Swimming in Fresh Air - an enthusiasts guide
For those who enjoy public open air swimming, the last few years have been dismal and prospects are poor. In spite of local interest and campaigns, many pools have been closed or converted into indoor pools often as swimming entertainment centres complete with palm trees. Several pools have been lost (for ever) in the last 10 years in Beds, Herts and Bucks. The ones that remain are precious establishments.

The enjoyment of outdoor swimming, particularly on fine days, goes back to childhood. Indeed one of the pleasures is the sound of children really enjoying themselves in healthy physical exercise. Outdoor swimming is a happy experience with a freedom not possible indoors. In the best of them, refreshments and sun bathing lawns are strong attractions. Fug-free air is a natural benefit.

Are their days nearly over?. Surprisingly, many are surviving often supported by keen supporters and enlightened councils. The key issue would seem to be an economic one. Many pools loose money but they can be subsidised by other activities such as gyms. In some areas there are few activities for children at all; an outdoor pool can be a godsend for mum and dad.

The following survey is designed to help like-minded swimmers to locate facilities and, where possible, to offer support and help. Outdoor pools do not usually need publicity since they are packed out when the temperatures soar. It is in cooler weather that support is needed. Lake and river swimming (official and un-official) is still possible and preferred by many. Sites are limited in the home counties, it would be useful to exchange information.

Further information, comments or help would be welcome
Compiled 2001 Peter White
[email protected]

Register of outdoor swimming pools open to the public in Beds, Bucks and Herts
(may not be complete or up to date. Compiled 2001)

Name Address Telephone Length
CHESHAM Moor Road, Chesham, Bucks 01494 783068 26m
EVERSHOLT Church End, Eversholt, Beds 01525 280515  
HEMEL HEMPSTEAD Park Rd., Hemel Hempstead, Herts 01442 228188 25m
HIGH WYCOMBE Holywell Mead, Bassetsbury Lane, High Wycombe Bucks 01494 518900 33m
HITCHIN Fishponds Rd, Hitchin, Herts 01462 441646 50m
HODDESDON High Street, Hoddesdon, Herts 01992 461592 25m
LETCHWORTH Icknield Way, Letchworth, Herts SG 01462 684673 50m
ROYSTON New Market Rd, Royston, Herts SG 01763 245577 23m
WOBURN LIDO Crawley Rd, Woburn, Beds MK 01525 290168 25 yards
WOLVERTON Aylesbury St West, Wolverton, Bucks 01908 312091 33m

I have also swum in some of the following outdoor pools, others are rumoured to exist, many are likely to have closed since the survey was carried out (2001). Updates welcome.

Abingdon - Amersham - Aylesbury - Cambridge - Chalfont - Cheltenham - Cheshunt - Guildford - Hatch End - Hathersage - Hornsey - Ilkley - Kimpton - Ledbury - Lewes - Malvern - Oasis (Holborn) - Penzance - Peterborough - Petersfield - Plymouth - Reading - St Neots - Shipston-on-Stour - Slough - Stroud - Tooting - Watford - Winslow - Woodstock