Measuring less than 20 miles (32.4 km) across, Rutland has a resident population of around 37,000, and apart from Oakham and Uppingham most of its inhabitants live in tiny villages and hamlets like Exton.
The county’s name possibly derives from the 11th-century word ‘Roteland’, denoting the red colour of the soil in the east of the region; or it could have been part of the estate belonging to an early landowner called Rota. Whatever the origin of the name, one thing is certain, and that is that this tiny county has had a complicated history. The modern bit starts in 1974 when it was dissolved into Leicestershire. After more than 20 years of protest by unrepentant Rutlanders the county was happily reinstated in 1997.
The major tourist draw of Rutland was created in 1975, and is Rutland Water, a body of water which, at 5,000 acres, is the largest man-made reservoir in Europe. As well as a mass of wildlife and water pursuits such as windsurfing and sailing, Rutland Water also has its own church, which is now a museum, sitting on an outcrop that juts out into reservoir.