Branches Swindon Stories & Memories
My Beloved Coate Water

As I sit and write this the memories of my childhood come flooding back.

Holidays for us were one week in Weymouth if we were lucky and most years we were not, so Coate was our holiday and Mum would take us there maybe once a week to swim and play in the sand pit, walking of course, no cars in our family in those days.I recall watching the circus clowns riding bicycles of the top of the diving board, an art deco structure built in 1935 and the bravest of dads following them, At the age of about 8 I myself swam out to the board and climbed to the top, all 33ft only to bottle out and come down two flights before jumping off.

Those of you that know Coate will be aware that it was built for the Wilts & Berks Canal as a reservoir in 1820 but became a place of peace, joy, and tranquillity for the towns folk of Swindon.
Check out a bit of its history on the Swindon branch home page. Alternatively, for a fuller picture check Coate Water on Google.

This was the home of Richard Jefferies and I recently re-read BEVIS - see other news item.

The history of Coate goes back millennia, there is even a stone circle about 3000 years old on the East side in Day House Lane that if dug out may even rival Avebury. For those that do not know where Coate is come off the Motor Way at junction 15 to Swindon go passed the new hospital and it is on your left, grid ref SU188820.

Modern day Coate has everything the nature lover could ask for and then some.
For walkers there is the 1.75 mile amble around the lake or take the long route to Hodson Woods and it turns into a 4 mile stroll and for the adventurous go all the way to Barbury Castle and back a 7 mile hike. For families a play area for the little ones, a swimming pool, Crazy golf, Picnic and Barbecue area, ice cream parlour and miniature Railway that adults can ride on as well, For the older ones a 9 hole golf course, Boules pitch, Canoeing, Sailing, Bird Hides, fishing, Ranger Centre, and Cycle hire.

Finally Coates best kept secret, Its beautiful Arboretum with trees from around the World most of which have been donated to commemorate a loved ones passing.I saw my first strawberry tree here (Arbutus Unedo = I eat one ) in Autumn.

To get to this magical place you park in the usual spot with all the other cars but instead of going up to the lake you walk along the back path straight in front of you for about 200 yards then turn right down a steep path and over a small bridge, You are now in a different world and time gets forgotten as you turn left and right trying to take it all in.

But do not take my word for it, go and see for yourselves and remember its free to get in even the parking is free.
It is a day out for the family without spending a penny except the cost of getting there. , Why not walk like my mum made us youngsters do.

Roy Cartwright