The story of the Midlands 'secret beach' that was so popular it had to close to the public

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Bosworth Water Park drew huge crowds as soon as the sun started shining -Credit:Donna Pacey

When the sun begins to shine, there's one thing on most people's minds - the beach. But for us in the Midlands, far from any coast, a seaside jaunt means committing to a full-day trip.

Enter Market Bosworth Water Park, our very own slice of beach life in the heartland, less than an hour's drive from Nottingham. This beloved spot boasted playgrounds, ice cream stands, mini-golf, and a swimming lake that almost made you forget you weren't by the ocean.

For years, local news outlets would tout the water park as a 'secret' or 'hidden' beach within easy reach of Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, and Coventry. It soon became the region's worst-kept secret, with traffic piling up towards Market Bosworth at the slightest hint of sunshine.

Today, however, those traffic jams are a thing of the past. The beach remains, yet it's now encircled by holiday lodges reminiscent of seaside resorts.

In 2021, after thirty years, the site's owners declared a "change of direction". A spokesperson announced: "Our park will remain closed to all-day visits from 3rd October and we will reopen the campsite on 1st April to caravans and motorhomes only until phase two commences where the park will close to lodge owners only."

In a heartfelt post on their Facebook page, the team behind Bosworth Lakeside Lodges said: "It has taken 30 years, 2 generations of family, dedicated staff both long-standing and seasonal all putting their heart and soul into creating the fantastic environment we all love."

The development will feature 103 lakeside lodges upon completion. Each lodge comes with a 50-year lease and includes amenities such as a driveway, balcony, and garden area.

Prospective buyers still have the opportunity to secure their own slice of tranquility, with an exclusive lakeside lodge currently listed for £325,000. The website reveals that many have already been snapped up or reserved.

The homes are being developed in three phases, according to their website, with phases two and three starting dates yet to be scheduled because phase one homes haven't sold out yet. The website says the phase two homes were expected to be completed in Autumn 2022.

The official website describes the idyllic lifestyle on offer: "Whether you are looking to have a bolt hole to escape the rat race and spend quality time with your children or you're retired and want a place to spend the majority of your time relaxing and taking in the surroundings, Bosworth Lakeside Lodges has it all."

Hoseasons have started marketing holidays at the old water park, starting at £315 for a week. The Hoseasons website says that the site comes with a beach with a paddling area for children,

Set against the lush backdrop of the Leicestershire and Warwickshire countryside, Bosworth Lakeside Lodges promises a serene retreat. The local area boasts charming English villages, traditional pubs, and natural beauty spots.

A short walk or cycle from the park leads to attractions such as a steam railway, canal wharfs, and historic trails, not to mention the picturesque town of Market Bosworth.

The site remains accessible to the public, with educational institutions and groups able to engage in a variety of watersports on the lake, including sailing, raft-building, kayaking, and pedalo sessions. A Saturday morning kids' club is also part of the offerings.

In a conversation with Leicestershire Live after the venue closed, Toby Ryley, who managed the business alongside his brother Ben, reflected: "The business model just wasn't working anymore. It grew into something it wasn't intended to be. On sunny days, it got so busy that it wasn't a nice experience for anyone - including the staff who got verbally abused."

He further explained the operational challenges: "If it rained, we'd maybe get 50 customers, but if it was sunny, we'd get 5,000 customers. It became so hard to manage. It didn't work for us as a family any more."

The park had also been the site of a tragic incident years prior to its closure, when a schoolboy tragically drowned, leading to his stepfather being imprisoned for manslaughter and his mother receiving a suspended sentence for child neglect.

Now, the once bustling park has returned to a state of tranquillity on sunny days, far removed from the past chaos of traffic and large crowds. Toby shared his vision for the future: "We want to offer something different, and be the best rather than sticking to the mould of what other holiday parks are like. I want to see the park succeed, and I want to do it with a smile on my face."

He concluded with optimism: "I already feel that we've got it back to what we wanted it to be - a family-friendly, family-run park, which is a peaceful and relaxing place to spend time."