Rutland

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Rutland is a county of mainland England, bounded on the west and north by Leicestershire, northeast by Lincolnshire, and southeast by Peterborough (a unitary authority in Cambridgeshire) and Northamptonshire.

Its greatest length north to south is only 18 miles (29.0 km), greatest breadth east to west, 17 miles (27.4 km). It is the smallest (in terms of population) normal unitary authority in mainland England (only the City of London is smaller), and is 348th of the 354 districts in terms of population. It is traditionally called the smallest English county, although the Isle of Wight, Bristol and the former County of London are all counties and are all smaller in area.

The only towns in Rutland are Oakham, the county town, and Uppingham. At the centre of the county is the large reservoir Rutland Water, with a similar surface area to Windermere. It is an important nature reserve serving as an overwintering site for wildfowl and a breeding site for ospreys. The town of Stamford is just over the border in a protruding part of Lincolnshire.

Rutland's older cottages are built from limestone or ironstone and many have roofs of Collyweston slate or thatch. The county used to supply iron ore to Corby steel works but these quarries closed in the 1960s. Agriculture thrives with much wheat farming on the rich soil. Tourism continues to grow.

The particular geology of the area has given its name to the Rutland Formation which was formed from muds and sand carried down by rivers and occurring as bands of different colours, each with many fossil shells at the bottom. At the bottom of the Rutland Formation is a bed of dirty white sandy silt. Under the Rutland Formation is a formation called the Lincolnshire Limestone. The best exposure of this limestone (and also the Rutland Formation) is at the Castle Cement quarry just outside Ketton.

Rutland is dominated by Rutland Water, a large artificial lake formerly known "Empingham Reservoir", in the middle of the county, which is almost bisected by a large spit of land. The west part is in the Vale of Catmose. Rutland Water, when construction started in 1971, became Europe's largest man-made lake; construction was completed in 1975, and filling the lake took a further four years. This has now been voted Rutland's favourite tourist attraction.

The highest point of the county is at Flitteris (a farm east of Cold Overton Park) at 197 m (646 ft) above sea level. Grid Reference: SK8271708539 The lowest point is a section of secluded farmland near Belmesthorpe, 17 m (56 feet) above sea level.

Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/

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