Eight of the best wild swimming walks within easy reach of London

May 7, 2021 0 By JohnValbyNation

Hurrah it’s open-water swimming season again! The water’s warming up – slowly – and we think it’s time to winnow out some of this country’s best wild swimming spots.

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So we’ve asked the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond Association, authors of Wild Swimming Walks (Wild Things Publishing, £14.99), to share their favourite country walks with us – each one featuring a recommended wild swim…

>>> 220’s guide to the UK’s best open-water swimming venues

Shepreth to Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

Maps: OS Landranger 154 (Cambridge & Newmarket) or OS Explorer 209 (Cambridge). 

A 9.5 mile walk. From Shepreth train station, follow the signposted footpaths through Barrington, Harston, Hasslingfield and then onto Grantchester. The River Cam can be followed into Cambridge. The River Cam is a clear river with a modest current, and offers scope to do a long swim downstream from Grantchester all the way to Newnham. 

Farnham to Frensham Great Pond

Map: OS Landranger 186 (Aldershot and Guildford); OS Explorer 145 (Guildford and Farnham); for the Bentley option only, OS Explorer 144 (Basingstoke). 

An 8 mile walk from Farnham Station. The main swim is in Frensham Great Pond, and there are also swims in the young River Wey. Follow the North Downs Way along the River Wey, then join the Surrey Cycleway Link before your fist swim in Tilford. You can then follow a track to Frensham Great Pond.

Southease to Newhaven

Map: OS Landranger 198 (Brighton & Lewes); OS Explorer 123 (Eastbourne & Beachy Head). The hamlet of Southease is on Explorer 122, not 123, but is easy to find without the second map.