“ Address: Isle of Wight / England „
One of the most picturesque locations in Ryde on the Isle of Wight has to be the area surrounding the Boating Lake on the Esplanade. Hidden in a small tree-lined valley with steep grassy banks, the lake is popular in summer seasons with both tourists and locals.
As boating lakes go, the one at Ryde is relatively small - perhaps around 100 metres in length and about forty metres across. In the middle of the lake is a little island in the shape of an oval, which is inaccessible to the public - if you squint your eyes at dooyoo's tiny picture at the top, you may just be able to make it out in the middle of the shot. This small piece of land functions as a nesting area for the wildfowl which inhabit the lake, and as such contains plenty of shelter in the form of bushes and shrubs.
The water in the lake is very green at times - making it look a little un-appetising - but that's apparently just a natural build up of algae - so it probably wouldn't do you any harm if you fell in... I wouldn't recommend swimming in it however!
As a downside, there is often the problem of litter floating around the lake - the result of local chavs chucking their crisp packets and cans into because they can't be bothered using a bin. That said, I think this man-made debris is cleared out often, as it never really builds up to a huge scale.
At the West side of the lake, directly backing onto it, is the council run 'Waterside Swimming Pool' with its retractable roof. If you opt to go for a swim, the view of the surrounding area is very pleasant from its large windows. At the East side of the lake is a small but well equipped water-park for kids, which has a range of colourful and fun water-play machines.
By the side of the lake is a hut from which you can hire huge plastic swan-shaped pedalos - I think it costs around £2 each for 20 minutes - but i'm not entirely sure of the exact deal. These boats are great for the kids, and children are given a life-jacket to wear whilst on-board.
The lake has a large fountain which seems to be turned on most of the time - although there is a sign telling you not to navigate the pedalos under it. This warning is perhaps because of potential sinkage issues - but I just reckon it's health and safety gone mad, as when I used to go on the boats as a kid, we were under the fountain all the time without any dire consequences.
Walking round the lake can occasionally be difficult due to the huge number of swans which enjoy sitting on the path. There are also a lot of Geese, which, as long as you don't go too near their young, will probably leave you alone. The path is suitable for prams and wheelchairs, and is certainly wide enough for a family to walk along without feeling like you're going to fall into the water.
When out and about on Ryde Esplanade, it's always nice to take a detour around the lake, making for a pleasant and scenic interlude. Due to the swimming pool at one end, waterpark at the other, AND the chinese restaurant which is at the top of the grassy banks - Ryde Boating Lake is well worth visiting.
Canoeing isn't everyone's bag baby, but sitting and watching the world go by certainly should be. Ryde on the beautiful Isle of Wight is one of the few places left in the world where time seems to have stood still. In some places that is - but while chavs and nutters have taken over certain areas of Ryde the canoe lake is still the same as its better been. In old photographs of Ryde from the Victorian era it is the canoeing lake that it the most prominent attraction that is still in use.
Set just back from the seashore, the canoe lake is just like you see in the picture above. Its murky water is populated by a fleet of swans who are quite graceful when they want to be. The lake is also populated by a felt of swan pedalos that you can hire for a small fee.
At one end of the canoe lake is the Waterside swimming pool and café and at the other is a free water play area for children that is perfect for the summer months.
The canoe lake is the perfect place to relax and watch the world go by at any time of the year and well worth a visit.