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Should you be so taken with wild swimming that, on your return home, you find yourself with a yearning to get wild and wet then read on as we look at some UK watering holes that will satisfy your soul. Although the water temperature may be a tad lower than you have been used to!


Kelmscott, River Thames, Oxfordshire

Above Oxford the Thames valley winds through some of the most undeveloped countryside in southern England. Here you will find kingfishers and otters, and mile-upon-mile of open fields and meadow. This is a lovely place for a secret swim from the reedy banks, and only a mile upstream is the fun pool at Buscot, where you will find several rope swings. Three miles east of Lechlade. There is parking in the field near Plough Inn (GL7 3HG, 01367 253 543). Follow the track to, and then beyond, Kelmscott Manor, to the river.

Lacock Abbey, Avon, Wiltshire

In Lacock village you will find a little known meadow with a river beach, with a view back to the glorious abbey. Further along is a leaning tree with rungs up its trunk helping you to climb up and over the river to jump down into the pool below. Check the depth first! From main National Trust car park turn right and continue 500m on the lane to find a footpath on the left, between the two bridges. 51.4146, -2.1150

Welford-on-Avon, Warwickshire

Avon actually means ‘river’ in old English, so don’t confuse the Warwickshire Avon with those in Hampshire, Somerset or Devon. A line of thatched cottages leads down to a riverside path, with a weir and lush green banks upstream. From here you can follow a river path all the way to Shakespeare’s Stratford and take your pick of places to dip. 4 miles W of Stratford. From the Bell Inn (CV37 8EB, 01789 750353) pass the church and follow Boat Lane.


Crummock Water, Lake District

Crummock water is the perfect wild swimmers lake: motorised boats are forbidden and it’s well away from the tourist crowds. For a quick dip, the silvery beaches below Wood House, at the south of the lake, are perfect. For a longer expedition, follow the river path from Buttermere village, head to the mighty waterfall of Scale Force, and continue along the western lake shore, swimming wherever you please – though Low Ling Crag is my favourite place. Set off from the behind the hotel and car park in tiny Buttermere and follow the footpath alongside the campsite.

Achmelvich, Lochinver, Scotland

At Achmelvich the shell white tropical sand is brought in drifts by the Gulf Stream ocean currents. The water here is a perfect blue, and even on the dullest days the sand manages to glow beneath the waves. For absolute seclusion bear right and continue on foot for 20 minutes, where you will find several more sandy coves. Four miles from Lochinver and signed off the B869. Turn left and left again to find parking and the campsite (IV27 4JB).

Sally Tertini is the author of Wild Swimming Sydney Australia: 250 Best Rock Pools, Beaches, Rivers and Waterholes (Daniel Start is author of Wild Swimming, Hidden Beaches and the Wild Guide series. 

WildThingsPublishing.com


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