Who looks after it?
The Cotswold Water Park is a very large area, with many different landowners and businesses, but it is not like a National Park where one body has responsibility for the whole area. However, the Cotswold Water Park Trust was set up in 1996 by the four local authorities to help deliver four main aims within the boundary of the CWP – Access, Conservation, Leisure and Education. A fully registered charity, with seven full time staff, along with several part time staff and long term volunteers, the Trust is based at offices near Latton, with easy access to both Eastern and western sections of the CWP.
The CWP Trust currently manages and maintains:
Two Country Parks (Neigh Bridge near Somerford Keynes and Riverside Park, Lechlade)
Five free car parks (Gateway, Clayhill, Bridge, Waterhay, Lakeside)
Five nature reserves (Cleveland Lakes, Old railway Track, Elmlea Meadow, Cokes Pit)
Many kilometres of footpaths and cyclepaths
The Biodiversity team works with a huge number of partners and volunteers across the whole area to protect, conserve and enhance wildlife habitats for native species such as bats, waterbirds, dragonflies, orchids, nightingales and much more. Much of this work is delivered in accordance to the CWP Biodiversity Action Plan 2007-16.
The range of activities available within one area is quite breathtaking – literally – from angling to archery, windsurfing to wakeboarding. There are a variety of leisure providers and clubs, offering tuition, membership or simply turn up and pay facilities. The Trust works with these organisations to promote the range of activities through publications, information boards and special events. The first point of call for visitors is often the Gateway Centre where information on all local activities can be found.
Through a series of events, education sessions and school visits, the Trust seeks to engage with locals and visitors about the incredible diversity of the area, from its fascinating geology, history, and development to its wonderful abundance of watery wildlife.