Cuckmere Meanders

  • _MG_4357

Wide, shallow, moderately warm oxbow lakes cut off from the main Cuckmere stream. Grass banks and chalky beds. Non tidal and no current. Safe and deep enough for swimming in some places. Stunning setting with option of sea swimming too.

Place Categories: River Swims and Wild Swim.Place Tags: paddle, swim and wildswimming.

Russ says:

So, Raj and I finally made it down to Cuckmere Meanders.

We spent about 2 hours, intermittently in and out of the water – nb, there are two rivers – straight and meander.

Starting at the same car park as Dave (pay £3.50 from when you arrive until 11:59pm) we headed south to the sea via the meander. The meander itself is very weedy and salty, although the water was clear. The water got very shallow at points, so that I had to modify my front crawl arm to be bent in the water. We walked some of the way down as the water became stagnated in places.

At the seafront, we took the straight river north. This was very shallow in places again, and had chalky white water. Not much to see under the water, and the shores to walk on were very sinky into black silt. A quick walk accross a cheep field took us back to the meander river and the original car park.

Great day out, infinite thanks to Raj for the lift and the incentive (!) to go – would I go again? Maybe. I’d probably like to try somewhere else first. Should you go? Yes, you should, but make a day of it with food, as the swimming might not need to be the main focus.

I had a beautiful, long swim here today in amongst the wild life. Great to be able to explore such a long way without turning round. It’s really warm compared to the sea because it’s so shallow and also felt like a very safe place to swim on my own. You have to pay £2.50 to park for 2 hours but it was then very easy to park at the far end and access the water from the canoe club slip.
I’ve only given it 4 stars because there was a lot of weed in the first very shallow stretch which some people might not like. I got used to it though as it’s very soft and just broke up as I swam through it.
I think the best stretch was round the first corner. It got deeper for a while and there is a long straight without weed. Once past the ‘No boats past this point’ sign it got very shallow again and there was more weed so I turned around.

John humphries says:

Shallow (4-5 ft deep in the middle) so quite quick to warm up in the spring. Quite salty water but pleasant, non-tidal oxbow lakes separate to main river. Pleasant to swim in. Nearest loos and parking at national trust downland centre.

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