What is Wild Swimming?

What is Wild Swimming?  

You’ll hear various terms for swimming in nature today which can seem like they are all saying the same thing.  They kind of are, but there are some subtle differences:


Outdoor Swimming

This is any swim or dip in water that is outdoors.  It includes swimming in natural bodies of water such as the sea, rivers and lakes and includes open-air lidos.


Open Water Swimming

This is a n outdoor swim in a natural body of water, but one that is at an organised venue.  You’ll see an organised access to the water, probably some marker buoys and whilst the venue is operating there will be safety cover.


Wild Swimming

This one is pretty much what you’d expect.  Any natural body of water that isn’t a ‘venue’ is a wild swimming spot.  From the sea, through rivers and lakes to quarries and small pools, when you swim wild, you swim closer to nature, but you also need to be aware of the risks and swim safely.


Cold Water Swimming

Cold water is anything below 20° C.  In the UK the sea will vary from around 5°C in winter to just about 20°C on a hot summer’s day.  Inland waters being smaller bodies of water than the sea and so subject to more effect from the weather conditions will vary slightly more.  Some lakes and streams will freeze in winter and hit as high as the mid 20’s in summer.  So, in short pretty much any outdoor water in the UK is cold water throughout the year. 

The buzz around outdoor swimming has been based on the positive effects that people have felt not only from being in nature, specifically ‘Blue’ spaces, but also from the effect that cold water has on our health and wellbeing.  The positive effects begin to happen when the water dips below 20°C and intensify as it gets colder.


  1. Thanks for the info!

  2. Thanks for your blog, nice to read. Do not stop.

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