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Great Things To Do When on Holiday in The Cotswold Water Park Area

 

This beautiful lakeland area straddling Gloucestershire, Wiltshire & West Oxfordshire is in the Southern reaches of the popular Cotswolds in South Central England.

 

The market town of Cirencester is close by and this region is easily accessible from many parts of the UK by motorway and only 90 miles from London, 66 from Birmingham and 41 from Bristol. The Cotswold Water region, covering 40 square miles, encompassing over 150 different lakes, the infant Thames and a number of pretty Cotswold villages there is so much to explore, see and do for all ages.

 

There is a very good choice of places to stay throughout the region from lakeside lodges set on private fishing lakes to mature cottage developments with on-site facilities and activities including swimming pools, tennis courts, play areas and one location has free access to a top quality spa with restaurant nearby.

 

Whether you love nature reserves, the wildlife and wildfowl, country parks & picnics, getting outdoors walking and biking along well marked trails, getting out on the water or just relaxing in beautiful countryside by the water then the Cotswold Water Park region ticks all those boxes plus many more.

There are many things to do in and about the Cotswold Water Park, these include:

  • Watersports - Sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, SUP paddle-boarding, kayaks, etc.
  • Water-skiing, Wakeboarding, Ringos & fun rides
  • Fishing - large choice of specialist fishing lakes & facilities
  • Cycling - many well marked cycle paths & trails & routes
  • Walking - great network of footpaths & nature trails
  • Thames Path, Head of the Thames
  • Boat trips, boat hire & Thames cruises at Lechlade
  • Wildlife, nature reserves and sites of special scientific interest (SSSI)
  • Birdwatching - wonderful wetland habitats & well marked nature viewing hides
  • Great choice of village & country pubs, local cafes & restaurants
  • Cotswold Country Park & Beach - Swimming, water adventure, boat hire, pedalos and more -
  • Many local activities including clay pigeon shooting, rifle range, archery & golf
  • Market towns, pretty Cotswold villages, country pubs and inns
  • Easy access to the beautiful Cotswold countryside & region

Related Blog - 10 Great Reasons to visit the Cotswold Water Park region

Cotswold Water Park watersports


We have created a small directory of things to do locally and activities and enjoy when visiting this region.

We have created a small directory of things to do locally and activities and enjoy when visiting this region.

 

Watersports

With water everywhere in the region many lakes offer the opportunity to get out, enjoy the peaceful surroundings and explore by canoe, kayak, paddleboards. Have fun being towed along by a speedboat or go sailing and windsurfing.

Waterskiing, Wake Boarding, Ringo Rides

 

Lakeside Ski & Wake - www.lakeside-ski.co.uk

Try water skiing or ringo riding on Spring Lake where, you will also find a family friendly sports bar and restaurant called the Lakeside Brasserie

 

4 Lakes Waterski School - www.4lakes.co.uk

4 Lakes Waterski School is an outdoor adventure paradise for families.

 

Fun on and Around the Water - Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddle-boarding, Sailing

Waterland - www.ukwatersports.co.uk

Waterland Outdoor Pursuits provides activities to companies, schools & Youth Organisations.
You can participate in Windsurfing, Archery, Raft building, Low Ropes, Sailing, Kayaking, Orienteering, Problem Solving and Canoeing.

 

South Cerney Outdoor - www.southcerneyoutdoor.co.uk

South Cerney Outdoor Centre offers great facilities and activities for all to enjoy including Canoeing, Paddleboading, Windsurfing, Kayaking, Saling and teambuilding and activities. New! Pay & Play options (with one off safety induction) available

 

Cotswold Water Park Hire - www.cwphire.com

Close to the De Vere Cotswolds Hotel and Gateway Centre Rowing Boats, Stand-Up Paddle boards, Kayaks and Canoes are available for hire.

