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Watermead country park
Swim training in King Lear's Lake
Statue depicting a scene from King Lear on King Lear's Lake


The Watermead Country Park is a network of artificial lakes in the valley of the River Soarmarker and the Grand Union Canal marker, to the north of Leicestermarker, in Leicestershiremarker. It runs north-south along the path of the watercourses, with Birstallmarker to the west and Thurmastonmarker to the east. The parks provide bird watching, fishing and watersports facilities.

The northern-most lake is named John Merricks Lake, after the late John Merricks, a silver Olympic medalist who practised sailing on the lake prior to his death in a car accident in 1997.

Further south is King Lear's Lake, a popular fishing lake which can be circumnavigated and is popular with people walking dogs and cyclists. A statue on the western side of the lake depicts the final scene of Shakespeare's play King Lear. The lake is also used for open water swim training by Leicester Triathlon Club, and for water training of Newfoundland Dogs.

There are several further artificial lakes continuing south following the course of the canal ending with the southern-most lake, often referred to as the Mammoth lake due to the presence of a large statue of a Mammoth atop a small hill aside the lake, from where one can see Leicester and the surrounding area for some miles in either direction. There was a previous woolly mammoth where the current one stands, although it was burned down in an arson attack several years ago. The Millennium Mammoth was built to commemorate the discovery of ice age mammoth remains found when Watermead was a quarry.

There are plans currently being discussed to construct a new visitor centre with a lakeside cafe, visitor facilities and disabled services within the park, at a potential cost of around £5.5m.

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