I love wild swimming. Nothing feels better (and often colder) than jumping into fresh water somewhere unofficial! Mine and Joel’s first adventure was at the source of Lake Windemere in the Lake District, we hiked, followed our brief guide notes and found the most freezing, beautiful pool and natural water slide at Rydel Beck. I was hooked.
Here’s my guide to the best wild (and wildish) swimming spots in Cambridge:
Newnham Riverbank Club
This gem is a bit of a secret society and I’m not a member, but my friend Harriet is who tells me it’s a wonderful place, with steps in and out of the river Cam. It is run by a bunch of friendly aged nudists, so if you’re not liberally minded this might not be the spot. Membership is about £20 a year and I think you can join by knocking on the gate or calling the number on the gate.
For those happy to go unofficial, a little along from the above on Grantchester Meadows is a great wild swimming spot, just by the broad meadow and where the river is wide and gently bending. Apart from some sludge it’s perfectly safe to swim.
Jesus green lido
Not so ‘wild’ but this outdoor pool in the city centre is a gem. Opened in 1923 you can go as a family or on your own. just bring a second adult to handle unruly toddlers!
Again, not too ‘wild’ but this spot is great for a picnic and paddling pool session. It reminds me of the sweeping paddling pools of my childhood, and with parking and amenities it’s pretty handy (plus it’s free).
Dos and don’ts of wild swimming:
- Do plan your exit
- Do ask others swimming if there are any dodgy / shallow bits
- Don’t get in slowly – run, jump and scream!
- Don’t fret about mud, if you’ve got issues with dirt stick to the pool
- Do break the rules a little, you don’t have to stick to designated spots if the mood takes you!