Smew (C) Dave Kilbey

By Emma Kirkup

Straddling the border of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire lies the Cotswold Water Park. This unique area was formed by gravel excavation which has resulted in over 150 lakes.

The lakes are used for a variety of activities from high-adrenalin water sports through to fishing and sailing. There are also several places to stay in and around the area too.

I was particularly interested in hearing about the different wildlife that can be found at the Park, especially as I’d seen some of it recently on BBC Countryfile! You can see where the programme was filmed on the spit of land between lakes 74 and 68a/b.

The Park is a very popular spot with bird watchers and at the moment several species are returning from the Arctic including the rare Smew as well as other classic water birds such as Herons and Teal. To find out more about the comings and goings of the birds at the Park check out the site’s bird blog.

The nearby town of Cricklade is famed for its rare Snakeshead Fritillaries which form displays on the meadows usually during late April. Thanks to its close proximity to Cricklade; the Cotswold Water Park also sees displays of Fritillaries, including the rare White Fritillary and other wild flowers. This has resulted in some of the Park being designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. 

The Thames Path National Trail walking route also passes through the Park so keen walkers can often be spotted taking to the footpaths. If you don’t fancy a walk quite as long as that then there are shorter routes that can be enjoyed – a walking guide can be purchased from the Gateway Centre for £1.

Look out for events taking place throughout the year including nature walks on the meadows, evening Nightingale walks and even a Dawn Chorus walk.

To find out more about the Cotswold Water Park click here.

Photos: (C) Dave Kilbey

Teal (C) Dave Kilbey


Cotswold Water Park
Country Park/Nature Reserve
Cotswold Water Park

Set in 40 square miles of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire countryside, this unique area known as the Cotswold Water Park has something for everyone – from watersports, birdwatching, excellent angling, off road cycling, inland beach and walks.

Cricklade Town Centre (C) Chris Lock

Looking to visit the amazing town of Cricklade?...If so, click here to get the latest Cricklade tourist information direct from the official Wiltshire tourism site!



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