For its first fifty or so years the reservoir must have been a tranquil place with perhaps just a few local landowners and a small number of people walking to the lake from local villages and towns.
With the arrival of the North Staffs Railway in 1849 the future of Rudyard reservoir was changed since the railway saw the great potential for tourism and their ambition was to make Rudyard a tourist destination eventually attracting many thousands of tourists each year.
Apart from many land based attractions including tea rooms, dance floors, public houses and hotels etc., of course it was only natural that people wanted to get out on the water.
Three privately managed rowing boat hire businesses were established with some eighty boats available at the height of the Lake’s popularity in the 1920’s. Trip boats were also used to carry passengers on scenic tours of the Lake.
Whilst private individuals would arrive with canoes, rowing boats and sailing boats it was not until 1956 when an organised Sailing Club was formed which went on to become the Rudyard Lake Sailing Club, which we know today. The new clubhouse boasts excellent inclusive facilities for sailors with disabilities and was officially opened in 2003 by HRH Princess Anne.
The North Staffs Rowing Club arrived at Rudyard in 1988 having originally been based at Trentham. Initially they used a large wooden shed based on what today is the car park and had a very small number of boats for their limited membership. Following subsequent achievements in the Olympics the sport of rowing at Rudyard has substantially increased in popularity since the mid 1990’s and today the club, which stores its boats under the Activity Centre has some forty senior & seventy junior members.
The Outrigger Canoe club was established at the lake in 2000; it’s aim to encouraging inclusive paddlers.
The Potteries Paddlers, a canoe club founded in 1984, have been using the lake for many years along with Peak Paddlers and several outdoor pursuit companies.
Apart from the public hiring rowing boats and enjoying mini cruises on the trip boat ‘Honey’, several organisations such as the scouts, girl guides, schools, specific groups with disabilities etc. regularly hire the ‘Bell Boats’ from Rudyard Lake Ltd each of which are capable of carrying up to twelve persons.
Rudyard Sailability became established in 2003 initially borrowing a temporary pre fabricated building and are now tenants of Rudyard Lake Ltd; occupying a purpose built building in the bay area close to the Dam Head.
The Sea Scouts purchased land in 1959 and now have excellent well-used facilities on the north eastern shore.
Angling has long been an established sport on the lake and during the 1950’s and 60’s was the match-angling mecca for the North West. Today hundreds of anglers still use the lake each year many fishing for the specimen Pike, Perch & Carp for which the lake has become famous over the years.
Thousands of people come to Rudyard Lake each year to enjoy using the lake’s surroundings, to walk, to bird watch & generally enjoy the ambience of this wonderful place.