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South West Lakes: The beauty beyond your doorstep

The South West Lakes are havens not just for wildlife but for walkers, runners, cyclists, families, sailors, bird watchers and anglers, all searching for their own piece of tranquility. When the stresses take hold, try reconnecting with nature

From the soothing sounds of water lapping against the lake shore to the relaxing dawn chorus on a summer’s morning, and the rustling of leaves as a gentle breeze passes through the impressive woodland canopy above, nature’s soundtrack truly is incredible.

Peace and tranquility could not be more important during these uncertain times and, even though the world around us is ever changing, it seems that nature really is thriving. Now is the time to immerse yourself in the great outdoors. Inhale the flourishing summer air. Feel the warmth of the sun on your face. Detach yourself from modern life and connect with your natural surroundings. Now is the time to discover the beauty beyond your doorstep.

Those lucky enough to live in the south west don’t have to venture far to find some of the most beautiful lakes in the UK. Think of the moorland gems nestled among rolling hills, and the atmospheric waters set in Cornwall’s mining landscape – greatly loved beauty spots that provide a much-needed escape from everyday life.

Research shows that ‘blue space’ – including sea, rivers, lakes and even urban water features – can have a positive impact on health and wellbeing. The lakes of the south west provide an abundance of opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to engage with the outdoors and get active with scenic walks, cycle trails and family fun on the water.

There are lakes such as the breathtaking Wimbleball on Exmoor – less than a two-hour drive from Bristol and Bath – the idyllic Roadford on the edge of Dartmoor and the Cornish lakes of Tamar near Bude, Siblyback near Liskeard and Stithians near Redruth. These are all places where you can relax and observe the resident wildlife – finding somewhere to stretch your legs and embrace a moment of calm, and scenic sanctuaries where you can stop and enjoy a well-deserved café treat.

Those wanting to dip their toes in can hire a variety of watersports equipment, including kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and sailing boats or for those who have their own kit there is the opportunity to use it on the lakes. These inland waters offer a safe environment for both novices and experts and they are also popular with trout and coarse anglers.

Want to extend your stay and experience everything the South West Lakes have to offer? Pitch up a tent, toast marshmallows and look up to the sky. Wimbleball and Siblyback are both dark skies reserves – the perfect spots for stargazing and engaging with nature and the outdoors in its greatest form. Looking up at the night sky can bring comfort to many people during an extremely difficult time and rural areas such as the lakes are the ideal locations to see the stars as they’re away from any light and disturbances.

These five campsites provide the perfect base for your next family getaway. Watch as any little adventurers in tow embrace the freedom of large, open spaces. Capture special moments – the laughter, the learning and the pure joy on their faces as they run, skip and jump through the trees. Den building, pond dipping, bug hunting, wildlife spotting and more – give them a taste for the great outdoors.

Summer days are great for wildlife spotting, with the lakes brimming with a variety of flora and fauna – from butterflies and birds to deer and dormice. You stand a good chance of finding wonderful wildlife during your outdoor adventures, so don’t forget to bring the camera.

The lakes are havens not just for wildlife but for walkers, runners, cyclists, families, sailors, bird watchers and anglers, all searching for their own piece of tranquility. So, when the stresses of lockdown take hold, reconnect with nature and head to the lakes and it might be just the ticket.

South West Lakes are operating their activities and camping in line with government guidelines. Safeguarding visitors and employees is a priority and therefore certain measures have been put in place to limit the spread of coronavirus and maintain the safety of everyone. Please do check the South West Lakes website prior to visiting to make sure you are up to date with information for your trip and ensure you maintain social distancing when visiting.


Main image: courtesy of Jonathan Warner