The town has a wide range of leisure activities and facilities for the resident and visitor alike, including free parking in the town centre.
As the First Town on the Thames, Cricklade is the ideal base for exploring the upper reaches of the river. The Thames Path National Trail was established in 1989 and provides well signposted walking from the source for 184 miles all the way to the sea. The path runs through Fairview Fields, an area of open space maintained by the Town Council for leisure and recreation purposes and which encompasses the Millennium and Jubilee Woods.
Cricklade is also accredited as a “Walkers are Welcome” town so you will be sure of a warm reception and our Heritage Trail will take you on a leisurely walk around the key historic locations in the town via a series of information boards.
North Meadow National Nature Reserve is about 15 minutes walk north west of Cricklade town centre; the NNR has a great variety of wildflowers and is of international importance as one of the finest examples of a lowland hay meadow in Europe. It is protected as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Around 80% of Britain’s snakehead fritillaries grow here. For further information click here.
For those interested in visiting the meadow to see the fritillaries, here is a link to Fritillary Watch.
Blakehill Nature Reserve which is owned by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and consists of a 600 acre grassland haven for wildlife to the south west of Cricklade. The site was a second world war airfield and it is now in the midst of a twenty year restoration project to return it to a wildflower rich state for generations to come.
Dance Common on the southern entrance to the town is being managed by an enthusiastic team of volunteers to make the area more accessible to the public and to keep and improve the wildlife habitats. The Dance Common Management Group, Friends of Dance Common, produce a newsletter and have a Facebook presence, which can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/dancecommon.cricklade..
Please also visit the link for more information about the Dance Common Wildlife Site.
Long Close and Hall Close in the centre of the town are both Scheduled Monuments as the original Saxon Town Banks (Walls) lie buried beneath them. Both areas are under management and restoration and Long Close with its ancient dew pond has been opened up for walkers and wildlife alike.
The Cotswold Water Park is immediately to the north of the town and consists of over 140 lakes providing outstanding opportunities for leisure and recreation. With an emphasis on nature conservation, it attracts a half a million people every year. There are 100 miles of pathways, bridleways and cycle tracks in the Water Park, among them Route 45 of the National Cycle Network, connecting Chester and Salisbury. This follows the route of a disused railway line through Cricklade and offers excellent cycling for the enthusiast and more casual participant. For more information about the Cotswold Water Park, please visit their website here.
The Swindon and Cricklade Railway is the only standard gauge heritage railway in Wiltshire and is operated by a group of keen volunteers who, as well as running regular trips throughout the year, are currently engaged on a project to extend the line to the Mouldon Hill Country Park to create a terminus which will be the station for the Swindon end of the line. For more information about the railway and a calendar of events, please click here.
The Cotswold Canals Trust and The Wilts and Berks Canal Trust are engaged in restoration work on the Thames and Severn Canal and the North Wiltshire Canal respectively. These two canals link on the northern boundary of Cricklade at the Latton Basin and, as well as offering opportunities for walking, also reveal industrial archaeology with interpretation boards providing a picture of the past. Each Trust operates a website with can be accessed via these links: Cotswold Canals Trust and The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust
For the sports enthusiast
The main facility is Cricklade Leisure Centre on Stones Lane. This provides an indoor swimming pool, multi-use sports hall with climbing wall, comprehensive fitness suite together with facilities for squash, tennis and a range of other activities. Also in the town are a bowling green together with pitches for football, rugby and cricket, all with well supported clubs which participate in a number of local leagues.
The Cricklade House Hotel on Common Hill offers a 9-hole England Golf registered course.