The best places to go wild swimming in West Yorkshire

From hidden waterfalls to the UK’s highest beach, these are West Yorkshire’s best wild swimming spots.

Wild swimming has numerous charms: from the chance to be at one with nature, to having fewer fellow swimmers to share the water with.

So it’s no real surprise that this long-standing pastime is having a resurgence in popularity right now.

Thanks to the decent weather, we’ve also been handed a rare chance to cool off outdoors — so time to make the most of it.

Keep reading to find some of our top picks for taking a wild dip in West Yorkshire.

Lumb Falls, Hardcastle Craggs, Hebden Bridge

These magical waterfalls in the Yorkshire hills offer the adventurous both beautiful pools to swim in and tumbling showers to cool off under. A favourite amongst Hebden Bridge locals, this secluded spot is hidden from prying eyes by woodland. The water is brown, stained by peat and minerals, but wholesome nonetheless.

River Wharfe, Ilkley

Thanks to campaigning by residents, a popular bathing stretch of the Ilkley river Wharfe has now been designated the first official bathing water site in the UK. Previously there had been issues with the water company dumping waste here, but that’s not the case anymore – so you can take your little ones down safe in the knowledge there’s nothing funny in the water.

Gaddings Dam, Todmorden

This ‘secret beach’ in Todmorden is the bane of many locals’ existence, given that it always pulls in large crowds of city explorers during the summertime. Strictly a reservoir, over the years the erosion of the materials used to build it has left a ‘sandy’ shore line that has left it earning the impressive-sounding title of ‘Britain’s highest beach’.

Ingleton Waterfall, Ingleton

This stretch of the River Twiss on the Lancashire border is right in the middle of a popular walking route, so you’ll definitely want to bring a bathing suit. It’s a bit of a trek but worth it, for the vast number of spectacular pools on offer here.

Caroline’s aka Bowers Pond / Lake, Leeds

Situated north of Methley, close to St Aidan’s nature park, Caroline’s is a large expanse of water offering peaceful, relaxing swims for groups.

Jerusalem Farm, Halifax

This secluded riverside spot at Jerusalem farm is a bit of a Halifax hidden gem. With a small carpark nearby, all it takes is a short walk down a track before you’re at your destination. Take a picnic and make a day of it.

Spring Lodge Lake, Leeds

About 15 minutes south of Leeds of the A1 motorway, this open water swimming spot offers a bit more structure for those who feel uncomfortable swimming wild unsupervised. Open Wednesday 6-8pm, Saturday 8-10am and Sunday 8-10am during the summer, there are experts on hand to support you. Sessions are priced from £4.25.

How to stay safe

Whilst wild swimming can be an incredible experience, there are also some dangers that swimmers need to be aware of.

Identify your emergency exits before getting in and look around for any downstream hazards.

Look out for non-swimmers and children.

Even shallow water can suddenly deepen. Maintain constant supervision and if anyone in your group cannot swim make sure to mark out boundaries.

When water is fast flowing, it can knock you off your feet easily even in shallow streams.

Don’t dive head first into rocky pools of water.

Watch out for blue-green algae, which often multiplies in warm, wet weather. It creates a powdery, green surface scum and can cause rashes, eye and skin irritation. It can also make you sick if swallowed.

This list should only be used as a guide, caution and your own judgement should be used when swimming, at your own risk.

Feature Image – Wikipedia

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