Wild Swimming Walks: 28 River, Lake and Seaside Days Out by Train from London (Wild Walks)

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Wild Swimming Walks: 28 River, Lake and Seaside Days Out by Train from London (Wild Walks)

Wild Swimming Walks: 28 River, Lake and Seaside Days Out by Train from London (Wild Walks)

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Although there have been many exceptional artists that have painted the Lakes, none capture the experience of being there in person and the sheer grandeur and scale of the fells, like William Heaton Cooper (except perhaps Turner). He is recognised as one of the most celebrated British landscape artists of the 20th century and was also a great writer. He produced the seminal tarn guide, The Tarns of Lakeland, which is illustrated with his wonderful watercolours and sketches; essential bedtime reading for any aspirant swim-hiker. It is apparent from his writing that the whole family were partial to a spot of mountain swimming, and he is clearly drawn to the water in all of its permutations. His depiction of water and its depth and clarity so typical of the Lake District is exceptional and as well as painting most of the tarns featured in this book, he painted all of the lakes in it too. Another perfect bracing swim spot for lovers of wild camping. Llyn y Fan Fach in the heart of the green mountains of the Brecon Beacons is easily reached on a short steep hike, and is also the perfect overnight stop on a two-day walk. Legend has it that it’s home to the Lady of The Lake, but she doesn’t seem to mind swimmers. There are shingly beaches for easy access. Worth swimming even in chilly water for the stupendous mountain views all around you. One cannot mention art in the Lake District and not include the talented John Ruskin (1819 – 1900). Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, as well as a gifted draughtsman and watercolourist. He looked to cause positive cultural and social change through his work and was considered to be an important example of a Victorian Sage (what we might now call an ‘influencer’). His detailed sketches and paintings can be seen at his former home of Brantwood on Coniston. Ruskin lived at Brantwood for the last 28 years of his life and died in the Lake District in 1900. Brantwood, as well as the Ruskin Museum in Coniston are well worth a visit not just to view his artistic work; they offer a glimpse of the Lake District as it once was and a hint at what it was to become. Turn off B4352 at Bredwardine, signed Hereford, and pass HR3 6BT. Footpath is on right before bridge, 52.0962, -2.9706. For Winforton (pictured above) turn off A438 down Baker’s Lane by HR3 6EF. Keep going down rough byway then bear right along field at end, 52.1101, -3.0353. Who could resist Gurnal Dubs – the plural dubs referring to the three tarns that later merged into one – for instance? “The dam wall has been tastefully done and together with the boathouse as its western end, creates a kind of ‘lido in the fells’ ambience,” writes Pete.

In the meantime, he is working on a book on the Yorkshire Dales, and with his wealth of knowledge he surely has plenty to fill a second book of swim-hikes in the Lake District. Abereiddy (SA62 6DT) is signed from the A487. Park at beach and follow coast path 300m north to lagoon. Do not jump from top tower at low tide. Bottom platform safe at all tides. 51.9379, -5.2087. There is also a freshwater quarry at Rosebush, SA66 7QX, 51.9359, -4.7959. Ferns and creepers hang from the cliffs over the dark, deep waters of the lower Teifi, home to otters and buzzards. Swim from the beach near the Teifi Marshes Reserve, or take a longer swim journey right through the gorge from Cilgerran Castle where an impressive twin-towered Norman keep overlooks the forested river. Wales was made for wild swimming. Anyone thinking of going for a dip should ensure it is safe to swim there, as there may be hidden risks lurking under the water’s surface. You should always swim with others, especially if it’s your first swim. You should keep close to the shore. Cold water can decrease your range, so if you’re not going to be able to go as far as in a warm pool.Fancy a dip? Grab your swimsuit and seek out my seven favourite wild swimming spots in Wales. From tranquil river swims to huge marine pools, these eight wild swimming spots are the perfect places to while away a hot summer’s day, or to head to for some cold water therapy in autumn and winter. I’ve included information on how to get to all of these magical places. Eight of the best places to go wild swimming in Wales Along the shorelines of Grasmere and Rydal Water lie the Lakeland homes of Wordsworth and his family; Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount. Coleridge, Southey, de Quincey, John Keats, Walter Scott and Lord Byron were all drawn to the Lakes thanks to the defining work of Wordsworth, and his quietly influential sister Dorothy. Over the past decade, the rivers in the UK have become cleaner than they’ve ever been due to the fantastic work agencies like The River Trust, and The Environmental Agency. It is a great time to embrace wild water swimming! Featuring secret lakes, river meadows and sandy seaside beaches, Wild Swimming Walks is rich with stories, photos and natural history. Complete with detailed directions, maps and practical inspiration, this book is perfect for families, walkers and swimmers alike. Don’t get too cold – summer is the best time to go wild swimming near me, but if you do go in winter, be prepared

