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Person wild swimming in a rural area

Six wild swimming spots for your bucket list

Wild swimming in natural pools, ponds, lakes and rivers is one of the best ways to deepen your connection with nature. Swimming is proven to improve mental health, and when you combine this brilliant form of exercise with fresh air and spectacular surroundings, you get the ultimate endorphin high. We’ve rounded up six of the coolest wild swimming spots in the UK where you’ll find Canopy & Stars glamping places conveniently close by for a feel-good getaway. We know you’re a sensible bunch, but we’ve got to say it, always follow the relevant health and safety advice when wild swimming.

Sharrah Pool, Dartmoor

A calm stretch of water in between two dramatic cascades, Sharrah Pool in Dartmoor is often described as the perfect spot for adventurous wild swimmers. The water is crystal clear and reflects the brilliant colours of the trees on the gorge walls that surround it. Park at Newbridge car park in the River Dart Country Park and you’ll come across this special spot on a 6.8km circular woodland walk. The large boulders dotted along the shore make convenient stepping stones to access the water and you can bask on them with a thermos of coffee afterwards. Stay thirty minutes away at Ark at Leewood, a safari tent where you can keep your swimming momentum going with bracing dips in the pretty stretch of river that runs nearby. Fuel your exertions with feasts cooked up in the outdoor kitchen before stargazing under dark skies until your eyelids droop.

Keepers Pond, Abergavenny

A man-made lake built in 1817 to power the iron forge below, Keepers Pond has sweeping views of Sugar Loaf and The Black Mountains. You can park right next to it and warm up with a walk on The Blorenge mountain before going for a dip. On certain winter days, a wood fired mobile sauna, Y Sawna, pulls up by the water’s edge and you can pre-book 15-minute sessions for some hot-cold therapy that will get the blood pumping. Stay half an hour away at The Stripy Bothy, a colourful retreat in the Usk Valley that feels more like a quirky art gallery inside, thanks to the creative flair of the owners. You can spend your days learning new skills on a floristry course or beginner’s pottery lesson, or just lounge in the outdoor tub and listen to the chickens clucking.

Person wild swimming in Keeper's Pond

Three Shires Head, Peak District

A picturesque gem, iconic Three Shires Head has some of the cleanest, clearest water in the Peak District, running straight down off the hills. You’ll be plunging into pools and under cascading waterfalls near the listed packhorse bridge where the counties of Derbyshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire meet. Best reached on foot, park at The Cat and Fiddle pub on the A537 Buxton Road, then follow the signposted path over the moors, stopping in at the Three Shires Head for a pint on your way back. Warm up in your private hot tub or in the sauna at Beechwood Shepherd’s Hut when you get home. The bright, spacious hut is nestled on the Uppergate Farm estate where there’s a games room, pool and a handy pub only 15 minutes’ walk away.

Barcombe Mills, East Sussex

Just north of Lewes in East Sussex, Barcombe Mills is a deep, fresh 5 km stretch of the River Ouse, perfect for an al-fresco swim. You might spot a few boats and trout fishers as you glide through the water, but it’s a pretty secluded spot with plenty of bridges and weirs for pit stops. For a post-swim picnic, there’s a nice area near the Anchor Pub Inn and you can supplement your lunch with chips and a pint ordered from the bar.

Two people wild swimming together

Rydal Water, The Lake District

As Cumbrian lakes go, Rydal Water is relatively small but it’s a wonderfully peaceful place for a wild swim. Sheltered on all sides, the water is still and fairly shallow making it feel slightly warmer than other swimming spots. Park in the car park and walk to the shelving beach on the far side of the lake which has picnic-friendly grassy banks. Once you’ve emerged from your scenic dip, complete the circular route around Rydal Water to enjoy the glorious scenery for a bit longer. Stay less than an hour away in Raven’s Crag, a converted 17th-century barn with sweeping views over Lakeland mountains to the Irish Sea. Walk the trails through woods and fields, wave at the Herdwick sheep and spend long, lazy evenings round the wood burner with a pile of board games.

Linn of Tummel, Perthshire

Hardy souls who have a few wild swims under their belts should head for the Linn of Tummel in the Highlands. Linn means ‘deep pool’ in Gaelic and the water is definitely on the bracing side as a result, but the incredible scenery distracts from the temperature. The pool is surrounded by Rowan trees, Scots pines and spectacular rivers with the chance to spot red squirrels, leaping salmon and otters. Stay an hour’s drive away at Bruadar, a remote shepherd’s hut in a beautiful Scottish glen with views of the Cairngorms on the horizon. It’s off-grid with a river running close by if you fancy another dip now you’ve acclimatised. If you choose to race down to the banks in your birthday suit, no-one will ever know.