Summer is the best time of year to enjoy the beauty of the UK’s natural landscape and what better way to do that, than to explore its waters. Wild swimming has gained popularity in recent years as swimming pools become busier and people search for a deeper connection with nature by finding clean rivers and lakes to enjoy. Imagine a beautiful stream surrounded by verdant greenery where the only sounds are the babbling water and the song of the birds. We’ve put together 5 of our favourite places to go wild swimming and enjoy pure tranquillity.
1. The River Stour, Fordwich, Kent
The River Stour offers beautiful swimming opportunities with open areas where the river widens and narrower points where the trees close in on the banks and small fish can be seen below. An easy access point is the Fordwich Arms in Fordwich where you can also have a spot of lunch after a dip in the river!
2. Waterfall Country, Breacon Beacons, Wales
Waterfall Country or Coed-y-Rhaeadr as it is known in Welsh meaning, Wood of the Water, is a beautiful trail of waterfalls, west of Merthyr Tydfil. Start the trail in Pontneddfechan which has signposting for the entire route and enjoy a serene 20 minute walk before you get to the first waterfall. With four stunning waterfalls to enjoy- Lady Falls is the best for a swim- you can pack a picnic and cool off with a swim against the backdrop of the falls.
3. The River Wey, Godalming, Surrey
With lots of sandy banks to easily slip into the water, The River Wey is a perfect choice for anyone new to wild swimming. The water is slow moving and very serene and peaceful. We chose the bit of river behind the Manor Inn at Godalming which has a lovely meadow to have a picnic and also enjoy the wildlife on the riverside.
4. Wastwater Lake, Wastdale, Lake District Cumbria
For the more experienced swimmer looking for an awe-inspiring swim, Wastwater lake ticks all the boxes. Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain, is the dramatic backdrop for a swim in this large and deep lake, which will undoubtedly be an exhilarating experience! Be prepared as the water is very cold all year round!
5. The Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye
Going even further north, the name alone for this next wild swim, Fairy Pools, begs a visit. Located on the Isle of Skye, at the foot of the Black Cuilin, there are beautiful crystal clear, blue pools and cascades to enjoy. A swim here is a cold affair, but with pools deep enough to jump into and even an underwater arch to explore, a summer swim here will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression!
Wild Swimming Safety**
Always remember to consider your safety before embarking on any wild swimming. Respect the water, come prepared for cold waters and be sure to check beforehand for any currents. It is best to not swim alone and to be vigilant of weak swimmers.