Spring is on the horizon – if you’re looking for something a little different for your next wild swimming adventure, why not go chasing waterfalls? Britain is home to some magnificent wild falls, feeding deep pools of clear water where you can dip in cold but wonderfully refreshing water. Ready to take the plunge? Start planning your trip to one of these eight glorious waterfalls you can swim in across the UK, chosen by Chelsea Davies and Sian Lewis.
WILD SWIMMING WATERFALLS: 8 WATERFALLS YOU CAN SWIM IN IN BRITAIN
PLODDA FALLS, GLEN AFFRIC, SCOTLAND
The scramble to the thirty-metre deep pool at the base of majestic Plodda Falls can be a little tricky, but the experience of floating in a pool in the heart of a forested canyon of Douglas Fir is worth it. Once you’ve cooled off in Scotland’s second-highest waterfall, make sure to visit the viewing platform that hangs over the falls for a postcard photo.
How to get there: It’s a 1.5 Mile walk from Plodda Falls Carpark near Tomich in Glen Affric, Scottish Highlands
RHAEADR MAWDDACH, GWYNEDD, NORTH WALES
Rhaeadr Mawddach waterfall strikes gold, literally. The water that tumbles into the wide pool flows over an old gold mine on the River Mawddach in North-East Wales. On a summer’s day, the crystal-clear water of the pool warms up enough to make this a heavenly swim spot, and it’s easy to combine a dip here with a swim in pretty Pistyll Cain, another nearby waterfall hidden in Coed y Brenin Forest Park in Snowdonia.
How to get there: Reach both waterfalls on a 4/5 mile walk (or mountain bike) from LL40 2HZ and LL40 2LE near Dolgellau
ST NECTAN’S WATERFALL, CORNWALL
A rather mystical wild swim, the water of St Nectlan’s glen cascades through an almost perfect circle into a shallow but beautiful pool in a fairytale glen. Explore the forested footpaths that lead to a pagan shrine festooned with ribbons and offerings. From here I recommend hiking to the coast to reach wild Rocky Valley, a deep coastal gorge complete with mini waterfalls, plunge pools and ancient maze-like stone carvings in the rocks (follow my hiking route on Komoot).
How to get there: Find St Nectan’s Glen at PL34 0BE (the glen is privately owned and there’s an admission fee, but it’s worth it for a dip). This ten-mile circular walk takes in St Nectan’s Glen, Tintagel and Boscastle
FALLS OF FALLOCH, LOCH LOMOND & TROSSACHS, SCOTLAND
The Falls of Falloch are also known as Rob Roy’s Bathtub, as apparently, Scotland’s notorious outlaw liked to freshen up under this natural power shower. We’d agree that this is an invigorating swim in a under this 30ft cascade of water is a delight, and also makes for a wonderful refresh if you’re walking the West Highland Way, which runs nearby.
How to get there: The falls can be reached after a short walk upstream from the car park at FK20 8RL, just off the A82.
JANET’S FOSS, YORKSHIRE
Janet, Queen of Fairies, is said to dwell in the caves that are tucked behind this beautiful waterfall, and there’s a good chance your toes will brush the lucky pennies thrown into the pool below by visitors making wishes. A ramble along the the woodland path to this shady spot is wonderful during the spring, when wild garlic scents the air. Pick a sunny day and the water of the pool will be lit a vivid emerald green.
How to get there: It’s a three mile walk from the village of Malham to reach the foss.
KISDON FORCE, YORKSHIRE
On a hot summer’s day there are few places more perfect to cool off in than Kisdon Force’s twin falls. These rushing cascades come complete with deep plunge pools perfect for swimming and wide rock shelves ideal for a spot of sunbathing or for jumping in if you’re brave, although it’s a bit of a scramble to reach the water. The falls are just off the Pennine way, and the path to reach them is lined by wildflowers in the spring.
How to get there: The path to the upper and lower waterfalls is signposted from the Pennine Way, near Keld – this is a nice 8-mile hike if you fancy a walk to reach them.
LINHOPE SPOUT, ALNWICK
In the heart of Northumberland International Dark Sky Park you’ll find Linhope Spout’s eighteen metre-long cascade, a wonderful sight that feels a magical plunge pool that’s rumoured to be bottomless, but nevertheless is perfect for paddles. The walk to reach this spot is just as special – keep your eyes peeled for red squirrels peeking out of tall Scots Pines as you ramble.
How to get there: Follow this three mile walk from Hartside.
WATERFALL COUNTRY, BRECON BEACONS
You’ll have your pick of waterfalls on the Four Falls Trail, which winds past a clutch of cascades (namely Sgwd Clun-Gwyn waterfall, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn waterfall, Sgwd y Pannwr waterfall, and Sgwd yr Eira waterfall) deep in the forests of the Brecon Beacons. You could take all day to explore and dip in each gem in what’s called Waterfall Country, or just swim at my favourite, Sgŵd-yr-Eira, which you can walk behind if you’re brave. Don’t forget to check out more of my favourite wild swimming spots in Wales.
How to get there: Follow the Four Falls Trail to reach all four waterfalls from Cwm Porth car park (CF44 9JE).