Coate Water Country Park has a 56-acre reservoir built in the 1820s as a headwater tank for the Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal. In the 1970s a smaller lake was created as a flood storage lagoon, which was made Wiltshire’s first Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in 1976. Most of the site and all the water have been declared a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) in order to protect the wildlife and wildflower meadows.
Coate Water Ranger Centre and Information Point is found in the Coate Water car park (please see map below - How to find Coate Water ). It was originally built in the 1820’s and was used as accommodation for the water bailiff.
To contact the Ranger Centre and Information Point please call 01793 490150
This facility has to be booked in advance. To make a booking please call 01793 522837. The cost of using the pitch is £39.10
If you bring your own barbeque, the fee is £10.80
The free interactive splash park for children, with water-spitting dragons and flowers is open every day from May-September. The site has been designed for children up to the age of 12 but there is no formal age restriction. Visitors are asked not to take in any glass into the area.
The Nature Reserve
Here is a quiet haven for wildlife. Deer and foxes can regularly be seen in the wildflower meadows. A large heronry has become established which can be viewed from the bird hides. Permits are available in advance from the Activity Centre.
There are several walks in and around the park, many of which are level and surfaced - making them suitable for wheelchair users. The most popular route is around the lake. This is 1.75 miles (2.8km) long and takes about 45 minutes at a gentle pace. For longer walks out of the park there are routes to Hodson, Chiseldon and Barbury Castle.
In the wetter areas of the woodland you will find willow and ash with oak and birch on drier ground. These large mature trees provide an attractive backdrop to the lake and a home to many woodland birds.
This is a valuable nesting site for waterfowl, reed bunting and warblers in the spring and summer. The lakes also provide an important habitat for dragonflies and damselflies, along with a wide range of fish such as carp, bream and pike.
How to Find Coate Water Country Park
Coate Water Country Park is situated on the south-east side of Swindon.
Map of Coate Water Country Park
If you would like to become involved in helping to preserve this site and other habitats within Swindon please ask for details.