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Wild Swimming: 150 Hidden Dips in the Rivers, Lakes and Waterfalls of Britain Paperback – 21 Apr 2008

94 customer reviews

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Paperback, 21 Apr 2008
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Punk Publishing Ltd; 1st Edition edition (21 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0955203678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955203671
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 2.4 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A book of wonderful things to do in Britain's rivers, lakes and waterfalls, including swimming with otters, discovering underground caves and even searching for gold" -- National Trust Magazine, Summer 2008

"The first guidebook to Britain's freshwater swimming holes" -- Sunday Times Magazine, 4th May 2008

"Excellent...This is an essential guide for anyone planning a dreamy summer of camping, picnics and swimming." -- The Daily Telegraph, 16th June 2008

About the Author

Daniel Start is an award-winning travel writer, photographer and environmental consultant. He is is the author of Wild Swimming, Wild Swimming Coast, Wild Swimming France and the Wild Guide and won the Writer's Guild Award in 1997. He lives at confluence of two rivers in rural Somerset and is married with a baby daughter. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Ms. E. Flanagan on 4 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
There are very many things that I love about this book. So far I've had it a very short time and have already had an incredibly therapeutic swim, about 10 miles from where I have lived for over 20 years, which I had no idea was there. It was the most beautiful spot and the pub recommended in the book was such a find, being friendly, serving good beer and food, having a gorgeous wildflower garden and being over a thousand years old.

Having this book means I am much more likely to get out and swim in beautiful places, and not just paddle, worried about currents, debris and pond weed. So all those good intentions are finally coming good and I can entice friends along too. It's definitely going to be the basis of many UK holidays to come.

I'm also impressed that the directions are so concise yet so clear and straightforward to follow - rare for a guide book.

I can't recommend this book enough.
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184 of 188 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Somerville on 6 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the book to make poltroons like me brace up and take the plunge. On so many occasions, hot and sweaty on a walk, I have come to a pool, a river or a waterfall and thought, 'Oh, I'd love to fall in there - but I can't.' And why can't I? Because it's too cold, because I don't dare, because I might not be allowed, because I haven't got a towel, because, because ...

Pathetic, man! Here is the wonderful antidote to all that cowardice. 150 brilliant places where it's not only OK to swim or plunge or flop out on your back - it's the nicest, most natural thing on earth, if you judge by the ecstatic expressions on the (mostly young, mostly shapely) people who cavort in or stand invitingly on the brink of the cool pools in Daniel Start's quite irresistibly seductive photos. Why aren't there any snaps of saggy greybeards like me? Because, let's face it, we don't scrub up so well. But Daniel's message is that there's room and tolerance for all of us in the clear trout-filled River Nadder at Teffont Evias in Wiltshire, under the mountain oaks of the Wolf's Leap in deepest Wales, or among the Faerie Pools in the dramatic shadow of the Cuillins on the Isle of Skye.

Great Scott! I can hardly wait. This is a wonderful, youthful, inspiring book. I've let my Health Club subscription lapse because I couldn't take the urine and chlorine and locker-room macho any more. But now I shall be a swimmer into cleanness leaping. Here I gooooooooooooo ... !
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Focalplane on 26 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
Wild (River) Swimming is a wonderful book. It's not just a map of good places to swim, picnic, defy Health and Safety with your grandchildren, it's a compendium for cool outdoor living during a hot British summer. It simply makes you lust for anticyclones and rapid changes of the climate in an upward direction! It's why we need global warming.

Seriously, many of the locations are severely chilly but as the book so rightly says, once you have immersed and removed yourself to a sunny rock or stream bank, the urge is on to get back in and swim and splash around. Apparently it's all in something called an endorphin and we can all enjoy them!

Our first forays have been to Exmoor and what delights awaited us. We thought we might have been whisked away to another time and place at Cloud Hill and the "secret" pool upstream will be remembered for years to come.

The only equipment needed for wild swimming is a pack towel and an (optional in some places) swimsuit. But water sandals are a definite luxury (Keens or Tevas are recommended) when the stream or lake bed is stony.

Bravo, Daniel, a great guide!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael Gross on 27 May 2011
Format: Paperback
On my map of Oxford, which dates from the year 2000 but probably hasn't been updated all that thoroughly for the 2000 printing, there are five places by the rivers marked as "bathing place," including Parson's Pleasure and Sunnymead by the river Cherwell, and three others by the river Thames (or Isis, as it is called in Oxford).

In the real world, however, if I walk down to the river Cherwell, I find big signs saying "no swimming or diving" or something to this effect, and hardly anybody dares to swim there these days. There is a simple reason for these signs cropping up just about everywhere - land owners are scared of being sued if somebody comes to harm, so they stay on the safe side and put up the signs.

Yet there are many places around Oxford and indeed around the UK where swimming in the wild is at least as safe as crossing a road, for those who can swim and are willing to behave with the necessary caution. Thus it is very welcome that Daniel Start's book lists around 150 such places around the country, complete with practical tips regarding how to get there and how to stay safe, and with as many gorgeous photos of surprisingly large numbers of people engaged in the forgotten pleasures of wild swimming.

Our local spot, Parson's Pleasure, is only mentioned in a historical anecdote in the text and not officially included in the list - presumably due to those signs that the university put up after someone drowned a few years ago. But I might one day check out the place at Stonesfield, which, as I learned from this book, is the village where the first fossil was found that came to be recognised as a dinosaur. There is, actually, although the book fails to mention this, a local bus service from Oxford to Stonesfield.
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