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GREAT | OUTDOORS

The wonder of the water Being near water can send us into a meditative state that makes us happier, healthier and more creative: and luckily, living in the south west, we don’t need to go far to find a little corner of calm

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oets and painters have all attested to the inner peace that comes from being near water. It seems there’s just something innately calming about it – the sense of perspective that comes from surveying a blue horizon, the soothing sound of water lapping the shore and the twinkling of sunlight as it hits the surface. But it’s not just a romantic notion. Scientists suggest that being near water actually sends us into a meditative state that makes us happier, healthier, calmer, more creative and even more capable of awe. In fact, according to research, the mere sight or sound of water brings about a flood of neurochemicals to our hearts and brains. Evidence of this biological high means we’re now able to join the dots between being near, in or on water to a full range of emotional benefits. Luckily for those of us living in the south west, you don’t need to go far to find your bit of calm. We’re blessed with some of the best lakes in the UK, dotted over countryside, nestled in valleys and stretching from Somerset to the tip of the Cornish coast. What’s more, these beautiful blue 68 TheBATHMagazine

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spaces are all less than two hours’ escape from cities such as Bath and Bristol. The south west’s inland waters offer an oasis of calm and tranquillity away from the usual tourist hot spots. They’re less crowded than the beaches and give couples, families and campers a safe place to explore the water in the peace and quiet of the countryside. These are lakes such as the spectacular Wimbleball Lake on Exmoor, the rural idyll of Roadford Lake on the edge of Dartmoor and the Cornish lakes of Tamar near Bude and Stithians in scenic West Cornwall. They are powerful places – where the green world meets the blue. Places where you can relax and watch resident wildlife such as rare sandpipers, orange-tip butterflies and even birds of prey such as buzzards while you enjoy a moment of calm contemplation, walking the trails that gently curve around the water’s edge. They are havens not just for wildlife but walkers, families, sailors and anglers – all seeking out a piece of waterside serenity. Unlike the tidal terrains of the coast, these lakes also offer a safe place to explore the water too. Novices and experts can all enjoy safe adventure on inland water, with visitors

able to hire a kayak, canoe, stand-up paddle board, sail or windsurf on the water in confidence. The lakes of Wimbleball, Roadford and Stithians even offer tuition and have-a-go sessions with activity instructors giving visitors a taste of the fun to be had on the blue. The health benefits of getting your feet wet are not to be overlooked. Researchers found that some of the fittest and happiest people are found in and on the water. According to the scientists, people who take part in activities on water rate their experience as more enjoyable than those exercising on land. Luckily for those travelling from further afield, a trip to the lake doesn’t need to be just a daytime affair, with South West Lakes offering camping pitches, bell tents and glamping pods for visitors too. The unrivalled location of the lakes on national parks and moors means they’re some of the best places to stargaze and spot distant constellations while toasting marshmallows on the campfire. It means the lakes always offer a waterside break where you can rest up and park your worries for the week. For those camping with kids, they offer an

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The Bath Magazine May 2019  

The Bath Magazine is Bath’s biggest monthly guide to life and living in the city of Bath

The Bath Magazine May 2019  

The Bath Magazine is Bath’s biggest monthly guide to life and living in the city of Bath