Divers from Calne have discovered the remains of cottages at the bottom of Bowood Lake after plunging into its depths for a weekend dive.

The day-long expedition by Calne Sub Aqua Club was the first exploration of the lake since Lord Lansdowne's attempt 20 years ago.

Legend has it the original Bowood village was flooded 300 years ago because it stood in the valley where Capabilty Brown wanted to put a lake.

The story goes that residents of the estate cottages were moved from their homes and Derry Hill village and the Sandy Lane Cottages were built specifically to re-house them.

The divers discovered a four-foot by 18-inch thick cottage foundation, a section of painted wall and a dry stone garden wall.

SubAqua chairman Jon Dodsworth, and fellow diver Trevor Whitney, had a tough job finding their way through the murky depths and even high volt torches didn't shed any light on the remains.

Mr Dodsworth said: "It got to the point where I didn't know whether my eyes were open or shut, which is a strange sensation.

"I couldn't see my hand in front of my face because of the sheer amount of silt but despite that we still found what we were looking for."

The Calne SubAqua Club, formerly based at White Horse Leisure Centre, has been planning the dive for three months.

Despite the discovery the divers' attempts to find the submerged church spoken of in local legends failed.

It had been suggested that in the middle of summer when the water level lowers, the top of the hamlet's church spire can be seen in the water.

But Mr Dodsworth, of Severn Close, says that although part of the story is true, there is no church under Bowood Lake.

The 28-year-old said: "It would have been nice to find a whole church underwater but sadly it seems that it's only the stuff of legends.

"The dive was a fascinating experience and proves almost certainly that there was a cluster of homes at the site at some point."