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Southwater Country Park

Book a paddling beach session

COVID-19 update: While cases are high and rising, please to continue to act carefully and remain cautious when you visit our sites.

Book your free place for the paddling beach at Southwater Country Park. A lovely spot for a paddle and a picnic, the beach has been popular in recent summers and taking bookings is a way to help everyone enjoy the area safely.

Each session is 1 hour 30 minutes, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the water.

Session times

There are four daily time-slots for the paddling beach.

  • 10.00am – 11.30am
  • 11.45am – 1.15pm
  • 1.30pm – 3.00pm
  • 3.15pm – 4.45pm

Gates are locked at 5.15pm.

How to book

Paddling beach sessions must be booked in advance and booking confirmation will be checked. To book your session, complete the following steps:

  • Click the button below to access our online booking system
  • Choose a date and time-slot. Please only book one time-slot per day, to give everyone a chance to enjoy the area
  • Book a space for every child and adult who will be entering the fenced area. Dogs are not permitted.

Book now

If you arrive at the park and the session is not fully booked, you are welcome to book a slot on your phone on the day.

When you arrive for your session

When you arrive at Southwater Country Park for your session:

  • Have your booking confirmation email to hand. This can be on your phone
  • Your booking confirmation will be checked at the gate by a member of staff
  • Enjoy the beach area, and follow our safety advice for paddlers
  • At the end of your session please take your litter with you and dispose of it properly
  • No dogs or BBQ’s are permitted within the fenced area

Safety advice for paddlers

To help keep you and your family safe, please follow our safety tips when you visit:

  • The beach is for paddling, not swimming
  • Children must be supervised at all times. Lifeguards are not present in the area
  • Paddle within the marked out area only
  • Only enter the water up to waist height
  • Inflatables are not allowed in the water

Water quality

The water quality is variable. Please consider our advice before you paddle:

  • Stay out of the water if you have cuts or abrasions
  • Consider wearing footwear to paddle for extra protection
  • If you feel unwell after entering the water, please contact your doctor.

Gates will be locked each day at 5.15pm. After this time anyone entering the water over the fence is doing so in an anti-social manner.

We are expecting a very busy summer at the park, particularly as travel restrictions may affect people’s normal holiday plans. Our aim is that the new booking system will give everyone a turn to access the paddling beach safely. We are hoping to create a friendly, welcoming environment.

Out of hours, the gates will be closed to deter people entering the water and to help us try and overcome some of the anti-social behaviour that has been experienced during the evenings in previous years.

This is a trial system that will last for 6 weeks only – the duration of the school summer holidays – and will be reviewed throughout the summer.

The beach will be open to all, without booking, from the end of the school holidays.

Yes. If you arrive at the park and the paddling beach session is not fully booked, you can book to join the session on your phone.

There will be 60 people allowed on the paddling beach per session. This will be counted based on the number of people booked, not restrictions on numbers per family.

The play area is very busy, but doesn’t suffer the issues of litter and anti-social behaviour in the same way as affects the beach area.

No. There is no intention to charge for the paddling beach or Dinosaur Island.

Sessions for the paddling beach are free, and the booking system aims to create an environment for everyone to enjoy.

If a session is not fully booked, you would be able to join on the day. You can either book on arrival at the park or our gate staff will be able to help.

You will be able to join a session part-way through if there is space for the remainder of the session (for example, if you arrive at 11am, you can join for the last half hour of the 10-11.30 session) or book for one later in the day if there is availability.

There has been a long history of using temporary support staff to meet demands of managing Southwater Country Park at busy times. Money for the additional summer support staff was already budgeted for and agreed before we decided to trial the booking system

The support team will be working in the park to help our permanent team and part of their role will be to look after the beach area during the session times. They will also be helping with site security, parking and visitor safety.

There is no charge for the booking system as this is already used by Horsham District Council and there is no fee for the sessions.