Paddling in the water bodies across Milton Keynes
The Parks Trust, along with other interested bodies, always looks to manage those water bodies for which we have responsibility safely and where appropriate in such a way that we can provide opportunity for safe access.
Our major lakes remain part of the city’s flood defences and are ultimately controlled by Anglian Water. Activities that we run, or licence, have to also be approved by Anglian Water and meet their criteria for access.
Through organised water-bases activities we can achieve this in the best possible way, providing opportunities to take part in a controlled manner with appropriate safety management in place.
At Willen Lake this includes allowing people to launch their own craft from our facility during public open hire sessions. During these sessions we will have safety management in place including safety boats and shore observers. Activity takes place within a designated hire zone of the lake.
We allow all types of dinghies, kayaks and canoes however they must not be inflatable, or motor powered. Paddleboards may be inflatable. All equipment is required to be checked by a member of staff before going on the water. There is a fee to launch your own craft on Willen Lake, please contact Willen Lake for prices and opening hours (note that hire will not be available when instructor led sessions are in progress). Buoyancy aids must be worn at all times (which we can provide).
You can also take part in an organised watersport activity at Caldecotte Lake where we have three different watersport clubs operating; the Canoeing Club, Rowing Club and Sailing Club.
Complete lone access will always carry additional risk and can not be managed. The abilities of individuals will always vary and those less experienced may be encouraged to exceed their abilities if they see others. There are approximately 125 drowning fatalities that occur annually at inland water sites. More than half of these were suffered by persons who intended to be in or on the water. As stated in the RoSPA Managing Safety at Inland Waters guidance 2019,
“These rates are lower in a managed water sports facility or coaching scenarios with active supervision and rescue on-hand”.
There may also be various operations planed or ongoing that those individuals are not aware of, and which might affect them. Similarly, lone individuals may inadvertently interfere with organised activities.
Therefore, the policy that we have in place provides the best way for The Parks Trust to allow people to enjoy water-based activities at its lakes.
Read more about how you can stay safety in the water across Milton Keynes here.