From gently paddling along the country’s highest beach to thrashing out no-nonsense laps of an industrial dock, Greater Manchester offers a surprisingly broad selection of cold water swimming spots.

Whether you’re a cold-curious beginner or a Channel-crawling professional, wrestle your wetsuit on and head to one of these.

Gaddings Dam | Todmorden | West Yorkshire | Free

Perched atop the windswept moors, Gaddings Dam reservoir offers one of the best wild swimming spots in the country. There’s no official teaching, nor any road access – reaching the shoreline comes as a reward for a steep hike up a rough footpath – so less experienced swimmers should travel with company for a certified bucket list dip at the nation’s official highest beach.

Openswim | Sale Waterpark | Sale | £7

Running on weekends from October to January, Openswim UK offers everything from introductory lessons to preparations for swimming the Channel. With casual sessions starting at just £7, invigorating loops of Sale Water Park’s enormous artificial lake allow visitors to discover, or perhaps endure, the myriad benefits of wild swimming alongside ‘the most experienced coaching team in the North West’.

Rifle Rd, Sale M33 2LX, Tel: 01782 722226
Farm Club | Pickmere | Knutsford | From £7

Set within 300 acres of sprawling Cheshire countryside, The Farm Club offers unrivalled facilities in a ludicrously serene environment, with 400m and 750m loops open to swimmers in a controlled environment – no tides, no currents, and the reassuring presence of a safety kayak. Pay As You Go sessions start at £7, while you can book a full introduction to open water swimming, led by GB Ice Swimmer Sam Farrow, for just £40.

Mere View Farm, Pickmere, Knutsford, WA16 0LG
Open Water Swimming | Salford Watersports Centre | Salford Quays | £5

Running between April and October and on every Sunday morning throughout the winter months, Salford Watersports’ urbane Cold Water Swimming sessions feature 300m and 500m lap courses around Dock 8 for confident first-timers and seasoned professionals alike. To close out their summer programme, the group are hosting a Halloween Night Swim on Tue 25 Oct.

15 The Quays, Salford M50 3SQ
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Mon 18 Mar 2024