Santon, Little Ouse

  • IMG_6054

30km further up the A11 from Cambridge. Pretty chalk stream running through forest with shelving access above footbridge next to car park at end of remote lane. Chalky riverbed, up to 2m deep, long swim possible.

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

Sharon Curtis says:

At the getting in spot, near the footbridge:

Swum 6km from Santon Downham to Brandon, June 2013. We had originally planned to walk upstream from Brandon first, along a path on the north bank of the Little Ouse, but a sign on the path warning us that we would need a machete was not joking!

The river is thigh-deep at the getting-in point at the footbridge at the picnic site; it then gets deeper gradually, varying between 1m and 2m deep all the way to Brandon. Riverbank access very scarce until close to Brandon.

Lots of kingfisher sightings; several swans; shy plentiful fish. Very pretty flowers on the weeds but they covered quite a lot of river in places; had to clamber over them sometimes.

Brandon is the limit of navigation, where there is a mooring area:

Chris McBride says:

Good introductory or longer distance river swimming — some flow, but shallow and safe and no powered boats. Surrounding woodland provides shelter from the wind when you’re in the water, but the river can become a little weedy as the growing season progresses. St Helen’s Picnic Site, just outside the village of Santon Downham provides excellent free car parking, toilets and good access for swimming and canoeing. Alternatively, you can walk or cycle there from Brandon station. All of the accessible river bank at St Helen’s can become crowded on hot days in the school holidays; mid-week in term you will share it only with the occasional fisherman. Once you swim a little away from St Helen’s the river is rarely busy. Swim a mile or so upstream and then return with the current, or arrange a shuttle and swim downstream in gently deepening waters into Brandon, where there is an easy get-out under the bridge on the right.

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