Wild Swimming


Wild Swimming with Daniel Start

We have picked 12 of our favourite swims from Daniel Start's Wild Swimming book

Whilst the Wild Swimming book has 400 British wild swimming locations, and also covers water activates for all the family to enjoy, we have gone through and tried to pick our favourite 12 locations by swim and activity type.

1. Best for paddling – mainly shallow & popular with families

Tilford, River Wey

Best for PaddlingBest for Paddling


Paddling and pools just downstream of the bridge. Village Green, cricket & pub.


2. Best for Literary Swims – Where famous poets, writers or artisits once swam

Grantchester Meadows

Best for Literary Swims Best for Literary Swims

Over 2 miles of meadows and swimming from Sheep’s Green down to the Orchard Tea Gardens in Granchester. Deep banks make this good for diving, but it can be muddy! Some weeds but clean.


3. Best for Skinny-dipping - Remote and secluded, perfect for a natural dip

Plodda Falls

Plodda FallsPlodda Falls


Beautiful stretch of river among woods of Scots pine in this famous glen. Good plunge pool in stretch above falls or deep canyon below falls. Also happens to be Scotland’s second highest waterfall!


4. Best for Picnics – Beautiful places, not far from parking with good picnic areas or grassy banks

Wolf’s Leap, on the River Irfon

Wolf's LeapWolf's Leap

A valley of wild beauty. A series of deep pools at the bottom of a narrow, sculpted slot gorge. Open, sunny with flat rocks.


5. Best for Train Access – Within walking distance of a train station

Wraysbury Lakes

Train accessTrain access


Vast area of wild gravel lakes a short walk from Wraysbury train station.


6. Best for Cycling – On dedicated cycle trails or routes.

Pangbourne, River Thames

River ThamesRiver Thames


Undeveloped and picturesque stretch of river along the edge of the Chiltern Hills with quick links into London. Clear with chalk beaches. Try the riverside walk and swim from Goring to Pangbourne on the north-east bank and return by train.


7. Best for Canoes & Boats – Good legal access with your canoe (or possibility to hire a boat)

Symonds Yat

Symonds yatSymonds yat

On the River Wye, Small sandy bay and meadows, shelving to pool with large rocks on far bank


8. Best for Pubs – A cosy, warming pub just a splash away

Higher Glen Etive Pools

best for Pubs – A cosy, warming pub just a splash away Higher Glen Etive Poolsbest for Pubs – A cosy, warming pub just a splash away Higher Glen Etive Pools

A dramatic glen with many wonderful pink rock river pools, easily accessible from the little road. Great wild camping. This first set of pools is one of the best in the country.


9. Best for Camping – Fantastic river or lakeside camping. Good for a moonlight swim perhaps?


Frensham Great Pond, Farnham


Sandy lake with beaches and buoyed-off swimming area. Sat among forest and open heathland. Parking, cafe and small museum which is popular with young families.


10. Best for Jumping – Mainly shallow and popular with families

Lacock Abbey


River beach below abbey and tree jumping 300m upstream into a deep pool.


11. Best for Tubing & Chutes – Great for playing in surf or current, or using a rubber ring

Belpool Island


Pretty wooded island and deep secret pool with an old iron ladder scaling the cliff.

12. Best for Waterfalls – Magically situated under waterfalls, big and small

The Witch’s Cauldron

The Witch’s CauldronThe Witch’s Cauldron

A series of three falls and pools set in quick succession by roadside with some interesting rock formations.


You can read about much more about all the researched Wild Swimming locations in the book, which is available to purchase here:

Shop Wild Swimming

10 ways to stay safe while wild Swimming:

10 ways to stay safe while wild Swimming:10 ways to stay safe while wild Swimming:

Page 264 & 266 has more detailed safety information as does www.wildswimming.co.uk

*All above details and locations, text taken from the Wild Swimming book by Daniel Start


Daniel Start also publishes a series of local Wild Guides which cover the best places to swim, both inland and at the coast in different regions of the UK, plus a new series of Wild Swimming Walks books which include walks and wild swims.


Wild SwimmingWild Swimming
Wild Swimming 2Wild Swimming 2

Zoggs readers can receive 20% off all Wild Things swimming and other adventure books with code Zoggs21 until 15th May at www.wildthingspublishing.com