute.

A popular short extension to the main loop is to head through the quaint village of Carsington. Follow the sustrans route 547 signs direct from the main trail at Sheepwash car park. The Miners Arms pub is located in the village. See the Carsington Water cycle map for full details.

Carsington Water Circular Cycle Route Sign
The circular cycling route is well signed!

The circuit route also links to the Tissington and High Peak trails allowing you to increase your mileage and explore the Derbyshire Dales at your leisure.

A shorter 3 mile route sticks close to the visitor centre and is popular with younger families.

Bike hire is available onsite at the watersports centre, with front suspension MTBs, e-bikes and various child friendly accessories available.


There are 3 leisurely walking routes including a 12k loop around the reservoir. See the Severn Trent water walking guide for full details.

Further Info

Getting ThereCarsington Visitor Centre, Big Lane, Upper Town, Ashbourne DE6 1ST

Parking – An ANPR car parking system is in place, pay on exit via the terminals using cash or card/contactless.

Visitor Centre – The visitor centre includes a cafe (with great panoramic views), restaurant and retail. A picnic area, BBQ area and play area make this a super friendly day out for the whole family!

Camping – Basic camping at Uppertown farm just a stones throw from Carsington Water and with a pub close by, or if you don’t own a chemical toilet?! try Carsington Fields.

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