Are you ready to immerse yourself in the wonders of nature in the heavenly destination known as God's own country? Yorkshire, with its vast expanse, is divided into several counties, ranging from the coastal beauty of the East Riding of Yorkshire to the vibrant cities of South, West, and North Yorkshire.
Throughout the breadth and width of this remarkable region, numerous breathtaking spots await for those seeking the thrill of wild swimming. Allow us to unveil our handpicked favourites just for you.
Wild Swimming Equipment
When embarking on an open water swim in the picturesque Yorkshire countryside, your safety should be a top priority. To ensure a secure experience, it is crucial to adhere to safety guidelines, carry appropriate equipment, and assess weather and water conditions, especially in cases of heavy rain that may render river swimming perilous.
Essential items to pack:
- Visibility-enhancing gear: Enhancing your visibility in the water is vital for both avoiding watercraft and facilitating rapid rescue during emergencies. Thus, it is imperative to wear brightly coloured tow floats or dry bags, along with a swim cap.
- Warm clothing: Cold water temperatures pose risks, so wearing a wetsuit and a swimming cap can help mitigate them by providing some insulation. Additionally, it is essential to pack warm clothing for post-swim activities, such as a cozy hat and a jumper.
- Location: Linton/Grassington
The River Wharfe flows between the villages of Linton and Grassington, offering several weirs and waterfalls in the vicinity of Linton Falls. For an optimal swimming experience, head to the area above the larger weir.
Meanwhile, the children can enjoy sliding down the polished chute near the dilapidated millhouse (remember to bring inflatables).
Enhance your swim by leisurely strolling along the riverbank to visit the historic 12th-century church and have fun hopping across the stepping stones to reach the opposite bank.
- Location: Threshfield
Upstream from Grassington Weir, past station road bridge, just before the bend in the river, you’ll find Ghaistrill’s Strid. This rocky area of the river has some rapids which are fun but can be dangerous so be careful.
The main swimming area is below the rapids with a good size area of water to get in some laps.
It’s also worth bringing your snorkel to explore the rocks around the river edge and riverbed.
- Location: Todmorden
Our upcoming destination for wild swimming is Gaddings Dam reservoir, located near the border of Lancashire and West Yorkshire.
This spot offers a small sandy area known as Todmorden Beach, providing easy access to the water.
However, due to the reservoir's elevated position in the moorland, the water tends to be colder, and reaching the water requires a steep uphill walk.
Nevertheless, the breathtaking views of Yorkshire make it a worthwhile experience.
To reach Gaddings Dam, there are multiple routes available. One option is to park near Shepherd's Rest Inn (excluding their car park).
However, parking is extremely limited, and it is important not to block the narrow road used by buses and emergency vehicles.
Additionally, this route has experienced some erosion, so alternative routes are being recommended for walkers.
We recommend taking a 4.5-mile walk from Walsden to reach the reservoir. Parking is easier in this area, as you can park on one of the side streets in the village.
From there, you can proceed along Birks Lane to Hollingworth Lane, and then turn onto Salter Rake Gate, following the footpath through the moorland.
Wain Wath Waterfall
- Location: Keld
Nestled within the Yorkshire Dales National Park in North Yorkshire, lies a beloved outdoor swimming spot. Wain Wath Waterfall, a 3-meter high cascade, boasts a serene plunge pool perfect for leisurely laps.
Its wide and deep waters beckon swimmers, while the rocky beach on the opposite side offers convenient access (don't forget your swimming shoes!).
Additionally, there is a grassy area nearby, ideal for picnics. On less crowded days, parking spaces can be found along the road, merely a 30-second stroll from the pool.