Coate Water Country Park

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The concrete diving board at Coate, built 1935
The fisherman has just landed a decent sized pike and is about to extract the hook.

Coate Water (grid reference SU188820) is a country park situated 5 km (3.1 mi) to the southeast of central Swindon, near Junction 15 of the M4. It takes its name from the main feature, a reservoir originally built to provide water for the Wilts and Berks Canal.

Coate is the site of a 70-acre (280,000 m2) 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.[1] In 1914, with the canal abandoned, Coate became a Pleasure Park. Changing rooms and a wooden diving board were added, the board since replaced with today's 33 ft (10 m) concrete one in 1935. Now named officially named Coate Water Country Park, it is both a leisure facility and a nature reserve. Coate Farm, with the Richard Jefferies museum, is contained within its environs. Coate Water was the original for the "New Sea," the lake that forms the centrepiece of the fictional adventures of Bevis and Mark in Richard Jefferies "Bevis"

An area of 51.1 hectares of the lake and its margins has been notified as a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest, mainly for its breeding bird populations.[2][3] Part of the site is also a Local Nature Reserve.[4][5]

Development[edit]

Art deco diving board, Coate Water Country Park

In 2004, Swindon Borough Council and the University of Bath published plans to develop land next to the park as a new campus. The university pulled out of the proposals but then left the area vulnerable to the whims of housing developers. Since then Persimmon Homes and Redrow Homes have submitted various planning applications. One was turned down and dismissed at a planning appeal. Another went to appeal in November 2011 and was allowed by the Secretary of State - 900 houses and an industrial estate are now planned. Local residents began a Save Coate campaign at the start and continue to fight to protect the landscape made famous by Richard Jefferies.

The campaigners note that -

"Coate boasts a host of Bronze Age, Romano-British and Medieval history that spans a period of up to about 3000 years. The oldest known ancient monuments at Coate are the Neolithic Stone Circle and the Bronze age burial mound along Day House Lane. However, no less than six Stone Circles have been recorded in the Coate area linked up, in part, by avenues of large Sarsen stones. The remains of one of the stone circles probably still lies at the bottom of the lake at Coate Water whilst other ancient finds are dotted around the area that include evidence of Medieval settlements."[6]

and point out that is in conflict with several of Swindon Borough Council's own environmental policies.[7]

A buffer zone around the park was proposed in late 2006,[8] although campaigners and local residents do not think this is enough -

"In a poll, just 20 per cent of readers said they believed that the new plans would help to protect Coate Water." Swindon Advertiser[8]

The issue was further compounded when Coate Water was voted "Swindon's Favourite Place" by the local population,.[9]

Protests, including the 2004 "Hands around Coate Water" event,[10] and a petition signed by over 52,000 people have heightened awareness of the campaign.

Ecology[edit]

A dead tree has been felled and left for nature to take its course and for it to be colonized by saprophytes

Birds[edit]

Coate Water is a notable site for birds. The following rare-in-Wiltshire species have been recorded there:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mark Child (2002). Swindon : An Illustrated History. United Kingdom: Breedon Books Publishing. ISBN 1-85983-322-5. 
  2. ^ "Coate Water citation". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. 
  3. ^ "Map of Coate Water". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. 
  4. ^ "Coate Water". Local Nature Reserves. Natural England. 
  5. ^ "Map of Coate Water". Local Nature Reserves. Natural England. 
  6. ^ "Campaigners call for conservation area at Coate". Save Coate. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  7. ^ "What Else is Wrong with the Plan?". Save Coate. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  8. ^ a b Anthony Osborne (2006). "'Coate Water buffer zone is in wrong place'". Swindon Advertiser. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  9. ^ "Swindon's Favourite Place". Swindon Report. swindonweb.com. 2003. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  10. ^ "Hands around Coate Water". Indymedia UK. 2004. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  11. ^ Wiltshire Ornithological Society (2007), Birds of Wiltshire, page 623-4
  12. ^ Wiltshire Ornithological Society (2007), Birds of Wiltshire, page 249-50
  13. ^ Wiltshire Ornithological Society (2007), Birds of Wiltshire, page 227
  14. ^ Wiltshire Ornithological Society (2007), Birds of Wiltshire, page 260
  15. ^ Wiltshire Ornithological Society (2007), Birds of Wiltshire, page 246-7
  16. ^ Wiltshire Ornithological Society (2007), Birds of Wiltshire, page 394-5
  17. ^ Wiltshire Ornithological Society (2007), Birds of Wiltshire, page 438-9
  18. ^ a b Wiltshire Ornithological Society (2007), Birds of Wiltshire, page 237-8
  19. ^ Wiltshire Ornithological Society (2007), Birds of Wiltshire, page 235
  20. ^ Wiltshire Ornithological Society (2007), Birds of Wiltshire, page 226
  21. ^ Wiltshire Ornithological Society (2007), Birds of Wiltshire, page 192
  22. ^ Wiltshire Ornithological Society (2007), Birds of Wiltshire, page 526-7
  23. ^ Wiltshire Ornithological Society (2007), Birds of Wiltshire, page 236
  24. ^ Wiltshire Ornithological Society (2007), Birds of Wiltshire, page 597
  25. ^ Wiltshire Ornithological Society (2007), Birds of Wiltshire, page 583-4
  26. ^ Wiltshire Ornithological Society (2007), Birds of Wiltshire, page 605

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°32′12″N 1°43′49″W / 51.53659°N 1.73034°W / 51.53659; -1.73034