I’m often known to download ideas for future adventures, put them somewhere safe and then forget about them. Luckily my son was looking for something a few weeks ago and pulled out a map, he saw the mention of train tracks and thrust the paper into my hands. What’s this Mummy? That’s how our half term adventure exploring a walk by the Cotswold Water Park began. At some point I’d printed out a few different walks around the park for us to look at. The one my son had found was for a circular walk with three different routes ranging from 1 mile up to 4.5 miles in length.
Exploring a walk by the Cotswold Water Park saw I starting at the Gateway Centre which has a free car park, cafe and toilet facilities. We decided to have an early lunch before setting off on our walk and I can thoroughly recommend the food in the Gateway Cafe, it was all freshly prepared and one of the nicest paninis I’ve had in ages.
With full tummies it was time to spend some time exploring a walk by the Cotswold Water Park. We had our map with directions and decided to try the 3.1 mile walk, which would give us an opportunity to drive on somewhere else afterwards before heading home.
The walk started along the towpath of the Thames and Severn Canal which is clearly not navigable at the moment.
It was really interesting for my son to see what happens when a canal hasn’t been used for a number of years and how nature takes over.
My son doesn’t get to spend much time with his workaholic Dad so when they do get a block of quality time together I try to hang back and let my son make the most of the opportunity. They both have an interest in engineering and transport, so it was nice to listen to their discussions as we walked along the tow path.
We came across a little stone bridge alongside the canal with what we presumed would have been some sort of spill weir system when the canal was in use.
As well as a wooden bridge which would have taken us off on a shorter circular walk.
Of course, my little adventurer had to see what was on the other side of the bridge before rejoining us on the tow path as we headed towards Cerney Wick.
This part of the canal was partially restored in the 1980’s although the lock itself is looking in need of some maintenance now.
There is a roundhouse next to the canal at this point which is privately owned, and reminded us all of something from a fairy tale.
It was time to head away from the canal and head back towards the lakes of the Cotswold Water Park.
We got the opportunity to see a couple of different breeds of sheep as we followed the footpath.
My son has been learning about map reading at Cubs recently so he had the perfect opportunity to put his skills to the test, and take leadership of our time exploring a walk by the Cotswold Water Park. This way!
We navigated stiles and kissing gates along the way and just enjoyed the element of the unknown as we continued our walk which would take us around the perimeter of the local sailing club. There were no boats on the lake when we visited but I can imagine on a weekend it would be a very different scene.
Our walk offered a range of varied scenery and points of interest which kept us all on our toes and I knew there would be squeals of excitement as we passed by the local quarry.
At two points the footpath crosses roads where quarry vehicles can be driving, so you do have to take care, but my son thought it was brilliant to get so close to real machinery whilst still being safe.
From the quarry we headed into some woodland and were on the hunt for a different mode of transport entirely.
We were looking for evidence of the old Swindon to Cirencester railway line. We’ve been watching a TV series about disused railway walks across the country and my son loved the idea of going on one of his own.
We soon left the old railway line behind us as we skirted around another lake, this time passing some rather plush lake houses.
Before meeting some more local residents, my son was particularly taken with one of the ponies.
The next part of our walk took us alongside a stream on one side and another lake on the other, as we headed back towards the main visitor centre area.
We’d had so much fun exploring a walk by the Cotswold Water Park, with lots to see and talk about. As we reached the end of the walk we found ourselves in the hotel complex grounds and my son made a beeline for the play area. The boy who never used to climb anything. How times have changed over the last few years.
There was just a moment to take a quick break at the end of our walk before we set off on another adventure which I’ll share with you later in the week.
I’m sure we’ll return to the Cotswold Water Park as it’s vast, and there are a number of walks that I think we’d enjoy trying. Have you been?