Alton Water Park
Listening to the dawn chorus in the peaceful setting of Alton Water Park with its lovely reservoir, is an excellent way to start the day in this wondrous peninsular playground. As well as fulfilling its purpose of pumping almost 10 million gallons of water each day to serve the local area, the reservoir is a haven for wildlife and a magnet for birdwatchers, walkers, cyclists and water sports enthusiasts.
An eight-mile (13km) trail circles Alton Water, and the site is accessible every day of the year. Shorter trails are available too and a three-mile route on the south shore takes visitors through a butterfly garden, wildlife meadow and past bird hides and ponds, alive with reptiles.
There is plenty to do for those seeking more energetic leisure pursuits too, as the nature reserve blends seamlessly with a vast water park and sports centre. There are rowing boats available to hire and visitors can take sailing lessons in kayaking, dinghy sailing or wind-surfing. Dry or wets suits are available for hire at the water sports centre.
Visitors can take their own bicycles or hire them from the Alton Cycle Hire centre. Bikes, trailers for towing children, as well as single or double seated Go-carts are all available. Alton Water has teamed up with the Woolverstone Project to provide tuition and opportunities for those with disabilities and a desire to sail.
The reservoir is also good for coarse fishing. Given its location near the rivers, Gipping, Stour and Orwell, there are good stocks of Bream, Pike, Roach, and the odd Carp or Tench.
Fishing permits are available for adults and children can fish for free. Do check the Alton Water Park website for current prices and further details.
There are many different activities open to all throughout the year, including the Great East Swim, triathlons, various fun runs and even air theatre on occasion. Keep an eye on the park's events listing.
After all that fresh air, visitors can relax and enjoy a freshly brewed coffee, along with some homemade cakes and pastries or a light lunch at the Alton Water Visitor Centre and Café, while enjoying the views across the water park.
Landline: 01473 328268