Life
Adam Leyland and Danny McCance 7 Jul 2017 10:10am

Six of the best: wild swimming destinations

As we continue to simmer in what is shaping up to be one of the hottest summers on record, a small respite from the sun in the form of a bracing swim may be just what the doctor ordered

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Caption: Few UK destinations offer such stunning scenery in which to swim as Wastwater (Photography: Wild Swimming).

Britain is home to some remarkable destinations in which to dabble in some wild swimming. So grab your towel (and waterproof sun tan lotion) and give one of these a visit.

St Nectan's Glen, Cornwall

This ancient woodland stretches for around one mile along both banks of the Trevillet River and is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. However the glen’s most prominent feature is St Nectan’s Kieve, a spectacular 60ft waterfall, which flows through a circular hole and drops into a plunge pool, in which keen swimmers can enjoy a dip in its crystal-clear shallow waters.

Entrance fee to the waterfall is £4.95 for adults and £3.70 for children. See here for more information.

Henrhyd Falls, Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales

Doubling as Batman's hideout in the blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises, southern Britain’s tallest waterfall is also one of the easiest falls to reach. A steep walk down steps from the National Trust-run car park will bring visitors face-to-face with this jaw-dropping cascade, plunging 27m into a wooded gorge. The spectacular waterfall is a haven for keen swimmers and the surrounding Graigllech Woods are a haven for wildlife.

Wastwater, Lake District

Few UK destinations offer such stunning scenery in which to swim as Wastwater. Surrounded by mountains including England’s largest peak, Scafell Pike, this three-mile lake is the deepest in England and is a popular location for swimming enthusiasts. For those with children, look no further than Wasdale Head, a short walk north east of the lake. Known as the Blue Lagoon by the valley rangers, this clear blue pool is only 4ft deep and perfect for the little ones, according to the National Trust.

Fairy Pools, Carbost, Isle of Skye

Located in the south west of the rugged Scottish Isle, the fairy pools are a hidden delight for intrepid wild water enthusiasts. The idyllic pools that give the location its fantastical name are beautiful, if not exceedingly chilly. The walk from the car park signposted as Glumagan Na Sithichean on the road between Carbost and Glenbrittle gives fantastic views of the Black Cuillins and the River Brittle, which feeds the pools. From the path the first waterfall marks the entrance to the mystical kingdom.

Salmon Leaps, Castle Drogo, Dartmoor

Beneath Castle Drogo, sitting along the northern edge of Dartmoor, the River Teign carves an expansive wooded gorge. Salmon leap is located in this gorge, between the Iron Bridge and Castle Drogo Weir. In autumn the spot becomes abundant with leaping salmon on their way to their spawning ground, hence the name. The spot can be approached from various directions, including from Dogmarsh Bridge from the west and from Castle Drogo itself. If you approach from the east, on your return you can stop of for a bite to eat and a well-earned pint at the Fingle Bridge Inn.

Maghery Bay, Lough Neagh, Northern Ireland

Being the UK's largest lake by area, Lough Neagh might seem imposing to your average swimmer. However, situated on the south east side of the lake, Maghery Bay is a perfect place for wild swimming, being both relatively shallow and shielded from the greater Lough by Coney Island. A confident swimmer can take on the 1km swim to Coney Island itself; however on the opposite side to the bay and the entrance to the greater lough things get significantly wilder. For a complete exploring experience wild camping is possible at the former Maghery caravan site, just 40 minutes drive from Belfast International Airport.