Wild swimming has become a popular topic within the health and wellness industry and there have been lots of proven benefits to plunging yourself into freezing cold water – whether in the wild or not!
Whilst swimming outdoors and in wild places has been a thing since we set foot on the planet, mostly for bathing and hunting, it is now a choice many people make rather than a necessity. Wild swimming is said to improve circulation, mood, body aches and all sorts of pains, so we are seeing more and more people taking up this adventurous activity. You just need to look up #wildswimming on Instagram to get an idea of its popularity.
The term wild swimming simply refers to any form of outdoor swimming in a natural body of water, be it in a river, a waterfall pool, the sea or a loch. Finding beautiful places to surround yourself in can be a great way to make you feel happy, calm and at one with nature (after the initial shock of the cold water, of course!).
Some people like to wear wet suits whilst others brave the water in their swimwear, or if they are feeling really brave, nothing at all!
We've scouted out some of the best places to go wild swimming in Northumberland; here are our top spots...
Northumberland wild swimming spots
Sea swimming in Northumberland
Northumberland spans the northeast coast of England and is best known for its amazing beaches, making it a great spot for wild swimming. Beachgoers have been swimming in the seas of Northumberland for centuries, so this is no secret destination. However, with the nature of wild swimming being an all-year-round activity rather than a summer jaunt, we've chosen some great beaches in Northumberland that will welcome you into the water year in, year out.
These beaches all have long stretches of sand, good visibility and a nice gradual slope into the sea making it easy to get in and out. It is important to keep in mind that having other people around is a good idea – we can’t control how nature works and, off-season, the waves can get pretty big. Days can be spent going in and out of the water, basking in the beauty of the great Northumberland Coast.
Stay in a Northumberland coastal cottage and try it for yourself.
Those who are fans of waterfalls will love this hidden gem in the Cheviots. Linhope Spout is a 60-foot waterfall which lands into a plunge pool - 2 metres wide by 5 metres deep. The 3-mile walk to get here is easygoing with a mixture of tarmac roads and off-road tracks. It is a popular picnic spot for walkers, but at certain times of the day you will find it totally secluded, making it a really idyllic place to take a dip.
There is a short scramble down to the edge of the water if you are not one for jumping in, and the journey is well worth it for the lovely, deep, refreshing pool you get to immerse yourself in at the end.
Chesters Bridge, North Tyne
If you fancy tying in a bit of history with your chilly dip, this is a lovely place to come on a sunny day and soak up the beauty of some Roman ruins. Chesters Bridge is close to the tourist attraction of Chester Roman Fort, but you can avoid the tourists by heading to the river and finding a quiet spot. The bridge was built as part of Hadrian's Wall, so you can swim amongst history here.
Shallow rapids run among the ruins of the collapsed Roman bridge, and you can swim in the waters where the Romans once bathed as a matter of daily routine. Explore the spot whilst popping in and out of the river and discover the deeper pools that you can wallow and relax in. Be aware of rapids and undercurrents and always take someone with you for safety.
Featherstone Castle is a lovely tourist attraction lying just to the south of Haltwhistle, and there is an amazing accessible wild swimming spot here. Just a short walk from the castle you come to a river and a lovely little sandy beach which, if the sun is out, is a suntrap and perfect for a picnic and dip!
There is a gradual slope into the water, and in the middle, there is a lovely deep section. Due to the slower flow of this part of the river, it is a popular spot for families whose kids are brave enough to take on the cold water. You can explore upstream and find smaller pools to paddle in too.
Top tips for wild swimming in Northumberland
- Never swim alone and keep an eye on weak swimmers.
- Let someone at home know where and when you are planning to go.
- Always plan how you are going to get out before you get in.
- Take a towel and warm clothes to change into after your swim.
- Avoid going wild swimming in low visibility.
- Avoid canals, urban rivers, stagnant lakes and reedy areas.
- Avoid choppy waters and high winds.
- Wear footwear.
- Don’t stay in the water too long and jump around to warm up when you get out.
- Wear a bright swim cap so you can be easily seen.
Stay near wild swimming spots in Northumberland
We hope we have inspired you to try some wild swimming for yourself – it really is a great way to get into the wilderness and feel invigorated. If you want to stay in Northumberland and visit some of these wild swimming spots, keep our Northumberland holiday cottages in mind for your next visit. We have lots of coastal cottages for sea swims!
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.