I am lucky enough to have this place right on my door step. It is a great place to go to when the hot weather arrives.
As well as the obvious lake that you can take a nice stroll around or fish in Coate water also has a small snack kiosk which is fairly reasonably priced from which you can buy drinks, ice creams and burgers etc., it also has a pitch and putt green and a mini golf course both of which are cheaper if you have a Swindon card. Pitch and putt costs £5.10 without a card but only £3.90 with one.
It has a nice kids play park complete with sand pit which back in the day I used to love going to.
Unfortunately the kids paddling pool that used to be there has now shut down.
There is lots of open space to play football and also places to have BBq's.
In all a nice country park in a busy town.
On Easter Monday there was unexpected hot weather and my mum suggested that we spend the day at Coate Water. I wasn't very enthusiastic, I had been to Coate Water a million times before and wasn't overly keen on spending my precious bank holiday there. However, when my mum suggests something everyone knows that it's not really a suggestion and that we will all end up doing exactly what she wants.
I don't think there's much point in me describing the layout of the park when there's already a map that shows the layout much better than I could ever describe it. http://www.swindon.gov.uk/coatebitmap1.pdf
When we first arrived at Coate Water we spent some time feeding the ducks. The main lake was really crowded and the ducks weren't eating the bread so we went in search of somewhere else to feed ducks. We found a small pond where there were more ducks who didn't have any bread at all. The area around the pond was much more shaded than the lake was so I personally preferred it there, plus there were hardly any people there. I found it very peaceful.
There are many paths around the park, we decided to take the one around the lake. According to Coate Water's website this is supposed to be accessible to wheelchair users but I found a lot of the terrain to be uneven so I'm not sure that all wheelchairs would be able to go around it comfortably.
I really enjoyed the walk. It took us about forty minutes to walk all the way around but this included many stops. There is just so much to see and although it may sound boring I love seeing the lake at so many different angles. You could see so many different things from each bank, like various little islands, and things look different from different angles. I'm not much of a nature person but my (step) dad is really into birds and nature and I found it quite interesting when he was pointing out various plants and birds. I wasn't so amused when we had to stand completely still for ten minutes while he stared at a bird! Obviously if you have no knowledge of this kind of thing, or no interest, this point won't apply to you.
Along the path there were so many little clearings that my eight year old sister loved exploring. It was so nice to be in a place where she could explore safely and climb over fallen trees and rocks.
After our walk we went to the playground. I wasn't very impressed. It was basically an enclosed area with three climbing frames of varying sizes and a sandy floor. I thought that the selection of things for children to play on was completely lacking, especially compared to other playgrounds in the area. However, when I asked my sister what she thought she said that it was great because there was so much sand and you could climb. It reminded me that children don't need a lot of play equipment, just imagination!
There was a severe lack of seating for adults supervising children. There were some rocks where some adults sat but no benches and not enough rock space for everyone.
After twenty minutes of playing happily we tempted my sister away from the playground with promises of ice cream in the hope that we could find somewhere to sit and eat our ice creams.
The queue to the shop was really long. I think Coate Water could do with another shop because it does get crowded when the weather is nice. After queueing we ordered three ice creams, a hot dog and a cheese burger. We actually wanted two cheese burgers but they ran out of burgers. After the long queue we found the service to be surprisingly quick and efficient and the staff were quite friendly. I don't remember exactly what we paid but it was over £10. I thought this was very expensive for what we had.
We wanted to sit down at one of the tables but unfortunately there were only four tables and a lot of people wanting to sit down, so we took our food and had a pleasant walk back to the car.
Although I did really enjoy our afternoon in Coate Water there were a few things that I felt needed to be improved. Seating is severely lacking, unless you like to sit on the grass. There are benches around the park but it could certainly do with some more picnic tables.
There is a rundown paddling pool that is obviously no longer in use and looks horrible. I think they either need to do it up and get it back in use or demolish it.
We didn't have time to do everything in Coate Water. There is a mini golf course and a little train that takes you around part of the park. I have used these facilities in the past but it was so long ago that I don't feel that I'm qualified to comment on them now, I'm sure a lot has changed since I rode the train as a child or played mini golf four years ago!
We didn't use the toilets or the car park but there are toilets and there is a car park that you have to pay to use.
For more information on Coate Water, including access information and how to get there please visit: http://www.swindon.gov.uk /leisuresport/parksandgardens/l eisure-parkscoatewater.htm