Cooper's Meadow is a riverside park in the centre of town between the High Street and George Lane. An old water meadow with the River Kennet and old mill race running alongside, you'll find benches, a children's playground and open grassy areas for picnics, games, dog walking or just to sit and watch the ducks. Open 24 hours with public footpaths running through it. During part of the year there is conservation grazing here, and in 2016 beehives were added to the grazing area. A leat runs around the perimeter of the meadow which you can follow via a grass path.
Cooper's Meadow can be reached from George Lane car park, Kennet Place via Town Mill, and George Lane - look for the footpath opposite the Police Station. There is car and coach parking in the adjacent George Lane car park as well as public conveniences (currently being refurbished).
Marlborough Youth Council is working with the Town Council to come up with some exciting plans to update the children's play equipment. All residents are also welcome to be part of the Cooper's Meadow User Group which meets periodically to share ideas about the use and future of the Meadow. Please let us know if you'd like to get involved.
The meadow takes its name from the Cooper family who owned it. They had a butcher shop in The Parade, and grazed their cattle on the meadow after buying them at market before they went to the slaughterhouse in Angel Yard. At one point the meadow extended across what is now George Lane car park and the commercial buildings at its entrance off George Lane. The meadows flooded most years until the 1950s, and still do in wet weather.
There used to be a wool mill where the houses of Town Mill now stand - it ceased operations in 1922. For a period after the mill was demolished there was an open air swimming pool on the site which in turn made way for the Town Mill housing development. The bridge and footpath, known as Rope Walk, originally led to the rope works in Kennet Place - the long ropes were laid out straight to dry hence 'rope walk'. The Ropeworks in Kennet Place is now a pretty area including a cafe and shops in the old buildings, and well worth exploring. It is also the temporary home of the old mill wheels - brought back close to its original location by a group of enthusiastic volunteers in the summer of 2017.
More about the history of the mills in the town can be found on Marlborough History Society's website.
Water Meadow and Conservation
Marlborough Town Council owns the Meadow, and since 2009 has been working in partnership with Action for the River Kennet (ARK) to carry out conservation work and encourage wildlife. One successful outcome of this has been the return of water voles that have made the area their home. Cattle and/or sheep have grazed here in the summer months for a number of years and, in 2016 in support of Marlborough in Bloom's 'bee' theme, beehives were placed here as well as at two other locations around the town.