The land occupied by the water park was formerly within the grounds of Sale Old Hall, demolished in 1920. All that remains of the hall today is its former lodge, now the club house for Sale Golf Club, and its dovecote, which has been restored and relocated to the nearby Walkden Gardens.
Sale Water Park provides important recreational facilities and wildlife reserves, as well as forming part of the flood defences for the surrounding area of Trafford.
Broad Ees Dole, in the northeast of Sale Water Park, is an important wildlife refuge. Major work was carried out in the 1980s to develop Broad Ees Dole into a wetland area that could be managed to improve the wildlife value of the park, in particular for wild birds, the main lake being too deep to provide food for many bird species. It was officially opened in 1987.
The amount of water entering and leaving the Dole is managed, maintaining its mud flats to make sure they are available for birds like snipe and little ringed plovers throughout the year. Migratory birds like redshank and sandpipers also use the Dole as a resting and feeding place on their route north for the summer. In summer and winter, water is allowed in, to prevent the mud from drying up; in spring and autumn, water is released, to expose the mud.
As well as the wading birds, mallards, coots, moorhens and lapwings nest in the reeds in the marshland surrounding the mud flats. Grey herons and kingfishers are also frequently seen. There are no footpaths through the Dole, but the wildlife can be viewed from the paths around its perimeter.