Waters of Wales - Access Campaign Petition
We call on the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to implement a Bill to establish statutory public rights of access to land and water for recreational and other purposes. The bill should enshrine access rights and responsibilities for the public in the same way that the 2003 Land Reform (Scotland) Act encourages co-operative use of the outdoors for healthy, low impact recreation. This Bill must enshrine public rights of navigation for inland water, and permit access to and along water. It must remove the lack of legal clarity and restrictions which act as a barrier to sport and recreation and the promotion of Wales as a welcoming place for healthy recreation, tourism and adventurous activity at all levels of participation and enjoyment.
Sign the petition here:
Establish Statutory Public Rights of Access to Land and Water for Recreational and Other Purposes
A Thames Fit to Swim In
Theo Thomas of the London WaterKeeper Campaign writes:
The London Waterkeeper campaign 'A Thames Fit To Swim In' wants thousands of people in London to be able to use the non-tidal Thames from Hampton Court to Teddington with confidence, whether they swim, kayak or row. Last year I was in Copenhagen to find out how they made their harbours swimmable and how in Aarhus they are working to make its river swimmable too. They have also done this in Munich.
We can make the non-tidal Thames fit to swim in. This is in terms of water quality, safety, access and balancing the interests of different users. If we could create swim zones in west London, and have the river become a Designated Bathing Water, thousands more people would be able to enjoy outdoor swimming. For this to happen we need to know when sewage works discharge to the rivers in the area, have water quality monitoring and establish new partnerships between swimmers, rowers, kayakers etc.
In 2012 the organisation Human Race saw 338 of the 1,000 people swimming from Hampton Court to Kingston get ill. Sadly it has now decided to no longer hold the event.
London Waterkeeper is part of the international federation called Waterkeeper Alliance. It defends the right to clean water and uses advocacy to work for swimmable, fishable and drinkable waters worldwide.
Please support this campaing. See website for more deatils:
A Thames Fit to Swim In
The Bering Papers: an extreme winter swimmers's story
In 'The Bering Papers' Jack Bright recounts an incredible story of his winter swimming experiences, and his role in a world first relay swim crossing of the Bering Strait from continent to continent. A team effort that spans many years and involved many nations, a story of true team spirit and camaraderie and all the ups and downs that this encompasses. This book brings to life the sense of adventure and achievement that many of us can only imagine - a tale of setting a goal and achieving it.
Appreciating all Things Outdoors
You would have probably realised by now that here at River Swimming, we appreciate all things outdoors. It is good to take a moment every now and then to think of the ways that you can make the most of the beautiful nature we all have surrounding us (be that at work, at home or whilst out enjoying a hobby). Everything from buying high-quality teak garden furniture (durable to!) to enjoy sitting on in your garden to investing in a premium Kayak to take out whilst you're river swimming can help you make the most of the beauty to be found throughout the UK.
Rob Fryer’s Wild Swimming Guide 2016
Rob’s new wild swimming guide is now available. Lists 1,560 sites spread over the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Portugal. Find out more here.
Downstream: A History and a Celebration of Swimming in the River Thames
A new book by Caitlin Davies
Caitlin Davies takes us from Thames Head to Southend, entwining part and present, in a truly bounteous book, brimming with swimming exploits and records, races and regattas, delights and dangers, paddles and picnics.
Full review by Jean Perraton.
Wild swim around London this summer
Kenwood Ladies have put together a guide called “Wild Swimming Walks” to 28 walks to wild swims in and around London.
It is a lovely book and will keep you busy over the summer if you live in London. It follows the Wild Swimming book format: clear text, good maps and great photos.
Reading it made me wish I could join the Ladies on one of their walks. Alas I live in Bristol so will have to put up with my usual swim at Henleaze Lake.
Love the book cover.
Rutland Water Bathing Beach - Open at last!
After 4 years of work by the OSS, Anglian Water Services Limited, and others, the bathing beach at Rutland Water finally opened at 10am 5th July 2014. The bathing area is about 160 m long, by 20 m wide, max. depth about 1.8 m (6 foot). Opening times for 2014: From 5th July weekends 10 am to 6 pm. Then from 19 July 7 days a week until the end of August. It’s a life guarded facility.
It’s a beautiful site, family friendly, with a sandy beach, grassed area for relaxing, café, toilets, shop. You only pay for the car parking, otherwise its free.
This is a major breakthrough in terms of inland access, as Anglian Water Services Limited are (as far as we know) the first water authority in England and Wales to open up a family friendly swimming area in a reservoir. These facilities are quite numerous in the rest of Europe and North America, and we hope to see more such facilities open in England Wales.
