Coate Water Country Park
Tel: 01793 490150
Situated 5 km to the southeast of central Swindon, near junction 15 of the M4. Open all year round, 24 hours per day.
There are many reasons why Coate Water remains one of Swindon’s most popular sites of interest, particularly for local residents. It is a serene place, perfect for walking the dogs or introducing the children to the geese. A 56 acre reservoir, originally built in the 1820s as a waterhead tank for the Wiltshire and West Berkshire canal, takes centre stage, ringed by a charming woodland walk lying adjacent to protected meadows of grasses and wildflowers. It’s a fine day out, a peaceful refuge for visitors and locals alike.
There are plenty of opportunities to get active at Coate Water, especially if you’re a fan of swinging a golf iron for an afternoon. For the young ‘uns and the adult children amongst you, the Pitch & Putt and Crazy Golf courses are sure to put a smile on your face, whilst during the summer months the park opens a Splash Park, helping the family to stretch their legs and and cool off under vibrant hoses and fountains. There is also a sandy play area for climbing, sliding, swinging, and, of course, playing tag.
There are numerous local clubs and activity groups based at Coate seeking new members. The Swindon Rowing Club is a volunteer organisation catering to all different ages and skill levels (the youngest member is 13 and the oldest is 73), and Coate is the ideal place to host them. The lake, shared with other water enthusiasts in kayaks, sailing boats, and canoes, is a thousand meters long, allowing rowers to pick up speed and challenge themselves to build their fitness and agility. For such an opportunity, the membership and Learn2Row schemes are pleasantly cheap, too! But if you’re passing through or do not have the inclination to get into a boat, Coate Water is a fantastic place to put one foot in front of the other in the name of burning calories. The path surrounding the reservoir serves as an excellent running route, and local groups such as the Swindon Shin Splints often use it as the base for their weekly meet.
Coate’s natural bounty is a particular draw, attracting birdwatchers, ramblers and enthusiasts of all stripes. The area is marked as a place of biological scientific interest and a nature reserve due to its distinctive biome of flora and fauna. Everyone can have a joyous time feeding the ducks and the swans, and for the ornithologists amongst you may be able to catch tits, warblers, herons and grebes soaring over the waters of plying the banks for nesting sites. Fishing is also a popular hobby at Coate Water. There are permits available for those who need a spot just for the day, and options for part-time anglers who adore pitching tents overnight to try their luck at catching a whopper. It’s times like these where the BBQ sites at the park might come in handy…
Coate’s skyline is dominated by the recognizable, much-loved, Grade 2-listed Art Decor diving platform, and whilst it is not in active use, it is certainly a distinctive element to the aesthetics of the park. Without even mentioning the cafe, the leisurely model railway track, and the intriguing history that surrounds the park, it is no secret that Coate Water is one of the most cherished places in town. It is a reputation well-deserved, indeed.
1. Crazy Golf
Stretch those arms and legs with this family-friendly sport! The crazy golf at Coate Water has been a firm favourite for countless Saturday afternoons and will be for countless more. Collect your clubs at the cafe and enjoy some leisurely putting..
2. Richard Jefferies Museum
Adjacent to the park lies this quaint museum dedicated to the life and works of Richard Jeffries, a Victorian naturalist and author known for his beloved renderings of the Wiltshire countryside. The museum itself is based in the farmhouse owned by the Jeffries family, populated by manuscripts, paintings and memorabilia from the author’s life. All part of the rich tapestry that comprises Coate’s history.
With long and short-term permits available, Coate is one of the finest locations for fishing in Swindon. Whether you’re an early riser or a night angler, this is a wonderful spot for relaxing into nature whilst searching for that perfect carp. For fishing price information, visit the Swindon Borough Council website.
4. Coate Cafe
Take a break from the morning run or the all-day ramble to score a hot drink, a bacon sarnie and something sweet. This must be why the ducks never seem particularly in want of a meal...
5. Pitch and Putt Golf Course
If you’re a more seasoned golfer with mean swing, you might be tempted to try the 9 hole course adjacent to Coate’s stunning reservoir. The full pitch and putt experience is relatively inexpensive and two participants will be set and ready to go for less than the price of lunch.
6. Rowing Club
Coate’s volunteer rowing club introduces all ages and skill levels to this exciting waterborne sport. Challenge yourself with making new friends whilst zooming along the reservoir during their Learn2Row beginners courses.
7. Splash Park
Hot out? Bring the kids to the Coate Water Splash Park for some slippery, slidey entertainment. The park is open during the summer months from 11am-5pm. Entry is free but there is a limited parking charge.
8. Bird Watching
Budding ornithologists amongst you will find delight in observing both the familiar and the rarer species that visit this protected wildlife reserve. Whether you’re there to meet the swans or on the hunt for something more elusive, Coate offers a grand day out for birdwatchers of all stripes.
9. Play Park
Coate’s sandy play park is a great place to blow off steam with climbing, running, swinging and sliding. Note: this park is suitable for children and big kids who also happen to be adults alike.
Turn the day into something special by loading up on sausages and skewers and renting out one off the dedicated BBQ sites along the lakeside. There are even options to provide an entire field for groups of one hundred people or more, ideal for your organisation’s summer excursion.