The Cotswold Water Park is a nationally important destination for birds and offers unique bird watching opportunities throughout the seasons. The vast 40 square miles of wetland area covering over 150 lakes allows you to easily get out and explore; whether that’s a day walking the footpaths, laying wait in a bird hide or joining in with one of the guided walks. Bird studies are showing that our area is an important feeding stopover point for migrating birds in both spring and autumn so you never know what might come in whilst you explore our nature trails, unwind in your cosy log cabin or take a dip in your steaming lakeside hot tub. With such a wide variety of habitats resulting from the extraction of gravel and sand over the last 50 years, from shallow wetlands, gravel expanses and sandy cliffs to woodland carr and reed beds the result has been an equally wide collection of species as these lakes have slowly been restored to a natural environment.
Above: Andy Rouse’s famous photo of ‘Great Crested Grebe with chick’, taken at Log House Holidays
Being one of the oldest lakes in the Cotswold Water Park, our unique site has been allowed a longer period to develop ideal habitats for the many species that inhabit or pass through our lake every year. Anthony Edmondson bought the ex-gravel pit in 1980 and has spent the last four decades planting over 50,000 trees, 150,000 reed plugs and large areas of marginal plants and wild flowers. Slowly over the years, with careful management, our site has matured into a stunning location to enjoy secluded nature holidays.
Our family run nature reserve has just 8 eco cabins, each hidden away from one another, around the 130 acre site. This unique seclusion is what leads our guests to return year after year. Our hideaways are perfect for a birdwatching holiday with panoramic views across the lake from your cabin with log fire – binoculars in hand. Outside there is a 2.5 mile lake walk that can be enjoyed as well as lots of places to look out from including a steaming hot tub, swing chair, jetty and lakeside fire pit. You’ll also find a 19ft Irish loch boat waiting at your cabin which is perfect for exploring the lake with. An electric outboard can be arranged too to ensure easy and silent travel as you head off on each adventure.
Birdwatching Seasonal Highlights
April and May are the time to see and hear nightingales, hobbies, warblers and hirundines and occasionally a red footed falcon too. We have a number of great crested grebe pairs on the lake who put on an amazing show in spring as they show off with their courtship dance.
Hot summer days spent exploring the lake will often hold sightings of a number of breeding ducks including tufted duck and gadwell. Hopefully you may also see breeding waders including little ringed plover, lapwing and oyster catchers with their characteristic call. Cuckoo, woodpeckers, little egrets, and kingfishers and also some of our favorites to look out for. If you head for the gravel islands between Island Lodge and Moondara you’ll find our nesting colony of common terns which are amazing to watch as they swoop and dive to catch fish and ward off passers by.
As the beautiful season of autumn arrives with its fantastic collection of colours, look out for the long list of migratory birds that pass through this area. If you’re truly lucky you may see osprey which usually come through once a year.
With 20,000 overwintering birds and 21,000 wintering gulls a winter bird watching break is a great time to enjoy a few days looking out from our cosy lakeside log cabins. Every winter we see starling murmarations over our larger reed beds as they come in to roost for the night. Experiencing the sight and sound of this natural spectacle on a still night from a rowing boat is truly magical. Another highlight is bitten which are occasionally seen sitting camouflaged in our reed beds. This is the best season for true nature lovers with lots to see and very few people to share the lakes with. If you’re staying in one of our luxury log cabins with hot tubs you’ll have guaranteed seclusion throughout the year though – sharing your peaceful 100 acre lake with just 7 other lodges.
Find out more about Birdwatching Holidays in the Cotswolds
If you’re looking for more info on the latest sightings and where to see different birds during your stay, check out the Cotswold Water Park Bird Blog. Run by volunteers they rely on people sending in sightings so do send any encounters across to them. In your cabin you will find an OS map which can be used during your stay to help find and follow the many footpaths that find their way through the maze of lakes. The Cotswold Water Park Trust have also produced excellent seasonal leaflets that can help identify the species which you may see when out and about. Links to these are here:
Your Nature Holiday in the Cotswolds
Choose your favourite cabin and a few free days and look forward to escaping for a short break with us. Enjoying the sights and sounds of our nature reserve with the luxuries of our lakeside log cabins always makes for a memorable time. It’s not just bird watching you can look forward to either – our lake is home to a growing otter family, 17 varieties of dragonfly and lots of wild flowers and rare trees – your nature holiday awaits…