A huge amount of credit is due to Anglian Water Services Limited and its Visitor Operations Manager Kevin Appleton for making this happen
RALSA would also like to thank Rob Aspey for making this happen.
Map of Rutalnd Water. The beach is near Sykes Lane Visitor Centre on the north shore.
|Help make an open water swimming dream come true in Cambridge
Campaigners are still beavering away to make open water swimming a reality in one of the Cam Lakes. If you live in or near to Cambridge, please get involved and support this project. Cam Lakes Website
|Swimming Against the Stream by Jean Perraton
Jean Perraton (RALSA President) has update her groundbreaking 2004 book exploring the attitudes of key authorities (Central and local government, the EA, ROSPA, HSE, land owners etc) towards swimming in lakes and rivers in the UK. It is clear that many people want to swim in lakes and rivers and equally clear that the authorities try to stop them! The reasons why the authorities try to stop open water swimming are explained and are largely debunked.
Jean says that there has been some progress made at a national level to change attitudes since the first edition of her book but this has been slow to trickle down to a local level. So still lots of work to do before the UK can enjoy swimming in lakes and rivers as our European neighbours do.
An essential text for all open water swimming activists. See for more information.
|New Welsh Countryside Code recognises wild swimming
Quote from Welsh Countryside Code :
The rivers and lakes of Wales are an amazing place to swim; offering beautiful scenery, crystal clean water and a sense of peace and tranquillity. Help keep them special and preserve them for future generations.
Safety advice can be found at Welsh Countryside Code Wild Swimming Safety Code.
|Open water swimming safer than angling!
Latest drowning statistics from ROSPA: Assessing Inland Accidental Drowning Risk :
Wild Swimming Talks
Rob Fryer (Chair of RALSA and author of Rob Fryer's Wild Swimming Guide) is available to give talks on Wild Swimming. Rob has been researching swimming places in the UK and further afield for many years.
See http://www.wild-swimming.com/about-the-author.html for further information.
New community bathing pool on River Stour at Wye, Kent?
Jasper Bouverie (local councillor) is campaigning for a community bathing pool on the river Stour at Wye. If you live near Wye please support Jasper’s campaign.
Twyford Parish Council has already provided facilities on the River Itchen (picture right). It would be great to have a network of local swimming places across the UK. How about developing a strategy for a National Swimming Network?
Rob Fryer’s Wild Swimming Safety Guide
Rob has created a great information sheet on safety considerations when wild swimming (see http://www.wild-swimming.com/uploads/safety.pdf). Cut this out before you go wild swimming and take it with you!
Beaches 'can be village greens'
In a High Court ruling Mr Justice Ouseley, sitting in London, said the words used by Parliament "to define 'town or village green' are broad enough to permit the registration of a tidal beach", provided certain tests were met. (see http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/beaches-can-be-village-greens-7580103.html).
Unfortunately in the case of West Beach, Newhaven, Newhaven Town Council lost their case due to the specific circumstance there.. Newhaven Town Council is now appealing this decision.
However this is an important ruling and could be used were it can be shown there is a long history of use for swimming. This is the case at Lighthouse Cove in Kingswear, South Devon ((see http://www.kingswear-devon.co.uk/Lighthouse%20Beach.htm/). Kingswear Parish Council is currently in a battle with a local resident who has blocked off access to the beach.
We will keep you informed of any development. In the meantime please support these campaigns if you live locally.
Campaigning for Wild Swimming
We have had setbacks in the past, but this season we good news to tell. Hillingdon Council have backed plans (July 2012) to revive Ruislip Lido. We must congratulate the Council for listening to their voters and pressing ahead in spite of vociferous opposition from a small group of killjoys. Afterwards Councillor Ray Puddifoot said: " We will now start work to improve this wonderful facility for our residents to enjoy.” Currently swimming is banned (well, perhaps people they can’t read, but I’ve seen quite a few swimmers there recently). When the infrastructure (car parks, changing rooms, cafes etc) is complete, swimming will be re-instated. Thank you Hillingdon Council.
Further north, Rob Aspey has been negotiating on our behalf with Anglian Water, concerning Rutland Water. The good news is that next year a beach will open to swimmers. Another victory, thank you Anglian Water
So what can you do to help?
