This man-made lake used to be a field full of cows until the owners diversified their business model from dairy farming into water sports. Manley Mere is now home to an adventure trail, aqua park, cafe, and sailing centre. Sounds like they made the right decision.
There’s plenty to do here if you like larking around in the water; from the inflatable, lake-based aqua park (a giant, inflatable playground) to canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, all available to hire or bring your own. If you want to learn the ropes (literally), they offer water sports courses, including windsurfing, sailing, and power-boating. There are kids clubs in the holidays.
Landlubbers might prefer to test themselves on the adventure trail: an obstacle course for kids and adults who aren’t afraid of heights or a bit of mud.
It’s also a popular spot for open water swimming. You need to be a Nowca member (that’s the UK’s network of safe open water swimming venues) then it’s £7 a session on their 250m, 500m and 750m swim course. There are showers, toilets and changing facilities, and the Chameleon Cafe for hot drinks and food.
40 years on and Manley Mere, a watersports centre, cafe and adventure trail, is still going strong – looks like they made the right decision.