The Cotswold Water Park is an area of 40 square miles and 150 lakes evolving out the old gravel pits creating a beautiful lakeland area, providing the home for an wide array of wildlife and offers extensive leisure activities for all. The whole area encompasses 14 traditional Cotswolds villages and old market towns and has grown to become a major holiday destination in its own right with more than 500,000 visitors enjoying the area every year.
See below 10 many great reasons why you should visit the Cotswold Water Park set within the popular Cotswolds in Gloucestershire -
1. The Lakes
As the name suggests, within the Cotswold Water Park there’s an awful lot of water, including over 150 lakes and an excellent beach thrown in for good measure. If you’re more at home just watching the water with a chilled glass in hand, there is a great choice of lovely lakeside cottages and lodges with waterside balconies and patios offering stunning views of the lakes.
The Cotswold Water Park is an absolute haven for fishermen – and women. A significant number of the lakes are angling-friendly - all you need is a rod license, which can be obtained from the local post office.The peaceful lakes are filled with a diverse range of fish, with carp especially prominent - you can even fish onsite at some of our properties (for more information click here). Definitely worth a visit is Whelford Pools Fishery and Lake Pochard, offering very well stocked lakes. If trout is more your thing, the Lechlade and Bushyleaze Trout Fisheries offer excellent fly fishing and have a large tackle shop on-site.
There is a huge selection of water-sports, including wind-surfing, water-skiing and wake boarding. One of the hottest spots in the park is Spring Lake, home to Lakeside Ski and Wake, where the aforementioned activities are available as well as banana boating, ringos and stingrays (the inflatable kind). For more information click here. If you see yourself as more of a plain-sailor, there is boat hire and some excellent sailing available at various locations, such as South Cerney Outdoor and Waterland.
If you like to explore the countryside and get away from it all why not pick up a copy of the Cotswold Water Park Walks guide from the Gateway Centre, just underneath our offices. With six circular routes of varying lengths, there is something for everyone, including a 15km cycling trail. The routes are all available to download for free off their website.
5. Pet Friendly
If you’ve got a four-legged friend lots of our holiday cottages are pet friendly, so feel free to bring them along. The surrounding footpaths are perfect for dog walking, but as the Cotswold Water Park always has wildlife in mind, it might be best to keep them on the lead. Dogs will be sad to hear that they’re not allowed in the lakes, but buoyed by the fact that there is actually a designated dog swimming beach at the Cotswold Country Park and Beach.
Whilst visiting the Cotswold Water Park, take time out to discover some of the amazing local wildlife which has made its home here. Following careful restoration of the gravel pits over many years, the lakes and surrounding landscape provide a wonderful haven for fish, dragonflies, birds, bats and mammals such as otter and watervole. Some of the best places for watching wildlife can be found on the CWP Bird Blog, which is kept well up to date by volunteers and regular birdwatchers.
7. Pubs and Restaurants
There is an abundance of culinary options scattered throughout the park, including cafes, pubs and restaurants. The brasserie at Lakeside on Spring Lake has a huge menu that caters for everyone. They even do breakfasts, but just make sure you wait half an hour before getting in the water. There is also a great choice of traditional village pubs serving local ale and very good menus.
As much as some cyclists claim they love the thrill of dropping to first gear and climbing to the top of the hill, the majority of us prefer it flat, breezy and with great views. Cycling in the Cotswold Water Park ticks all of those boxes. If you’ve loaded the roof rack up and bought your own bikes, great, if not, the local Go-By-Cycle has a wide range of hire bikes including tandems. There are numerous well marked cycling trails and routes, both on road and off. If you feel like the challenge, sail right through the park all the way to Cirencester. Again the CWP Walks Guide is a useful reference.
9. Adventure Activities
For those looking for adventure the Cotswolds may seem like an unlikely destination, but across the park and the surrounding area there’s plenty of outdoor escapades to be had. Head 4 Heights is the Cotswold’s very own high rope adventure park, filled with aerial challenges ideal for a family day out, a birthday party or even office team building exercises. You could try your hand at clay pigeon or air rifle shooting or get a team together and try your hand at paintballing.
10. Surrounding Towns
If you feel the need to branch out into the Cotswolds and Gloucestershire, surrounding the Cotswold Water Park are a plethora of historic towns including the market towns of Fairford & Lechlade on Thames. Cirencester isn’t far, with its famous old market and boutique cafes, or the pretty and popular old riverside village of Bibury and the local village of Ashton Keyes is even closer.