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Wild swimming in Shropshire

Posted by Katy Peck on 6 January 2022
Related property: Upper Norton
Man in Shropshire lake

Wild swimming is really starting to take off, with a number of books out there dedicated to finding that ideal outdoorsy spot to take a dip. There's something very freeing about swimming amongst nature, and visitors to our Upper Norton property will have plenty of chances to get in on the action!

So, why not experience stunning Shropshire from some of the loveliest little natural hotspots and enjoy the charms of the great outdoors? Here we have a look at the below spots, all recommended by Wild Swimming.

 

What is Wild Swimming?

Put simply, wild swimming is swimming outside in any natural pool of water, be it a river, a lake or the sea, without any man-made structures. While it has long been popular, even the norm, in Europe, it has recently had a huge surge in popularity in the UK.

Benefits of wild swimming

If you can handle the cold (and, being England, it can get chilly!) then there are lots of benefits to wild swimming. Firstly, it’s very good for you! Taking the dive in the great outdoors has been shown to boost your immune system. The cold water increases your white blood cells, activates endorphins and improves circulation. Meanwhile, swimming itself is notably healthy pastime, providing a low-impact cardio activity that boosts endurance and muscle strength.

Wild swimming is also often very good for your mental health. Combining the endorphin rush with being out in nature, it’s a great way to enjoy the moment and be more mindful.

Is wild swimming safe?

One very common question is whether wild swimming is safe. Like any activity involving bodies of water, it does have some risks, from currents and tides to dirty waters. However, if you look at the statistics, wild swimming is actually lower risk than many water sports – the important thing is being responsible and learning how to assess any dangers and risks.

There are a lot of things to keep in mind while swimming in nature. Bodies of water such as shallow lakes and river pools are the safest places for beginners, but even those need to be examined and accessed before jumping in. Knowing your own limits, making sure you prepare properly and doing your research are all vital in ensuring you have a safe and enjoyable swim. For more information, make sure to check the Wild Swimming website.

Wild swimming tips

Have you we piqued your interest? Before you get started, take a look at the below tips to make sure you have the best, and safest, time possible.

1. Scope out your potential swimming spot before you swim. See how cold it is, whether the water is moving and how fast, if there’s any obstacles. If possible, choose a spot that other swimmers have used and know, or at the very least make sure to take a friend along with you.

2. Get in very slowly, splashing the water on your arms, shoulders and face to try and minimise the initial shock of the cold. Take some deep breaths and take your time.

3. Don’t feel like you have to stay in for a long time. Be sensible, especially if it’s one of your first times as the extreme temperatures take a while to get used to.

4. Have layers ready for when you get out, including a wooly hat. You want to keep warm, but avoid warming up too quickly. A hot sugary drink and a walk are a great way to keep the body generating heat.

5. Most important – do your research! Take some time to browse the Wild Swimming website, which has lots of important information for both experienced and novice swimmers.

Now, let's take a look at some of our favourite wild swimming spots in Shropshire...

Carding Mill Valley

Carding Valley is a wonderful place to enjoy a quick dip! The National Trust-owned reservoir is accessed from a stone beach and can get quite deep, but provides a popular and enjoyable place to swim. It helps that the surroundings are so peaceful - the area is overlooked by the peaks of the Long Mynd and surrounded by silver birch trees.

Carding Mill is also very well equipped, with wild swimming safety notices, emergency equipment and National Trust rangers close to hand. There is also a tea room with both indoor and outdoor seating and a National Trust car park, which is open all year round and costs £5. The site and the car park are open dawn until dusk, but it’s worth checking the café and toilet opening hours on the website.

The River Lugg at Mortimer’s Cross

This lovely part of the River Lugg, located above shingle banks, is very private and hence provides a peaceful, unspoiled spot to swim. You'll find the spot by following a footpath down the eastern bank of the river, just half a mile downstream of the B4362 bridge, which provides a good place to park.

This part of the river has a few deep pools, but not enough for most people to get out of their depth. It also have very little in terms of facilities, so be sure to swim with company and bring your own flask of tea!

Lugg Meadows near Hereford

Just outside of Hereford you'll find lovely large meadows cut through by the gently meandering River Lugg. This is a good one for a longer swim or just a peaceful dip, and there's shelved gravel entry points too. The tranquil, idyllic surroundings are the perfect backdrop to your swim, while the meadow itself is a lovely spot to enjoy a picnic while you dry off!

If you’re arriving at Lugg Meadows by car, the best place to park is off the A438, near the Cock of Tupsley pub. There is a lane opposite the park which leads directly onto the meadow.

The River Teme at Leintwardine

Even in the summer this is still a nice quiet spot. The River Teme and the River Clun meet here and provide a great spot for paddling: the water is generally clear and shallow, making it a great choice for beginners. Please note some areas get deeper very quickly, particularly downstream where the rivers meet. There are also currents here which are important to take note of before you jump in.

When it comes to parking, there is usually space just north of the Teme Bridge, beside the village green. You can then wander across the bridge and reach the swimming site through the style on the other side of the river. This spot is also great for those looking to round off an afternoon with a pub visit - The Sun Inn is a 10-minute walk and The Lion is just 2 minutes away with great food. Visit www.suninn-leintwardine.co.uk and www.thelionleintwardine.co.uk for more info.

River Wye at Symonds Yat, Herefordshire

To find this swimming spot, simply follow the signs to Symonds Yat West. Bear left and downwards and you'll come to the small sandy bay. Meadows surround it and there are large rocks on the far bank. The river here has easy entry and exit points, and the wild array of wildlife is sure to keep nature-lovers entertained as they navigate the water.

Click on the maps for more detail, but please bear in mind that these are just a rough guide and should only be used as an estimate when you're heading out on your adventures!

Discover Upper Norton for yourself and all that Shropshire has to offer. Simply pop your details in at the bottom of the page. Or if you have any other wild swimming suggestions, I'd love to hear about them!

Katy Peck

Katy Peck

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