Funny how some of the most beautifully scenic rural landscapes aren’t actually natural at all. The Cotswold Water Park is like the Norfolk Broads: fabulously pretty, peaceful and habitable – yet it only exists because of gravel-extraction for road-building.
Gravel was dug from 147 sites in the region, and when these pits flooded, (it’s close to the source of the Thames) the lakes formed a vast watery district, forty wonderful square miles in all.
The region is criss-crossed with over ninety miles of footpaths, cycle-ways and bridleways but very few roads, so it’s ideal for fresh-air activities and safe ‘green’ modes of transport between nearby accommodation and the features of the park.
The local wildlife enjoys this unusual watery habitat just as much as the visitors. Various nature-reserves provide protection for rare species of bats, dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies, birds, mammals and fish.
Naturally, this much water sees plenty of activity afloat. There’s sailing and windsurfing, raft-building, waterskiing and kayaking, wake-boarding, even snorkelling. The water is clear, clean and generally shallow with sandy beaches ideal for family swimming, paddling and boat hire.
Ashore, adventure playgrounds, archery, angling, bird watching and picnic sites make the area a varied and welcoming one with space for ball-games and a wide choice of campsites, comfortable inns, luxurious lakeside chalets, plus top restaurants and hotels in historic nearby towns.
Plus the clincher: if you needed another reason on top of guaranteed happy kids exhausted by constant fun, rising high above the beauty of the Water Park is the thrilling Head4Heights.
If you’re wondering where to spend a weekend or a week of this summer holiday, click here for an easy answer.