Wild swimming in the Shropshire Hills
The Shropshire Hills boast a great variety of venues for fans of wild swimming – the following venues are just a small selection, giving you the opportunity to sample three types of swimming: reservoir, river and man-made lake.
Carding Mill Wild Swimming
The National Trust is happy for people to swim at the old reservoir in Cardingmill Valley, and the safety notice there is a great example of a well-managed recreational resource. The reservoir is close to the top car park, which used to be the old swimming baths – so look out for the depth sign when you arrive. Alternatively, you can park close to Carding Mill visitor centre and café and walk.
The reservoir is very cold all year round, but the dippers and wagtails make up for it, and there’s a cheeky robin that’ll come and share your cake if you are quiet. Please don’t be tempted to jump from the water tower! Good teashop too!
Other refreshment stops in the area include the Bridges pub, Ratlinghope, and Van Doesburg’s gourmet delicatessen, Church Stretton. The Bridges also provides a choice of en suite bedrooms and bunkroom accommodation. High quality hotel accommodation at the Castle Hotel, Bishop’s Castle and, self-catering at Lower Farm Holidays, Shelve.
The River Teme in Ludlow
The Teme is a deep and wide river, but most of the year it is gentle and not too fast-flowing. There are kingfishers and ducks, swans and cygnets, and cormorants in the tree at the confluence with the River Corve (about 0.5 km from the weir). Get in above the weir by the Millennium Green so you can wade in slowly, then swim upstream towards the pontoon, watching for the low turquoise flash of the kingfisher as you go. There’s coffee and cake or a spot of lunch at the Green Café when you are finished – but beware, you may get addicted! They have rugs and hot water bottles if you have stayed in too long, so do ask!
Baron at Bucknell
If you fancy “fairly wild” swimming, then the Baron at Bucknell might be just the place for you. This country pub in the village of Bucknell has built three state-of-the-art garden rooms, which enjoy exclusive access to a specially constructed swimming pond. The organic pond features a central, lined swimming area that is bordered by shallower areas, with reeds and other features.
But, instead of braving the elements when you’ve finished your swim, you can hop into your own hot tub on the decking of one of three purpose-built luxury garden rooms. Each room is generously sized and luxuriously fitted out, with super king size bed, real flame inset gas fire, walk-in shower and wet room, and squishy sofa.
Boyne Water, Brown Clee
Boyne Water is glorious. A deep, peat-coloured, man-made lake on the top of the Shropshire Beacon, it is a jewel of a pool. Entry is by the post on the south side, and once you’re in, you’re in!
Access is via the right of way that follows a fairly steep track used by forestry traffic. Park on the road (Grid ref SO602835) and keep the reward that awaits you firmly in mind.
Wild Swimming at Boyne Water
If you are visiting the Shropshire Hills and are a guest of Lower Farm Holidays, your hosts can ask permission for you to swim in Shelve Pool, which is a man-made eight-acre pond that probably dates from the 17th century. It has an attractive reedy fringe, and is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, as the reeds grow over the water. For this reason it’s best to swim off the dam.This product has been developed as part of the Shropshire Hills Tourism Cooperation Project, funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under the auspices of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The project is delivered by Gravity Consulting Ltd on behalf of Shropshire Hills and Ludlow Destination Management Partnership.