Coate Walk, 10 caches, 3.2 Mile, Swindon, Wiltshire, Map
It was on a sunny Sunday in July when I completed this local trail. As it was a rare event to see some sun this summer Coate Water was overflowing with people so stealth was key to todays caching. On arrival, surprisingly, the first thing you’ll notice is a striking art deco diving board – constructed in 1936, it stands proud over thirty feet above the reservoir’s water. From there, several level and surfaced paths lead in and around the park.
Coate Water is the site of a 70-acre lake, built in 1822 and formed by diverting the River Cole. Its primary purpose was to provide water for the Canals and it remained outside the borough until expansion in 1928. In 1914, with the canal abandoned, Coate became a Pleasure Park. Coate Water is a notable site for birds, with many rare-in-Wiltshire species being recorded here.
The Coate Walk guides you all the way around the lake along the flat terrain. The excellent paths make this trail ideal for all the family including those in push chairs and wheel chairs, although disabled cachers will need help at some of them. On one occasion I found myself diving off the path and straight through some trees onto the pitch and putt golf course, much to my surprise and no doubt the golfers!
There are lots of other activities to enjoy following your caching trip including, an open air paddling pool, ride of miniature railway, sand pits, children’s play area, mini golf, pitch & putt, fishing, duck feeding, cafe, BBQ hire, a nature reserve with bird hides and a ranger information point. Overall a great little series.
Coate Water Country Park has won a prestigious national award, having been judged a welcoming, safe and well-maintained park with strong community involvement. The Green Flag is recognised as the national benchmark for quality parks and open spaces. The flag itself is now flying from the top of the Coate Water diving board.
Just outside the main reserve, near the Sun Inn, is the birthplace of Coate’s most famous resident – Richard Jefferies. Born in 1848, Jefferies penned many essays on natural history and composed several novels; the surrounding countryside providing inspiration for much of his work. His former residence is now a museum dedicated to his legacy and guess what there is a cache beside it.
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