Swimming is a great way to relax and stay healthy. There are many spots in Yorkshire where you can swim out in open: in rivers, lakes and even the sea. It is great to include wild swimming on your Mindfulness Trail as it has been proven that swimming in cold water makes you healthier and happier! (Watch Dr Mark Harper talk about his experience here) Even if you don't quite feel up to swimming in cold British waters, it's great to look out to sea and watch the waves, listen to the sounds of waterfalls or go for a paddle. Remember to swim at your own risk, you know you're own abilities best and bare in mind other factors such as weather, water levels and tides. Be particularly careful swimming in the sea, make sure you know if it is safe to swim in the area, any currents you need to be aware of and never go on your own, leave a friend on shore to help in an emergency situation.
If you want to swim with the safety of a lifeguard this sandy beach in Bridlington is a good place to go. The beach is over a mile long and whilst it can be busy near the promenade you can find a quieter spot by walking further south. Lifegaurd patrols 10am-6pm everyday between 30th June and 2nd September.
The beautifully blue waters off North Landing are perfect for a coastal swim, and even offer the chance for snorkelling. The sandy beach and rockpools are also worth a visit and make it a great place to go, even just for a paddle!
Flamborough (Section A)
If you fancying swimming in the open air but prefer something a little warmer then Helmsley Open Air Pool may be just the thing! The pool is 25m and surrounded by fresh air and lawns, perfect for relaxing in between swims. It is run by a charity aimed at giving a 'holiday atmosphere' to the community. Be sure to check out their website for times of different swims and beware that you may have to pay by cash.
Helmsley Open Air Pool
In 2017 ranked by the telegraph as one of Britain's 20 best wild swimming spots, Gormire lake is a large and quiet lake hidden in braodleaved woodland. It is a breeding ground for coot, great crested mebe and mallard. This tranquil spot is a must for wild swimming lovers!
Sutton Bank (Section F)
Exciting rocky pools and rapids. Lower pools have interesting snorkelling and a large reach for a longer swim. Also little tubs of warmer standing water in rockpools. Upstream rapids have a chute which is fun on rings but be careful! Further downstream of the River Wharfe there are even more wild swimming spots so if you fancy straying further from the route check out some of these! Just beware of where the narrows near Bolton Abbey at a place called The Strid, rumoured to be on of the most dangerous stretches of water in the world, always talk to people and read up about the area before swimming in an unknown stretch of water.
Ghaistrill's Strid & the Wharfe
Near Grassington (Section K/L)
Although small, this charming pool offers the perfect place for a shady dip in refreshingly cool water. Set in a National Trust owned woodland this waterfall is rumoured to be the home to the fairy 'Janet' for whom it is named. The water is rich in lime which has led to a soft carpet of mossy tufa developing under the waterfall.
Malham (Section L)
A lovely spot for a wild swim with a series of pools and plunges for the truly adventurous. These cascades on the River Ribble can be found to the south of the old packhorse bridge. It can get busy in the summer so maybe best avoided on sunny bank holidays. For a truly magical visit go in Autumn where you may be lucky enough to see salmon leaping!
Settle (Section L)
Whilst wild swimming is indeed good for mind and body it is well worth remembering that care needs to be taken when swimming, particularly if you are in a place where you have never swum before. Follow the advice from Wild Swim to make sure your trip is a safe one!