Coate Water is a large country park on the edge of Swindon. It has been developed around a 56-acre lake that was originally created as a reservoir to supply the Wilts & Berks Canal that ran through the town in the early 1800s. The site is where Jefferies spent much of his youth and developed his passion for, and considerable knowledge of, the natural environment. Coate Water is very much the star of his childrens' book, Bevis, which is set exclusively on and around the lake.
Coate Water country park was further developed in the 1970s, with another lake, and was then designated as Wiltshire’s first Local Nature Reserve (LNR). Jefferies would probably be delighted to know that much of the site, and both lakes, have since been declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), in order to protect the wildlife and wildflower meadows which he loved so much.
Find out more about Coate Water from Swindon Borough Council's page or from this wonderful 'unofficial' site created by locals with a passion for the place.