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UK heatwave: Seven wild swimming hotspots in Lancashire

The UK is in the midst of a heatwave and many people are looking for new ways to cool off.

From indoor pools to beaches, there are plenty of place to go for a swim in Lancashire.

However, if you fancy an adventure and want to bring swimming back to basics then you need to try wild swimming.

Wild, or ‘open’, swimming is described as the practice or activity of swimming for pleasure in natural waters, typically rivers and lakes

We have compiled a list of some of the most popular wild swimming locations, as posted on various wild swimming groups on Facebook.

We have also included some information about how to stay safe while in the water.

How to stay safe while open swimming

If not done safely and correctly, open water swimming can prove to be dangerous.

If it’s your first time open water swimming or cold water dipping, it’s important to speak to a health care professional to discuss the risks of cold water immersion before you go. 

The RNLI has outlines some tips and advice on staying safe while open swimming.

They are:

  • Be prepared. Check the weather and tides, choose your spot, go with a buddy, have the right equipment.
  • If in doubt, don’t go out. No matter how much preparation you do, or how experienced you are, if a swim doesn’t feel right there is no shame in getting out of the water straight away, or not entering.
  • Make sure you acclimatise to avoid cold water shock.
  • Be seen. Wear a bright coloured swim hat and take a tow float.
  • Stay within your depths.
  • If you get tired, float on your back and signal for help.
  • Call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard in an emergency.

Wild swimming hotspots in Lancashire

1. Marles Wood

Location: Situated on Ribchester road from the Ribchester Bridge over the Ribble towards Whalley. 

Marles Wood offers scenic countryside views, making it popular for walkers and wild swimmers alike.

While here, you can take a dip in the River Ribble.

However, swimmers are advised not to do laps on the bend of the river due to the dangerous undercurrents.

2. Denny Beck

Location: Halton, Lancaster

This is a popular open-swimming location for the Morecambe and Lancashire open water swimmers, a group you can find on Facebook.

It’s a stretch of the River Line and typically easy to access.

They are typically spotted with Halton Bridge in the backdrop.

3. Capernway Diving Centre

Location: Capernway Road, Over Kellet

If you fancy open swimming in a slightly more controlled environment then this is the ideal choice.

According to their website, Capernway offers the finest freshwater diving and swimming experience in the UK- as it’s officially the second cleanest recreational beathing water in the UK.

However, access to the facilities will cost you and prices are as follows:

£15 for a year

£6 for a day (members)

£10 for a day (non-members)

4. Stonyhurst Dip
Just off Knowles Brow, Clitheroe

This swimming spot lets you relax in the River Hodder.

If you went to Stonyhurst School you may recognise it as it was an old swim spot used by the school.

Swimmers should swim anywhere upstream of the Weir.

5. Brungerley Bridge
Location: Brungerley Bridge near Waddow Hall, Clitheroe

Lancashire Telegraph: Photo © Steve Houldsworth (cc-by-sa/2.0)Photo © Steve Houldsworth (cc-by-sa/2.0)

If you are hoping to dip your feet in the water,  then Brungerley Bridge has been listed as a good site to visit in various open swimming forums.

6. Jackson’s Bank Wood
Location: near Balderstone and Jackson’s Banks Road

According to various wild swimming forums, there are a few river banks near Jackson’s Banks Road.

While here, you can take a dip in the River Ribble.

7. The River Wyre
near Dolphinholme, Lancashire.

There are plenty of great wild swimming spots located on the River Wyre, which stretched from the Bowland hills and reaches Fleetwood’s sea.

One avid open swimmer recommend people to explore the banks near Dolphinholme.

However, they warned that there might be eels in this river- so swim with caution.

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