If you live near the Lee Valley Regional Park you might consider leading a campaign to open Stork Pit (Grid TL 393093) to swimmers. This is near Hoddesdon and Waltham Abbey. Currently there is a £1000 fine for swimming! Perhaps you live near Bath? Could you start a swimming club similar to the Farleigh & District SC? The tide is running in our favour. Now is the time for action. If you cannot help with either of the above, perhaps you could write to your council requesting facilities, organise a petition or run for council? We need wild swimmers to be decision makers. Your association, RALSA, is here to help you. Can you help them?
Rob Fryer, Chair RALSA
Lighthouse Cove, River Dart, Kingswear, Devon
Help Kingswear Parish Council to regain access to Lighthouse Cove on the River Dart. Access has been closed by the new owner after 100s of years of public access. I feel like a mass trespass coming on! Let us know of any other access battles. Click here for more details.
|Organising an open water swimming event
The ASA have produced a useful document about organising open water swimming events. The ASA Open Water Event Document is very comprehensive and, as always with the ASA, slanted towards competitive swimming. It may be over the top if you are organising a small event but will act as a useful guide to the things you need to think about.
New Farleigh & District Swimming Club Website
Find out more here.
|ROSPA changes it tune on Wild Swimming
See comments from ROSPA's CEO. Also see comments by ROSPA in Sky article. We have updated our comments on ROSPA's attitude to open water swimming accordingly. Let us know if local ROSPA representatives are still pushing the No Swimming Allowed line.
New book on the history of swimming in the UK
Susie Parr, RALSA supporter and open water enthusiast, has just published the book
The Story of Swimming
It covers the history of swimming in the UK from earliest recorded times (Romans onward) to the current revival in open water swimming. It is full of wonderful illustrations and includes a number of short pieces about Susie's favourite swimming places. I'm sure many RALSA members will recognise how Susie feels about swimming in open water.Put this on your Xmas present list!
Read review by Jean Perraton.
|New Wild Swimming map of the UK
OSS (Outdoor Swimming Society) has put together a very informative Wild Swimming map of the UK. Well worth a browse. Well done OSS!
|New European Swimming Directory Website
Niek Kloots has set up a directory of European Swimming organisations. It includes open water swimming organisation. There is a huge amount of information about swimming events and places to swim across Europe. Great site. Thanks to Niek for setting this up.
|Wild Swimming: Freshwater Biodiversity matters
Read this interesting blog "Wild Swimming: Freshwater Biodiversity matters" about the new EU Bathing Water Directive and how cleaning up our lakes and rivers is not only important for wild swimming but also freshwater biodiversity.
New Open Water Swimming Safety Video
Watch Callum Brown’s wonderful and essential video on 0pen Water Swimming Safety here.
HEALTH & SAFETY
|Look, everyone is out of step except our Johnny!
There is now little doubt that the attitude of some UK organisation towards swimming in natural water, inland water in particular, is not only unique - it looks increasingly irrational and obsessive.
Take, for example the following extract from the official website of the Yosemite National Park in the States
|The dangers in the water • lies, damn lies and statistics
'For water safety advice talk to the cool people in swimsuits not to the wet people in grey suits'
Have you ever been bewildered by quoted UK drowning statistics? Warned of catching Weil's disease or of the threat posed by poisonous algae? Read more.. to discover how the health and safety merchants manipulate the media.
|The verdict is unanimous • the H&S Bonkers must be stopped
Judges, politicians, those at the helm of the Health and Safety watchdogs, a writer and a scientist (to mention just a few) have voiced their concern over the proliferation of irrational restrictions on recreational activities which has plagued our society in recent years. So who are the Health and Safety Bonkers? Read more..
|LEGAL & REGULATION
|Extracts from the judgement in the Tomlinson v Congleton BC
HSE clarifies scope of 'Blue Book'
Heath ponds court victory
Environment Agency clarifies its attitude to swimming
RIVER & LAKE CAMPAIGNS
Black Park Read more..
Broomhill Lido Read more..
Is the tide turning at Rutland Water? Read more..
EU Bathing Water Directive update. Read more..
More support for the river access campaign
Song of The Paddle, is an open canoe forum that is fighting for reasonable access to our rivers. The forum is a hub for river access campaigners. You can help by writing to your MP and voting for the river access campaign on the 38 degrees website.
Following the latest legal clarifications of operators liabilities regarding swimming in open water there is no longer a justification for keeping traditional inland water bathing sites, such as at Bury Lake, Rickmansworth closed to the public. Read more..
Want to know why swimming is still banned in the lake which was at the centre of the Tomlinson case? Read more..
The Pooling Resources Group
The Pooling Resources Group has been set up to help people campaigning for their local pools