A guide to the Cotswold Water Park and Lakes


Lower Mill Estate sits within 550 acres of the Cotswold Water Park, a unique ecosystem made up of verdant countryside, picturesque villages, nature reserves, woodlands, water meadows, lagoons, lakes and even a beach. One of the most beautiful rural areas in the country, the park is the beating heart of Cirencester and one of the biggest draws for Cotswolds holidays. You are free to roam Cotswold Water Park as you please, venturing out of Lower Mill Estate and into a playground of attractions, the whole family will love. The park is dog-friendly too, so the family pup can join in on your adventures in Mother Nature’s wonderland.

What activities can be done at the Cotswold Water Park?

The are so many activities on offer at the Cotswold Water Park that you couldn’t possibly tick them all off in one Cotswolds holiday. From archery to horse riding, shooting, watersports and even rally driving and wilderness workshops; there is something for all ages and abilities to get stuck into here. The summer months call for time spent on the water, whether that means mastering stand up paddleboarding on Lake 86, wakeboarding with the 4 Lakes Waterski School or setting sail with South Cerney Outdoor.

someone paddleboarding on a lake at sunset

Daring visitors can brave the park’s AquaVenture, a giant inflatable assault course that’ll bring back childhood memories of Total Wipeout for mum and dad. The course is the largest of its type in the area and obstacles such as the Incredible Mammoth Tower are a hit with fearless kids.

For creative souls seeking a culture fix, the Cotswolds Sculpture Park brings works of art by a range of renowned sculptors into the great outdoors. The countryside backdrop to the sculptures is a masterpiece in itself.

Alongside its natural wonders and boundless activities, the Cotswold Water Park also reveals a different bistro, bar, restaurant or café around seemingly every corner. The Cricklade Club has a personality all of its own. Once described as the Cotswolds’ answer to Shoreditch, this former social club turned quirky social kitchen dishes up homemade food using locally sourced ingredients. Time your visit for brunch and go for the Braised Beans or Huevos Rancheros *chef’s kiss*.

What wildlife can you spot at the Cotswold Water Park?

Thousands of species of wildlife call our Lower Mill Estate home, from dragonflies and bumblebees to barn owls and beavers. Each month brings new arrivals - take a look at our wildlife calendar for a guide to the comings and goings around the Estate.

Cotswold Water Park’s 180 lakes and 42 square miles are similarly teeming with wildlife. You’ll find flora and fauna at every turn, but most notable are the water birds that arrive here each winter. Keep your eyes peeled for the otter colony at Flagham Brook and listen out for the coo of barn owls in the Sandpool Barn Reserve at dusk. At Cleveland Lakes, majestic peregrine falcons and marsh harriers are a sight to behold in the winter months.

Freshwater havens around the Cotswold Water Park attract all sorts of wildlife, from the Greater Spotted Woodpecker to beautiful clouds of Dragonflies. Get your copy of the Cotswold Water Park Nature Reserve Guide here and plan a wildlife watching route of Attenborough proportions as part of your Cotswolds holiday.

Greater spotted woodpecker on a tree

Can you swim in the lakes at Cotswold Water Park?

Not all lakes at Cotswold Water Park are designated for swimming. Many are out of bounds, but you are welcome to enjoy a dip at Waterland, Cotswold Water Park Hire and 4 Lakes, all of which offer safe open water swimming. The real gem for swimmers is the Cotswold Water Park Beach. There are few better places in the Cotswolds to cool off when the sun is shining than at this sandy swathe. It is manned by lifeguards at peak times and safe to swim at, unlike many of the lakes around the park due to depth and dangerous currents.

Share Article