When the sun comes out, UK natives tend to lose the plot. They dress inappropriately and look for somewhere, anywhere, to cool off. The heat wave we’ve been hoping for has finally happened this summer, and a wild swimming craze has taken hold. Daniel Start has written a helpful series of wild swimming guides (details below), telling us of the most beautiful—and most safe—places to swim. Here Daniel talks us through a few of his favorite swimming holes in the UK and France.
1. Pamphill, Dorset Stour (UK)
The Stour is one of England’s iconic rural rivers. At Pamphill the river opens up in wonderful, wide meanders with a deep ford and a bridge. Float downstream for miles on the sun-dappled current as mayflies dance and fronds of water buttercup tickle your toes. Follow path upstream from small carpark outside Pamphill village, near Wimbourne Minster.
2. Faerie Pools, Glen Brittle, Isle of Skye, Scotland (UK).
Famous “Allt Coir a Mhadaidh” pools and waterfalls, tinged with pink and blue hues, set under the mystical peaks of the Black Cuillins. Crystal clear water and underwater arch to swim between pools. Shown above.
4. River Dart at Newbridge (UK).
River pools and sandy bays, oak gorges, and towering tors. The River Dart is the setting for Charles Kingsley’s The Waterbabies and one of the most beautiful wild-swimming rivers in the UK. Dense woodland tumbles down the side of the moor, a light spray lifts off the water and the forest twitters with birdsong.
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