Best Places For Wild Swimming in England

Henleaze Lake - flckr - nicksarebi

Before chlorinated swimming pools and overpriced spas, there really was only one way to cool off: wild swimming. Skinny dipping may generally be frowned upon by the masses, but that doesn't stop nearly 2% of the population shedding their clothes for a wild swim during the summer months.

Clean, safe and generally quite accessible for those who don't mind a short walk, there are numerous concealed plunge pools, coves and cavernous streams dotted about the UK where swimming au naturel is entirely possible. If you're feeling adventurous, take the plunge with our guide to Britain's secret coast, plus a few other scenic locations ideal for a summer dip!


Hatchmere Lake, Delamere Forest, Cheshire
Britain may be privy to the occasional Mediterranean summer, but at Hatchmere, the water remains at a consistent 20 degrees whether or not the sky is overcast. Not far from Delamere Forest in the heart of rural Cheshire, this former sinkhole is a mecca for families with children throughout the summer months. A swathe of sandy shoreline next to the Carrier's Inn at Norley is the most accessible point for swimmers, offering a gentle sandy slope for paddling if you'd rather not get your hair wet!  Holiday homes in Cheshire


Treyarnon Bay, North Cornwall
With vast expanses of pristine golden sand and numerous curious rock pools to delight children, it's not surprising that Treyarnon Bay is regarded one of Cornwall's premier family beaches. But look beyond the family idyll toward the cliffs and you'll find a host of larger pools ideal for summer bathing. An amphitheatre of rocks just beneath the Youth Hostel encloses one of Treyarnon's largest pools which is dammed at one end to prevent drainage. Even at low tide, this vast rock pool is of a good swimming depth for adults and children alike! Cottages in Cornwwall


Linhope Spout, Ingram, Northumberland
No jaunt among the Cheviot Hills would be complete without a trip to the acclaimed Linhope Spout Falls. Enclosed by a series of dramatic cliffs at the heart of the Breamish Valley, Linhope Burn is the highlight of the scenic three mile hike from Hartside. With a two metre ledge situated directly above the expansive pool, Linhope Spout is as popular for free diving as it is for wild swimming, affording good depth and few rocks posing any immediate danger. If you don't fancy clambering the steep slope to get onto the ledge, the shoreline opposite is quite accessible and relatively free of algae and surface flora if you fancy a paddle.   Northumberland holiday cottages.


The Erme, Ivybridge, Devon
At first glance it might seem a little boisterous, but wander beyond the 19th Century viaduct at the heart of Ivybridge village and you'll find a relatively secluded pool beneath an arboretum of towering oaks. Situated just 50 metres upstream from the miniature weir, Lover's Pool offers quietude and privacy ideal if you fancy swimming in the buff. If you want complete seclusion, mosey on up to Trinnaman's Pool above the weir. Fed by an abundant waterfall, it's the closest thing to a natural jacuzzi you're ever likely to experience.   Cottages South Devon.


Bude Sea Pool, Summerleaze Beach, Cornwall
Before 1930, Bude Sea Pool was little more than a large natural crater, fed by the huge swells crashing over the rocks to the East. That was until a local family saw its potential for the ladies accompanying their gentlemen to the beach. The vast crater was promptly lined and reinforced with steel girders, then concreted around the perimeter for comfortable paddling. A semi-natural asset for over 60 years, this intriguing 'sea pool' continues to be a popular draw during the summer months. Diving is strictly prohibited for health and safety reasons.  Cornwall cottages.


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