The Cotswold Water Park extends across three counties, of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and a tiny bit of West Oxfordshire, with a great network of public footpaths, cycle routes and bridlepaths.
The County Rights of Way teams do a fabulous job at keeping all this in order, and the CWPT rangers play their part in maintaining public access on our land, nature reserves, car parks and country parks.
There are more than 100km of public rights of way in the whole of the Cotswold Water Park – and if you would like to explore more, then download a Leisure Map or pick up a free copy from the Gateway Information Centre near South Cerney, or have a look at the 1:25000 Landranger OS map, ref 169.
There is a huge range of routes in this area, offering views across lakes, along canal tow paths, disused railway tracks and through quaint Cotswold villages and towns. You can spend an hour just taking a short stroll around a lake, or head off for a 12 mile route, taking in a few country pubs and villages on the way.
More information about Walking in the CWP
In Spring and Summer: Expect to meet clouds of dragonflies and damselflies; watch great crested grebe as they act out their elegant courtship dance ; see hobbies displaying their aerobatics overhead, and huge flocks of lapwing ; later on encounter bats feeding across the water and in the hedgerows as the light begins to fade. You will also be sure to hear the nightingale song, if you know where to go! Take a look at the Bird blog for more information.
In Autumn and Winter: A quiet time of year for visitors, but not so for water birds - come and enjoy the winter spectacle of thousands of winter ducks as they arrive to winter here from the Arctic – Gadwall, Shoveler, Goldeneye, Tufted duck, Teal and the bright white Smew are amongst our favourites.
This flat landscape is great for cyclists of all ages and abilities, and with some great off road opportunities it makes an ideal place to bring the family for a day’s cycling. There are free car parks around the area (although some do have height restrictions) but why not start your journey at the Gateway Centre, pick up a map and set off from there on your ride.
If you don’t have bikes, then you can always hire them from Go By Cycle situated near the village of Somerford Keynes which offers bike hire for all ages, trailer bikes, along with servicing, support and sales.
Please note that in the winter some of the routes can be flooded – best to check the website before you set off.
There are some lovely circular routes for horseriders around the Water Park, although in winter months some of these can be severely flooded.
Waterhay Car Park on the outskirts of Ashton Keynes is a good starting point for the Thames Path bridlepaths which goes through to Cricklade and beyond. If you would like to access this car park with horsebox or trailer, you can get the code for the height barrier simply by becoming a member of the Trust (from just £15 a year).