How to respect the environment during wild swimming


Avoid leaving anything behind

Waste has a very harmful effect on fauna and flora. By 2050, experts estimate there will be more trash in our waters than fish.

It may seem obvious, but avoid leaving anything at the water’s edge, such as leftover food, drink or plastic bags. If you see litter, pick it up and dispose of it in an appropriate place, to help protect wildlife from the dangers of litter.

Avoid altering the natural environment

Human presence can potentially damage delicate natural areas, so wild swimmers should be careful not to alter natural habitats. Swimmers should only use suitable access points to enter the water and avoid climbing over natural features, such as dry stone walls and hedges.

Taking a pebble or seashell as a souvenir of your wild swimming adventures may seem harmless, but it could impact coastal erosion, natural flood defenses and wildlife habitats. Stone removal from public beaches is actually illegal under the Coastal Protection Act 1949.

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Watch out for the reeds

Avoid swimming in dense weeds and reeds, which not only can be dangerous to swimmers, but also potentially damaging to fish, such as pike, which like to hide in submerged freshwater vegetation.

Keep your distance from nesting sites

Witnessing the diversity and wonderful birdlife that live close to Britain’s freshwater sights is another captivating charm of wild swimming.

Although it is important to be aware of the presence of birds, especially during nesting season. Riverbanks, fallen wood, trees and sand dunes are common nesting places for birds. Noise or movement can cause adult birds to abandon their nests, which wild swimmers should be aware of.


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