 

Cotswold Country Park and Beach - www.cotswoldcountryparkandbeach.com

A sandy beach beside a beautiful clear water swimming lagoon, activities from water sports to volleyball within mature parkland. The new WIBIT AquaVenture has over 20 action packed water based obstacles and proving to be very popular. Try kayaking or stand up paddle boarding (SUP), tuition available for beginners. Hire out a pedalo, rowing boat or mini electric boat. Families with toddlers will love the enclosed outdoor play area and paddling pool with grass picnic area overlooking South Lake.

Boat Hire & Trips

You can hire motorised day boats from the Trout Inn pub on the River Thames from the market town of Lechlade-on-Thames or enjoy a river trip and cruise.

Fishing

This an excellent area for fishing for all abilities. There are many rivers and lakes in the region that offer excellent coarse, carp, river and fly fishing.

Lake Pochard Fishing Lakes - www.lakepochard.co.uk

Stunning views across Walters Lake, a purposed built 3-acre match coarse and carp fishing lake for day fishing. Waterside Café, a large and airy café offering home cooked-to-order food.

 

Lechlade & Bushyleaze Trout Fisheries - www.lechladetrout.co.uk

Lechlade and Bushyleaze Trout Fisheries - excellent day ticket fly fishing in beautiful Cotswold countryside. Tuition available. Large fishing tackle shop on site. Corporate hospitality available.

 

South Cerney Angling Club - www.scac.org.uk

With our main waters set in the heart of the Cotswold Water Park, we have waters to suit the match, pleasure and specimen angler.

 

Tackle Den - www.tackleden.co.uk

Now bigger and better! Carp and coarse fishing specialist selling numerous brands of angling equipment and bait

 

Cycling

There is an excellent network of well marked cycle tracks and trails dotted throughout the region and many lovely country lanes and villages to explore by bike. You can bring your own bikes of hire good quality bikes locally.

Go-By-Cycle - www.go-by-cycle.co.uk - Mountain bikes and road bikes to suit the whole family are available to hire on an hourly basis including tag along, child seats and trailers. Free cycle helmets, puncture repair kits and onsite car parking. So get on your bike and get exploring.

Swimming

Some of the cottage developments have indoor and outdoor pools for families and Hoburne Holiday Park and De Vere Hotel can offer day tickets to use their indoor pools upon request. The 'Beach' is popular with families and increasingly people are enjoying getting out in the fresh 'open' water and there are several very good options available.

Public Bathing & Paddling - There is a large inland paddling and bathing beach at Cotswold Country Park & Beach (seasonal opening times apply) along with a fenced off playground and smaller paddling area for very young children.

Open Water Swimming - ' Open Water' swimming is by prior arrangement, and with certain restrictions etc. can be enjoyed at the following locations: Waterland (Lake 32), Cotswold Water Park Hire (Lake 86), Cotswold Country Park and Beach (North Lake 31)


Walking
There is plenty of choice of routes for walkers, ramblers and hikers in the area, along with great wildlife, lakes, rivers and peaceful villages. There are many well marked trails, public bridleways and paths throughout the region providing some excellent short and more lengthy adventures.

Cotswold Canals Towpath - The Thames and Severn Canal, along with the Stroudwater Navigation, was built to join the Rivers Thames and Severn in 1789. The disused canal runs alongside the Gateway Centre. You can explore the towpath heading North for 3 miles from the Gateway Centre to Siddington, or for 2 miles South from the Gateway Centre to Latton.

Thames Path - Approximately 23 miles of the iconic River Thames flows through the Cotswold Water Park, with opportunities for walking alongside the river including to and from the Head of the Thames starting near Kemble. The Thames Path follows the River Thames as it meanders from its source in the Cotswolds along 184 miles (294 km) of well managed and marked paths through some of Britain's finest countryside, finishing at the Thames Barrier in London - www.nationaltrail.co.uk/thamespath

Birdwatching in the Cotswold Water Park

The Cotswold Water Park is an excellent birding destination throughout the year; ranging from 20,000 wintering waterbirds, to 21,000 wintering gulls, to vast numbers of breeding warblers along with Nightingales, Little Ringed Plover and Common Tern.

There are several bird hides from which to see a great variety of birds, but often it is from the public footpaths around the lakes where birdwatchers can get their best sightings.

