Local Knowledge: Rutland

Three brilliant rides around England's smallest county

Rutland is one of Britain’s hidden gems with quiet roads and a plethora of cake stops. The huge man-made reservoir of Rutland Water is the icing on the cake with cycling trails, nature reserves and sailing clubs. It’s a perfect place to let the family play while you ride. It may lack the challenging hills of the Yorkshire Dales or Peak District but Velo Club Rutland helped us find enough climbs and interesting roads to offer something to cyclists of all levels.

Route One: Belvoir Fever 66 miles. Long pulls and some climbs

Head north to the stunning scenery of the Vale of Belvoir (pronounced ‘beaver’) and Belvoir Castle. The south-eastern return can be tough on days when the wind blows in from the Fens, and this section is where the long pulls come in. Plenty of pubs and cafes en route. View the route

Route Two: Wymondham Whip-round 50 miles. Lumpy on scenic, quiet roads through pretty villages

You’re spoilt for choice of quiet roads in and around Rutland. This one starts in the market town of Oakham and skirts round the whole county, taking in quaint villages with a few decent hills to push the climbing legs – 2000ft of climbing in total, so a good test. Don’t forget to call in to Wymondham Mill for coffee and cake; it’s one of the best cycling cafes you’ll ever visit. View the route

Route Three: Rutland 16 miles. Easy and undulating with some off-road sections

The reservoir is man-made but it all looks completely natural. Parts of the ride go off-road on good tracks. It’s manageable on a road bike in all but the worst weather. Start from the visitor centre at Whitwell and take your pick – clockwise or anti-clockwise. It’s a great route either way. The halfway point is the village of Manton where the Horse and Jockey makes an ideal stopping point. View the route

5 Insider Tips

Have breakfast here… Lake View Fishery

A full English or the healthy option? You won’t be disappointed with the portions or the price. Where Landyke Lane, Holwell, Leics LE14 4SX www.lakeviewfishery.com

Stop for cake here… Wymondham Windmill

It’s not every day you go to a cafe in a windmill – and it serves great coffee, lunches and homemade cakes. Where Butt Lane, Wymondham LE14 2BU wymondhamwindmill.co.uk

Get spare tubes here… Rutland Cycling

Bling carbon bikes on display to drool at, plus bike hire and workshop on site.Where Whitwell Leisure Park, Whitwell, Rutland LE15 8BL Tel: 01780 460705 www.rutlandcycling.com

Fancy a pint? The Grainstore

A pub with its own brewery attached? Result! And it serves brilliant grub too. Where Grainstore Brewery, Station Approach, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6RE www.grainstorebrewery.com

Dump the family... Whitwell Leisure Park

Water, ducks, a playground, a climbing wall, bike hire and a nice cafe. What more could they want? Where Whitwell Leisure Park, Whitwell, Rutland LE15 8BL www.discover-rutland.co.uk

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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