Best Paddle in Wiltshire

Paddle, swim, and have fun in a spring-fed lake dedicated to recreation, set in a park of more than 140 lakes of varying sizes. Created as a result of mineral mining activity across Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, the whole Cotswold Water Park is an incredibly important site for biodiversity.

This is route 89 in our latest book Paddle Boarding South West England:100 places to SUP, canoe, and kayak in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Bristol


Launch from the lakeside and learn a new skill, or hang out with family and friends – this is a great spot for beginners. The fringes of the lake are wildlife havens with plenty of bird and insect life to spot away from the main buzz of the lake. This is a favourite spot for open-water swimming as well as paddling, and organised events include the very popular full-moon swims. Relax afterwards in the onsite café where home-made crêpes are a speciality.

Cotswold Water Park is a special blue space

Cotswold Water Park is a SSSI designated for special species of duck, such as the shoveler, gadwall, and pochard – along with great crested grebe and green sandpipers. Along with other species, over 20,000 water birds visit the lakes in the non-breeding season. The Lakes also have a rich diversity of aquatic plants such as the starry stonewort, lesser bearded stonewort, pointed stonewort and clustered stonewort.

Need to know

Starting point Lake 86, Spine Rd East, South Cerney, Cirencester, GL7 5TL. Grid ref. SU 0737 9709

Launching Lakeside, short distance from car park

Parking Free/onsite

Pitstops Quality coffee, excellent cake and delicious crêpes, Ohana Coffee Hut, tel. 01285 860086

Lessons, hire, tours CWP Hire, Lake 86, 01285 860086. Lake 86 rents a fleet of excellent McConks SUP boards – a favourite brand of ours

Camp The closest campsite to the Cotswold Water Park is the Second Chance Touring Park, which is also located on the banks of the River Thames

Getting there A419 N of Swindon, exit at South Cerney Junction, 1st exit at roundabout on to B4696, first L to car park

Special points Self launch £10/2 hours; buoyancy aid mandatory

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