Top Wild Swimming Spots Coniston
Stretching 5.2 miles and accessible from every direction, there are plenty of wild swimming opportunities to be had on Coniston Water.
Due to mandatory water speed restrictions, Coniston Water enjoys a much slower pace than neighbouring Windermere. The absence of boat traffic here makes it perfect for first-time dippers and experienced swimmers alike.
Below we’ve rounded up our top spots for taking to the water in Coniston along with some useful information surrounding wild swimming.
1. Water Head & Monk Coniston
At the northern end of the Lake, swimmers can enjoy peaceful and shallow waters away from the hubbub of the boating centre and the steamers that navigate the lake.
The shoreline here is comprised of a narrow shingle beach which enjoys views down the length of the lake and dappled woodland.
Due to its sheltered nature, this is it is a great place for newbies to get a feel for wild swimming or anyone looking for a relaxed swim with easy access.
Useful Info: There is parking available at the head of the lake along with toilet facilities.
In summer the car park and shoreline can become crowded so you’re best arriving either early morning or early evening, this way you’ll get to enjoy the water without the crowds.
Top Tip: pack a picnic and grab a spot on the shoreline post-swim, the views across to Coniston Old Man and the Yewdale Fells are quite spectacular.
2. Brown Howe
Situated on the Western side of the lake and very popular with families given its wide shingle beach & gentle shallow access.
This is a great wild swimming spot for beginners looking to dip their toes or anyone with limited mobility, given the proximity of the car park. You’ll find plenty of swimmers here during the summer months and given the open nature of the shoreline there is plenty of space for an enjoyable dip without venturing out too far into the lake.
Useful info: Parking is available near the shore with toilet facilities (inc. disabled). The nearest shop/Pub to pick up refreshments post-swim is Torver Deli at The Wilson Arms 2.5 miles north.
Top Tip: In peak months, arrive at the car park early to secure a space.
3. High Peel & Low Peel Near
Two peninsulas situated on the eastern side of the lake looking out across to Peel Island or ‘Wild Cat’ island (Swallows & Amazons). Given their location they are popular spots for all water users during the summer months, so it’s best to arrive early if planning a dip here.
Low Peel enjoys easier access given its shingle beach however there are plenty of quieter access points off High Peel, you just need to make your way through the oak woodland to access the shore.
Useful information: Parking is limited on the east side of the lake with a few car parks/laybys dotted along the shore. There are no toilet facilities available.
Top Tip: Arrive early in summer to ensure a car parking space. For a post-swim treat head to The Terrace Cafe at Brantwood further up the east side of the lake for mouthwatering cake and views to match. The eastern side of the lake benefits from enjoying the evening sun so pack a picnic and make a day of it.
4. Beacon Tarn
Ok so this is technically not on Coniston Water but it’s nearby. Accessible only by foot Beacon Tarn is a peaceful and secluded swimming spot offering superb views towards the Coniston fell range. Given its depth, the water is usually much warmer than the lake. It’s also pretty clear!
Top tip: Park at Blawith Common and head up on foot, pack a picnic and enjoy the views.
Wild Swiming Top Tips:
- Preparation is key, do your homework, check the weather, and water depth, and pack your bags with extra layers/food/drinks etc.
- Safety in numbers. Swim with others and always let someone know where you are going. Why not have a friend join you on a kayak or paddleboard, that way there is someone on hand should you need assistance.
- Start slowly, if you’re new to wild swimming get a feel for it by sticking to the shore. Avoid swimming into the centre of the lake unless completely confident in your ability to swim back.
- Dress accordingly, if you’re new to wild swimming then a wetsuit may be the best option for you to acclimatise to the water temperature. Stay visible to other lake users by wearing a swim hat/float. Swim shoes are also useful for helping you get in and out of the water especially when rocky underfoot.
- Choose your entry and exit points before entering the water.
- Allow your body to adjust to the water temperature by entering slowly thus minimising the chances of cold water shock.
- Be aware of blue-green algae, especially during warmer weather. Do not enter the water if algae has been reported.
- Wrap up in plenty of layers post-swim. Hyperthermia is a risk even during the warmer months.
Further information and tips can be found on https://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com/
Looking for a wild swimming event? The Chill Swim Coniston end-to-end takes place at the end of June and entries are still available. https://chillswim.com/chillswim-coniston-end-to-end/
Looking to explore the area, come find out what Coniston has to offer with our handy guide. https://www.lakesandcountry.co.uk/local-area-lakedistrict/local-area-coniston/