Imagine a summertime tour through the wildest and most beautiful regions of Britain – boating, camping and swimming along the way. Wild Swimming - inspired by Roger Deakin’s cult-classic Waterlog - is a celebration of wilderness dipping, natural bathing and riverside picnics. Best-selling book Wild Swimming combines inspirational photos, engaging writing and practical information to make this a truly unique British travel guide.
Buy the E-book (pdf format)
Whole book PDF (13MB)
South West PDF (~3MB)
South PDF (~3MB)
Wales PDF (~3MB)
Scotland & North PDF (~3MB)
Lakes & Dales PDF (~3MB)
Activities & Annexes PDF (~2MB)
Buy the Print Book
Printed Coffee Table Book (UK Shipping Included)
For European and Worldwide deliveries, we charge postage per book, and send each book separately.
Free Taster Sample
You can download the introduction to the book here and see if it ‘wets’ your appetite!
In this great British tour you’ll be able to swim with otters in Devon, go river-tubing in Yorkshire, night-swim under the stars in Oxfordshire and learn how to build a woodland sauna. In each chapter you’ll discover famous wild-swimmers of the past and read stories of heroes, lovers and ordinary folk who have long enjoyed bathing under the willows.
We guide you to the best places …
- Great for paddling - mainly shallow and popular with families
- Literary swims - where famous poets, writers or artists once swam
- Skinny-dipping - remote and secluded, perfect for a natural dip
- Perfect picnics - not far from car parking, with grassy banks
- Leave the car at home - 20 minutes walk of a train station
- Go cycling - on dedicated cycle trails or routes
- Canoeing and boating - you can hire a canoe or rowboat
- Pubs - a cosy pub with great food just a splash away
- Camping & night-swims - fantastic river or lakeside camping
- Jumping – famous for leaping
- Tubing and water fun – rockslides and current surfing
- Waterfalls and plunge pools – the most enchanted of all?
Introduction – History and Guidance
The book begins with a whistle-stop tour of wild-swimming past and present – with insights into history, science, society, nature and psychology.
There’s also detailed information on how to start enjoying one of Britain most traditional’s pursuits – a pleasure that in danger of being lost in our modern world.
We’ll teach you about finding that perfect swimming hole, what to take and how to have fun while staying safe.
The Guide Book
The main part of the book – almost 200 pages – is a great tour of Britain.
Each of the six regional section begins with a summary map and the top highlights before diving into 50 chapters that describe the social and natural history of our wild swimming landscape – through stories of adventure, art, literature and romance.
Through the book you’ll find 150 purple wild swim boxes. They provide detailed information on specific swims and cover water quality and safety, ideas for days out, detailed directions and links to OS maps.
Over 80 additional nearby swim locations are provided, as part of the swim boxes, with shorter directions but always a grid reference.
That makes 230 wild swims, all grid referenced. Enough to keep you going all summer!
In the interactive sample above you’ll have seen extracts of much of the above. For instance in in the Wales section you can swim with poet Shelley who loved wild swimming on the Upper Welsh Wye and Elan, and visit Swims 73 – 75 down the Wye to “The Warren” at Hay-on-Wye. You can also read about the spectacular “Waterfall Woods” above the Neath Valley and dip in some of the turquoise forest plunge pools at Swims 76 – 78. As you’ll see there’s a great mix of history and nature travelogue mixed with coffee-table photos.
Actvity ideas - for the side of the river, lake or waterfall
The book ends with ideas for waterside games and activities. These will make sure everyone’s having fun, including younger children and families, while there’s also information for those who like a wilder experience: leave the car at home and go canoe, mountain or cycle swimming! Further sections will help you identify riverside wildlife, find wild foods, make a homemade raft and understand how to stay safe.
- Games and Activities – to keep everyone entertained and warm
- Water Fun – jumps, slides, surf, underwater and water-fights
- Rafts and Boats – four different types to build
- Canoe Camping – canoes types, night-swimming and lantern-making
- Riverside sauna – make a traditional forest sweat-lodge
- Birds and Beasties – know what’s what and identify it
- Waterside Foods – from water-lilies to water-mint
- Water Safety – more details on the basics
- Water Quality and Ecology –biology and the work of WWF
- Staying Legal and Respecting Others – know your rights
Daniel Start spent his childhood river-swimming, dam-making and raftbuilding in Herefordshire. He trained as a natural scientist at Cambridge and at the age of 22 was taken hostage in the rainforests of New Guinea. His first book, The Open Cage, described his time swimming and trekking with riverine tribes and freedom fighters there and won the 1997 Writer’s Guild Award for Non-fiction. He has spent the last five years documenting, photographing and exploring the wilds and wild waters of Britain.
You can buy the book now, in either the digital version, or the coffee table version, below.
Coffee Table Version (Shipping Included)
Click below to see photos and highlights from each area: