A Guide To Wild Swimming In The UK

Wild Swimming In The UK

When the weather’s good and you have spent the week trapped indoors working in an office, or stuck getting your exercise in the gym or crowded public pool, what could be better than exploring natural outdoor swimming places.


Wild swimming has its virtues, whether you’re looking for serious lengths in open water or for a dip to stretch off and embrace a bit of nature. There are many benefits to wild swimming. Swimming in salt water, which the Ancient Greeks swore by, can improve your immune system due to the vitamins and salts in the water. The magnesium in seawater can help to hydrate and improve the appearance of your skin.


You’ll sleep better for it; your parasympathetic system, which is responsible for rest and repair, is stimulated by cold water, so a quick dip is proven to aide healthy sleep. Because of the cold water, your blood gets pumping, rushing to your organs, meaning your heart gets an increased workout. Because of this, it is good for improving your circulation. Your metabolism can also increase by 550 percent when you swim in the cold water because your body works twice as hard to keep you warm – good news if you’re looking to burn extra calories.


As a low impact exercise, it is good for arthritis and issues with joints. If you have a bad knee or ankle and running is off-limits, swimming gives you the muscle and cardio workout with less stress on your bones. It also works wonders for your mental health. First, there is the increase in endorphins from the exercise and the high of hitting the cold water, but more than that there is the calming effect of being in nature and managing your stress levels.


Wild swimming may not appeal in the colder months without a wetsuit, but while it’s summer and the days are longer, the desire to swim outdoors will be all the more appealing. If you’re looking for somewhere to swim on a day out in the UK, take a look at the following:


Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye


Located at the foot of the Black Cuillins near Glenbrittle, these crystal waters make for great wild swimming, including a decent 2.4km walk to get you warmed up after plunging in these icy waters.

Hampstead Heath, London


These ponds cater with lifeguards and changing areas. There are three bathing ponds, including one for men and one for women. Originally reservoirs from the 17th century, the river Fleet runs under these tree-sheltered ponds, keeping the water fresh, with enough room to play or get in some proper lengths.

Llyn y Fan Fach, Brecon Beacons


18m deep and 500m altitude, you can get a real workout swimming these cold waters with breath-taking views of the Black Mountain. Look out for lake nymphs and the Lady of the Lake.

Pedn Vounder, Treen


Get your seawater fix at this ‘secret’ Cornwall beach, which the Guardian cites as one of the top 10 coastal swimming spots in Devon and Cornwall.

wild swim

River Dart, Staverton


Perfect for swimming and diving, the deep segment of the River Dart’s sandy beach is ideal for lengths or floating around in nature.

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