Most of England has been enjoying record-breaking temperatures for the end of March, so I took advantage of the weather and the partial relaxation of lockdown rules to take a trip to Branston Water Park, a place I had never been to before.
The site of Branston Water Park was originally a gravel pit from the 1930s until it closed in the 1950s. Upon closure, the site was left for nature to take over, and it filled with water naturally. The land owner allowed various sailing and fishing organisations to use the lake, but there was no public access until the mid-1980s, when the council stepped in to secure the lease for the land. Over the next few years, pathways were laid around the lake, and other improvements were made to the area to benefit visitors.
The water park attracts a variety of wildlife, from ducks and geese to moths and butterflies. There are information boards dotted around the site giving more information on the various animals and plants living in the area. There is a café on site which is open on some weekdays during the summer months and at weekends only in the winter. Other facilities include toilets, a children’s play area, a car park and a picnic area. The water park is very well looked after and maintained; I hardly saw a scrap of litter there when I visited.
The park was busy, probably because of the weather. It wasn’t crowded, though. There were many anglers partaking in some fishing, which is only allowed by members of an angling club; you can’t just rock up with your rod and tackle. There is currently a one-way system for walking around the park; you know why. Not that many people bothered with it.
Before heading on the 2.6 mile walk around the path, I walked up to “Alligator Point”, a small peninsula with a viewing area at the end so you can look out across the lake. I don’t know why it’s called that, I’m hoping it’s just a name and that it’s not teeming with alligators.
There are five islands within the lake, these are strictly for the wildlife and not accessible to us humans. I took a few more pictures while I was walking around. It took me about 30-40 minutes to get all the way around the lake.
Access to Branston Water Park by car is from the A38 northbound. From the southbound carriageway, I assume (as a non-driver) that you would have to turn around at the next junction at Barton-under-Needwood and head north. On foot, there is access from the underpass under the A38 off Main Street and Court Farm Lane in Branston. It is also accessible from the Trent & Mersey canal towpath, which is the way that I came to it. Dogs are allowed in the park, but they must be kept on a lead. All the other information you need, including opening times, can be found here.
Thank you very much for reading. Hopefully, as lockdown eases, I will be able to get out and about some more in the summer (weather permitting).
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