Water in almost any form is an attractive feature in the landscape. As well as its aesthetic qualities it is highly valued as a recreation resource for fishing, bathing and boating.
Planning for water-based recreation to cater for the often conflicting demands of various activities is essential. This is a large subject, and this chapter is not intended to explore it in any detail. Its purpose is to consider the design of facilities needed by the main forms of water-based recreation, and measures needed to prevent site damage at the vulnerable land – water interface. Site layout should consider the segregation of different uses, such as boat launches and jetties, fishing from the shore, sunbathing and swimming, together with the protection of sensitive shoreline habitats. Zoning of a lake or river for these uses is frequently the main result of water recreation planning, which in turn determines the general layout and site design criteria for the area. The requirements for structures and artefacts to enable visitors to enjoy their activity to the best of their ability and in safety will be determined by this series of considerations.
Fishing is a very popular pastime, enabling many people to enjoy an absorbing activity in the outdoors, as well as an appreciation of nature.
In general, the facilities described in this section are extra to the basic requirements already covered in previous chapters, such as car parking, picnic areas, paths, toilets and shelters. In many areas there is no design for fishing facilities: they look scruffy and badly constructed. Nor is there much attention to the site, so that common problems are bank and access route erosion, damage to sensitive habitats, litter, human hygiene and the danger of fire. There are
different requirements for game (trout, sea trout and salmon) and coarse fishing, and differences between riverbank or lakeshore fishing and fishing from a boat.