Nestled in the heart of the scenic Cotswolds of England, the Cotswold Water Park has plenty to offer on a U.K. vacation. What was previously an industrial area for the extraction of gravel has been transformed into a water and wildlife wonderland, perfect for humans, birds, and wildlife alike.
The Cotswold Water Park is the largest marl lake system in the U.K. Reasonably new, the almost 150 lakes in the water park were created over the last 50 years by the extraction of glacial Jurassic limestone gravel in the area. Once work ceased in the early 1970s, the pits created by the extraction of the gravel filled with water, forming the many and varied-sized lakes.
While the name “water park” might conjure images of a fun theme park with water slides and other adventures, the Cotswold Water Park is, in fact, an area which has become of critical importance to the local wildlife and for wintering and breeding birds.
The area now falls under the protection of the Cotswold Water Park Trust, which works with local communities and organizations in the area to protect the 40 square miles of land and the many feathery and wildlife inhabitants of the park, including otters, water voles, red-eared sliders (a species of turtle), and many bird species.
According to the official website, while the area is involved in conservation, there is plenty to do in the Cotswold Water Park. The lakes offer plenty in the way of watersports for an enjoyable U.K. vacation, including fishing, jet skiing, cable skiing, sailing, or rowing. For those looking for an alternative adventure, Head 4 Heights offers a high ropes activity center in the park, where anyone can have a go at being Tarzan or Jane of the Jungle.
— Eleanor Cooper (@Ellie_R_Cooper) September 26, 2015
Horse riding is another popular activity in the beautiful Cotswolds countryside, with a wide range of horses and ponies available for all levels of rider, from inexperienced to experienced. With so much gravel still lying around the area, the Cotswold Water Park is also perfect for a bit of fun rally driving.
For kids of all ages, the Cotswold Country Park and Beach is loads of fun, offering adventure playgrounds, pedalos, rowboat and kayak hire, swimming, crazy golf, and stand up paddle boarding, among other activities.
— Cotswold Water Park (@CotswoldWaterPk) October 7, 2015
With such beautiful surrounding scenery, walking and hiking in the area is sheer pleasure. Those with a love of photography will be spoiled for choice, capturing the surrounding scenery, birds, insects, and wildlife.
Farm visits are great for the whole family where the kids can get to know the local goats, sheep and pigs. As can be seen from the photo below, there are none of those awful gestation cages here.
While basically a man-made area, the water park now has several nature parks and reserves which are considered to be important refuges and breeding grounds for the various bats, birds, butterflies, damselflies, dragonflies, fish, and various mammals.
The area is also a haven for birdwatchers, with many breeding and wintering birds on offer, such as coot, gadwall, great crested grebe, grey heron, little egret, and tufted duck. The shallower lagoons attract other, less common species of wader, including the great white egret, glossy ibis, and pectoral sandpiper.
As for accommodation, the various villages and towns in the Cotswold Water Park area offer plenty in the way of hotels and bed & breakfasts. Better yet, according to a blog by Log House Holidays, there are luxurious and eco-friendly log cabins available, some right on the water and often with relaxing hot tubs, perfect to catch your breath after a day of exploring the area.
The Inquisitr reported on another scenic area of England recently, featuring the stunningly beautiful Lake District. With so much gorgeous scenery, activities, and fun to be had, along with the best in luxurious lodging, both the Cotswold Water Park and the Lake District are the perfect choice for a relaxing and enjoyable vacation in the U.K.
For more views of the area, take an aerial tour of the Cotswold Water Park in the video included below.