Sports Activities

Aerial & Climbing Adventures - Head 4 Heights Ltd - www.head4heights.net

If you are aged 5 years or more you can test your head for heights at the aerial adventure centre where you can climb, jump and swing your way around seven activities.

 

Rallying - Gloucestershire Rally School - www.glosrallyschool.co.uk

If you are aged 10 years or more can go rally driving on a purpose built gravel track

in rally-prepped cars for the ultimate adrenalin rush.

 

Archery
The Cotswold Range - www.thecotswoldrange.co.uk

Exclusive Archery lessons within a purpose built, sheltered, low capacity venue to give you the best tuition from our Archery GB Qualified instructors. Trip Advisor 2017 Centre of Excellence.

 

Old Downs Pursuits Archery Range - http://www.old-downs-pursuits.co.uk

Test your aim on our lovely wooded Archery Range. Sessions are fun and relaxed, no prior experience required as our Archery GB coaches will guide you through the whole experience. We can cater for all age ranges and group sizes.

 

Golf - South Cerney Golf Course - http://www.southcerneygolfcourse.co.uk

South Cerney is a parkland golf course situated in the heart of the Cotswold's, offers a tough test for all range of golfer. Indoor & outdoor Driving Range

 

Horse Riding - Rein and Shine - www.reinandshine.co.uk

Superb equestrian facilities, wide range of ponies and horses, with highly qualified riding instructors. For inexperienced and experienced riders, all ages from 4 upwards. Private and group lessons.

 

Firing / Gun Range - The Cotswold Range - www.thecotswoldrange.co.uk

Exclusive Air Rifle lessons within a purpose built, sheltered, low capacity venue to give you the best tuition from our NSRA Qualified instructors. Trip Advisor 2017 Centre of Excellence.

 

Adventure, Survival Techniques & Bushcraft - Cotswold Forest School - www.cotswoldforestschool.co.uk

Get back to basics and learn to embrace the outdoors through various hand on survival techniques, such as bushcraft, fire lighting, shelter building and more! The programme is educational, inspirational and designed to increase nature awareness for all ages

 

Nature Reserves, Wildlife Hides

The Cotswold Water Park Trust operates and manages several sites as nature & wildlife reserves, and where the public can access and enjoy. Birds, bats, butterflies and Black Poplars are just some of the flora and fauna that benefit from these protected spaces.

Shorncote Reedbeds (Lakes 84 and 85) - a 20 hectare reedbed has been established as part of the Cotswold Water Park Biodiversity Action Plan, these habitats are now quite rare in the UK countryside. These reedbeds provide excellent homes and shelter for a huge variety of wildlife, including Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Little Grebe, Snipe, Otter, Water Vole, dragonflies and even the rare Bittern. Hides available to view wildlife.

Waterhay Reedbeds - This old silt lagoon has been colonised by reeds and wet woodland, and provides excellent habitat for breeding and wintering birds such as Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Water Rail, Snipe, Teal and Woodcock; as well as "murmurations" of many thousands of Starlings creating their elaborate aerial displays before roosting in the reeds. Waterhay is also home to many reptiles and mammals including Harvest Mouse and Slow Worm.

Old Railway Line - The disused Midland and South Western Junction Railway now forms a vital corridor of wildlife habitat between South Cerney and Cricklade. Bats, birds and badgers all utilise its lightly wooded embankments for foraging and shelter. The summer nights can see the Old Railway Line illuminated by our declining native Glow Worm, whose larvae feed on the snails that are abundant on the railway ballast.

Elmlea Meadow - A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and co-managed with Natural England, Elmlea Meadow is designated for its nationally scarce Snake's Head Fritillary and Downy-fruited Sedge. The wetland meadow is also rich with species such as Saw-wort, Early Marsh-orchid and Adder's-tongue. The small wetland section of willow scrub is also the only known site in Gloucestershire for Tufted Sedge.

