• Swimming
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5 of the best places to walk and swim

By OS Team

Published on 4 min read


Try this summer’s new craze

​What could be better than walking to your favourite wild swimming spot, taking a refreshing dip and drying off on your walk back. This new fitness craze will see you exploring new places while staying fit and healthy throughout the summer. Here are some of our favourite wild swim walks.

walk and swim

Britain offers plenty of walking routes where you can experience both beautiful scenery as well as a perfect swimming spot. Some of Britain’s landscapes are even home to tumbling waterfalls, deep plunge pools and hidden gorges, so what’s stopping you?

Dive in!

1. Folkestone to Dover, Kent

  • Distance: 7.7 miles / 12.5km
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Swimming spot: Mermaid Beach or Sunny Sands
  • Parking: Plenty of parking available in Dover

Walk and Swim Folkestone to Dover, Kent

Path from Folkestone to Dover

With ample opportunity to take a dip, the walk from Folkestone to Dover is perfect and offers plenty of beautiful sea views. Starting at Folkestone station, you can encounter your first swim, whether that be Mermaid Beach near Mill Point, or Sunny Sands located on the other side of the harbour.

Once you’re ready get your feet on dry land again, you can either enjoy the stunning sea views by climbing up to the cliff tops to join the North Downs Way, passing the Battle of Britain Memorial and some fascinating World War II installations, or you can enter the Warren, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

This route takes you into an area of wild coastline and climbs the hidden paths that re-joins the North Downs way off the clifftop.

2. Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle, Isle of Skye

  • Distance: 4.5 miles / 7.2 km
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Swimming spot: Fairy Pools
  • Parking: Choice of two fairy pools car parks

Walk and swim Fairy Pools Glen Brittle Isle of Skye

Fairy Pools

A popular attraction and enticing visitors from around the world, especially in the summer months, the Fairy Pools in the Isle of Skye are well worth a visit. The beautifully clear blue pools are on the River Brittle, and if you’re brave enough to plunge into the cold water, are idea for a spot of wild swimming.

From its starting point, the road to Glen Brittle, the walk to the Fairy Pools involves a hike across the moors following the course of a stream where you will discover the waterfalls and pools – and the sight is no less than magical.

The waters are unbelievably tempting, and some pools are deep enough for underwater swimming, but be warned – the water is cold, so wetsuits are advised!

3. Ambleside to Loughrigg Tarn, the Lake District

  • Distance: 7.4 miles / 11.9 km
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Swimming spot: Loughrigg Tarn
  • Parking: Plenty of parking in Ambleside

Famous for its gorgeous clear waters, we couldn’t leave the Lake District off the list! This 7-mile walk from Ambleside is a popular one and, as it is suitable for all ages and abilities, is perfect for a family day out. Starting from Ambleside church, the walk takes you through Lily Tarn, an idyllic picnic spot, and ends with views down Windermere and over Ambleside.

Taking the signed path over the hills to Loughrigg Tarn will lead you the perfect location for a swim which is relatively warm, under the skyline of Langdale Pikes. Ambleside to Loughrigg Tarn Lake District

Views from Ambleside

4. Shepreth to Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

  • Distance: 9.7 miles / 15.7 km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Swimming spot: River Cam
  • Parking: Shepreth Station (fees apply)

The River Cam

River Cam, Cambridge

Starting at Shepreth train station, this 9.5-mile walk will take you through East Anglian farmland and quaint villages via Grantchester, to beautiful Cambridge where you can reward your efforts with a dip in the clear River Cam. Easy to navigate, signposted footpaths will lead the way through Barrington, Harston, Hasslingfield and towards Grantchester before letting the river direct you into the heart of Cambridge.

Passing Scudamore’s boat station, you could punt to Grantchester, or even do a long swim downstream from Grantchester to Newnham.

5. Teignmouth along the Dawlish Railway

  • Distance: 3 miles / 4.8 km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Swimming spot: Lea Mount
  • Parking: Plenty of parking available in Teignmouth

This walk along the South Devon Railway Sea Wall boasts amazing views over Dawlish as well as a stroll through Teignmouth’s Eastcliff Park, a designated Area of Great Landscape Value.

Running along the sea wall, the walk across Britain’s most photographed stretch of railway line ends at Dawlish Railway Station and has plenty of opportunities for a paddle or a swim along the way, including the beautiful Lea Mount which is popular with swimmers and sailors alike.

Dawlish Seafront

Dawlish Seafront

If you’re new to wild swimming, check out our beginner’s guide and don’t forget to pack your towel or changing robe!

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By OS Team


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