Open Water Swimming Spots - Up North(ish)
If you’re planning a wild swimming adventure, take the necessary safety precautions: never venture into the water on your own, be prepared for very cold water, stay close to the shore, avoid strong currents and don’t stay in too long unless it’s a particularly hot day. Fancy diving in and giving it a go? Here are six of the best spots in the north of England.
uSwim Boundary Park / Salford Quay
Not so much wild swimming as uSwim provide structured, safe sessions - but a personal favourite and our local club. Boundary Park is a gorgeous lake near to Holmes Chapel, Cheshire and is a popular and picturesque outdoor swimming location with excellent water quality that attracts swimmers from across the Northwest of England to its twice-weekly coached sessions.
Salford Quays is probably the premier open water swimming destination in the Greater Manchester area. It’s an interesting venue right beside the vibrant MediaCity complex, with two sessions a week organised by uSwim who offer changing facilities and bag storage, three sessions available with Great Swim Local and other sessions hosted by Salford Community Leisure – there’s plenty going on!
There is a charge for both either through a membership or £10(ish) pay on the day but if you are a beginner this is perfect as there is always a dedicated lifeguard in the water with you.
Find out more here: https://www.uswimopenwater.com
Gadding’s Dam, Todmorden
This one is no secret and unless you're a hardy cold water swimmer, you may have to grapple your way through the crowds in summer. HOWEVER - it is so worth it. Discover England’s highest beach in the most unlikely of locations, at the top of a towering hill just above Todmorden in the Calder Valley. Park your car at the Shepherd’s Rest pub and follow the steep trail directly up the hill behind to discover a hidden haven. Complete with an actual sandy beach, Gadding’s Dam offer clean water perfectly suitable for swimming, thanks to a group of locals who cleaned up the area back in 2001.
Galleny Force, Stonethwaite, Borrowdale
The Lake District makes a list like this difficult in the best type of way - mainly because there is SO. MUCH. CHOICE. Galleny Force offers impressive waterfalls alongside peaceful swimming spots. There are a couple of pools to swim in, the top pools being much more popular while the lower pools are often quiet. To discover this special swimming spot, walk through the woods from Stonethwaite camp site for just half a mile. You can stroll a little further to take a leap of faith into the Black Moss pot for a more dramatic wild swimming experience.
Situated in the south Lakeland area, the stretch of the River Lune close to the small village of Killington is ideal for a refreshing swim. Park as close to the bridge as possible and walk upstream, keeping your eyes peeled for an easy route down through the trees to the river below. There’s no beach area, so you’ll have to gracefully (clamber) over the large rocks and ease yourself directly into the water, which is deep and fast-moving, but also clean and clear. Float into the rapids for a natural Jacuzzi, or swim back down towards the bridge – just be prepared to fight the current on the way back.
Tongue pot, Upper Eskdale
One of the most beautiful wild swimming spots in the Lake District. To find the pool, drive past the Woolpack Inn in Boot and follow the path along the river for two miles until you reach a bridge. Thank us later ☺️
A popular swimming spot on warm summer’s days, Pickmere is a favoured wild swimming spot for those in the know. Although the local residents may argue otherwise - Pickmere is free game for swimming and watersports. Just be respectful, tidy up after yourself and enjoy!
Comment below your personal favourites!