Cokes Pit LNR (Lake 34) - Cokes Pit Local Nature Reserve (designated in 2003) is home to a large number of breeding birds including Reed Bunting, Tufted Duck, Black-headed Gull & Great Crested Grebe. In addition Water Vole, Water Shrew and Nightingale inhabit the site, with vast numbers of dragonflies and a rare aquatic plant, the Lesser Bearded Stonewort. Springtime sees numerous orchids and other wildflowers blooming in the grass clearings, and several species of bat including Daubenton's can be seen feeding over the lake at dusk.

Cleveland Lakes (Lakes 68 and 74) - Cleveland Lakes contains the largest area of reedbed, marsh swamp and willow carr in the Cotswold Water Park, making it an excellent place to view wildlife. The high water quality provides rich nutrients for plants, making it a favourite feeding place for a wide variety of birds and dragonflies. The more elusive Water Vole and Otter also inhabit the streams, reedbeds and ditches at the eastern end of the reserve.

Winter and spring: Goldeneye, Lapwing, gulls, and resident waterbirds such as Gadwall, Pochard, Wigeon, Teal and Tufted Duck can be viewed from the hide at Lake 74. Summer and autumn: dragonflies and damselflies, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff, Hobby, Sand Martin and Swift. At the heronry, viewed from the Reed Hide at Lake 68, fledgling Grey Heron and Little Egret can be seen leaving the nest and loafing around the site.

Visit Local Villages / Towns

Cirencester - Cirencester is a market town in east Gloucestershire, England, 93 miles west northwest of London. Cirencester lies on the River Churn, a tributary of the River Thames, and is the largest town in the Cotswold District. The town has a good shopping centre and market square where it hosts the popular farmers' market. Crafts and antiques markets are also regular attractions.

Ashton Keynes - The first settlement on the infant River Thames, Ashton Keynes reputedly has more bridges over the Thames than London. Offering a wonderful, picturesque Church Walk, and the river banks on the High Road are bedecked with hundreds of daffodils in the Spring. A Norman church and excellent pub, Ashton Keynes is certainly a lovely place to explore.

Cricklade - The first Town on the Thames, Cricklade is the southern gateway to the Cotswold Water Park with lots to offer visitors.  Historical and pretty and somewhere everyone can be assured of a warm welcome. Steeped in tradition with one of the country's last remaining Manorial Court Leets, it boasts 112 listed buildings and all mainly on its attractive High Street. Cricklade is also designated as area of Special Archaeological Significance and described as the best preserved example of a Saxon new town.

Fairford - Fairford is a small market town in Gloucestershire situated on the River Coln between Cirencester and Lechlade. It is famed for St Mary's Church and the most complete set of medieval stained glass windows in the world. Fairford Mill and Oxpens, the River Coln walks, the Market Place and High Street, lined with beautiful Grade 2 listed buildings.

Lechlade - Lechlade is a small market town on the River Thames in Gloucestershire at the southern edge of the Cotswolds where the river Leach joins the Thames nearby. The church of St. Lawrence, which dates back to 1476, is a local landmark, and its spire is visible from many miles away. There are two bridges across the Thames at Lechlade, Halfpenny Bridge and St. John's Bridge. The river Thames has always been at the heart of the town. Lechlade was on the salt way, when salt used to be brought by road from Droitwich and shipped down the Thames from Lechlade. Later, cheese, wool and coal were shipped down to London. The river brings visitors to the town in narrow boats and cruisers. There are boats and fishing tackle for hire and there are river cruises during the summer.

Somerford Keynes - Lying very close to the river Thames, and the long distance Thames Path, the peaceful village of Somerford Keynes can trace its history back to a charter of 685 AD, but archaeological investigation in advance of gravel extraction has shown evidence of Iron Age and Roman occupation. The manor house dates back to the 15th century, sited next to the All Saints Anglo Saxon Church which has the possible remains of an 8th century church revealed in a doorway.

South Cerney - South Cerney is a village and civil parish in the Cotswold district of Gloucestershire, 3 miles south of Cirencester and close to the border with Wiltshire. Founded in 999 by Saxon settlers, with a charter by King Aethelred II, it now has a population of more than 3000.The River Churn flows through the heart of the village, surrounded by small but thriving shops and pubs.