Where to go wild swimming in the Cotswolds

bexwalton, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Wild swimming is a summer treat. Pictured: River Windrush - Credit: bexwalton, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Whether you're a seasoned wild swimmer or a curious first timer, find out where to go wild swimming safely and legally in the Cotswolds with our guide

Wild swimming has risen in popularity over the past year as more people experience the health and wellbeing benefits of taking a dip in nature's waters. The reported health benefits of wild swimming include reduction of body pain, boosting your immune system, improved circulation and metabolism, among other things.

If you want to try out wild swimming, here's our pick of some beauty spots to try.

NB: This is just a guide so please check the area you are planning to swim for any restrictions or private land.

Cotswold Country Park and Beach

With a choice of a 400 or 800-metre open water swimming course, a splash at the Cotswold Country Park and Beach will leave you refreshed and invigorated. Who said you need to go to the coast to enjoy the beach? Visitors can enjoy the sandy shores at the park or hire a BBQ for the perfect summer picnic after a dip in the lagoon. Kids will love the AquaVenture experience, a giant inflatable obstacle course.

Book activities including swimming online before your visit. Pay as you go swimming costs £5 per session with a £10 joining fee for first-timers.


Minster Lovell, River Windrush

For a peaceful dip in the River Windrush, head to the pretty Cotswold village of Minster Lovell and the ruins of Minster Lovell Hall. The river is one metre deep so this is more for a casual dip near the beautiful ruins of a 15th century manor house.

Bring a picnic and sit on the banks of the river for the perfect summer day enjoying nature.


Buscot Weir

For a picturesque swimming spot, head to Buscot Weir on the River Thames. Surrounded by greenery in the summer, this lock that cascades over a fall is deep enough for a good swim in some lovely clean water.

Parking is available nearby and a tearoom can provide post-swim refreshments. You can find Buscot Weir at Lechlade-on-Thames, Faringdon SN7 8DA.


Cheese Wharf

Just down the river from Buscot Weir is Cheese Wharf. Named as such because of its history as a river loading dock that transported tonnes and tonnes of cheese every day, this deep pool is a great place for some wild swimming.

For the brave swimmers, there are rope swings to play on and plenty of foliage to cool down in the shade (maybe with a picnic!).


Stonesfield, Evenlode

At a little footbridge over the River Evenlode in the village of Stonesfield is a shallow part of the river that is perfect for wild paddling. Kids will enjoy splashing around in a safe place that is never deeper than 80cm.

Unusually, this is the site of the first ever dinosaur discovery and is a great place to scavenge for fossils. Be aware of which areas are private and which are public when visiting.


River Windrush near Widford

There are many places along the River Windrush to take a dip when you follow the footpath from St Oswald's Church in Widford and head towards Burford.

Another shallow place that is great for a summer's day out with the kids.

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