Dartmoor and South Devon are renowned for their natural beauty and stunning landscapes. Each year Dartmoor receives 2.4 million visitors, from all over the UK. It is the unofficial UK capital of wild swimming, and home to the Dart 10k, one of the UK’s fastest growing outdoor swims. Wild swimming is safe, but only if you follow guidelines, know your own ability and follow proper safety measures. Swimming, in general, is a fun activity which can be enjoyed by everyone, but outdoor swimming does have its dangers. I genuinely believe this is the best destination in the world for outdoor swimming in allowable water. We have hundreds of lakes, tarns and rivers not to mention waterfalls and pools and thankfully the National Park is very supportive.” Ten metres of rushing water cascade down into this idyllic deep forest pool. You may see locals jumping from the top of the falls but I definitely don’t recommend you try it yourself – just go for a splash about or swim under the waterfall. It’s a beautiful walk along the river and passing various plunge pools to reach Lady Falls, making it a dreamy wild swimming walk on a hot day. It is always satisfying to include a visit to a castle on a walking route, even if it is something of a folly. Wray Castle was built in the Gothic Revival style in 1840 along with St Margaret’s Church, by retired Liverpool surgeon, Dr James Dawson, using his wife’s inheritance froma gin fortune. Apparently, she showed her contempt for it by refusing to live there, which is a shame because it has very good lake access and would have been perfect for her morning swim.


Wild Swimming Walks leads you on 28 adventures in the captivating landscape of the Lake District. Find secret waterfalls, pristine mountain tarns and sparkling rivers. The River Monnow forms a vast pool outside the ruined walls of the 13th Century Skenfrith Castle. As the waters are calm, you may spot wild swimmers and families with inflatables splashing about or jumping off the rope swing.

A nine-and-a-half-mile walk, starting at Shepreth railway station, across stretches of East Anglian farmland, passing through several attractive villages, via Grantchester to Cambridge. Follow the signposted footpaths through Barrington, Harston, Haslingfield and then on towards Grantchester. The river Cam can then be followed all the way into Cambridge city centre, with the walk ending at the train station. You can swim in the river, which is clear and with a modest current. Expect crowds on the river in high summer, especially at weekends, and biting winds in late autumn and winter. The walk can also be combined with punting – the end of the route passes Scudamore’s boat station above the weir below Silver Street Bridge, the traditional location for hiring a punt to go to Grantchester. The river offers scope to do a long swim downstream from Grantchester all the way to Newnham. The Red Lion gastropub and the Orchard Tea Garden in Grantchester make good stops for refreshments. Have you been to the Lake District? If you want to do some hiking you could also go up highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike. Your perfect dog-friendly escape in Cardiff awaits! Before I had my rescue dog, Ivan, I didn’t think Cardiff was dog-friendly. How wrong was I? So, the dog friendly hotels in Cardiff include national chain hotels, budget brands, pubs and country houses. The Copthorne Easedale Tarn’s “undulating bottom provides fascinating viewing thanks to the water clarity; keep an eye out for marauding shoals of colourful, stripey perch in warmer weather which provides a tropical feel unusual in a northern wild swim”. The famous wild swimmers of South Devon and Dartmoor share their favourite walks with a dip. Featuring wild waterfalls, secret lakes, river meadows and sandy seaside secret beaches.

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South Wales is the perfect place for open water swimming. Whether in the countryside or on the coast, the country is brimming with plunge pools, luscious lakes, relaxing rivers, wonderful waterfalls and seaside surf. Ditch the leisure centres and find out where you can go wild swimming in South Wales. The inviting view of Derwentwater is ever present during the walk and to swimmers the aerial view of its bays and islands below are fascinating. Upon descending the fellside, the serious task of exploring the bays and islands from the water can get underway. Cover open wounds – if you must swim whilst you have an injury ensure its covered to avoid infection

The Copthorne, part of Millennium Hotels and Resorts, is a traditional 4-star hotel in Cardiff that is ideally located between the city centre and the coast of Barry Island. Specifically, it is ideal for business travellers, couples or families; it is a perfect base. Presently, you can expect free Wi-Fi, an indoor pool and modern in-room amenities. The surrounding areas miles north of Tregaron leave B4343 at Ffair-Rhos, turning by Teifi Inn for SY25 6BW. Continue 3¾ miles, climbing high into the hills. 52.2912, -3.7738

History of the Land

Wild swimming has grown in popularity over the last few years, yet many wild swimming spots remain unknown. What is a wild swim? Essentially it is swimming outdoors in natural spaces. Cold water swimming activates endorphins, the chemical in our brain that makes us feel good. As well as being great exercise, many cite it has improved their mental health. Outdoor Swimming Wales Heading west out of Betws on A5, take left to park in Rhes Dolydd street (LL24 0BU). Cross A5 and continue on 50m to find steps down to river and bridge. 53.0962, -3.8238. Cyfyng is well used by local lads in summer, but sometimes fenced (53.0958, -3.8904 – accessible off A5 but with no path).

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