Wales was made for wild swimming with its rivers, waterfalls, lakes and quarries.
Anyone thinking of going for a dip should make sure that it is safe to swim as there are hidden risks lurking underwater in many reservoirs and other spots that might look ideal for a swim.
At many sites owned or managed by Welsh Water or Natural Resources Wales, there are signs urging people not to swim because of the dangers.
Yet, although you should always take care and make sure someone is with you, there are plenty of places where when the water warms up in the sunshine, it will quickly make you feel more alive than you have felt in months stuck at home in lockdown.
These are just some of the places where you can go for a dip in Wales – and at most of them you’ll hardly see anyone else around.
Blue Lagoon in Abereiddy, Pembrokeshire
This lagoon was created when an old slate quarry was flooded and is now a wonderful place to swim
Many jump from the old winching tower but people are urged not to jump from the top tower at low tides.
Cwm Llwch, Brecon Beacons
According to the National Trust, Llyn Cwm Llwch is the best preserved glacial lake in South Wales and sits right at the head of the Cwm Llwch valley.
It sits in the shadow of Corn Du and Penyfan, to the north west and is a magic spot for a dip on a hot day after a long walk
Keeper’s Pond, Blaenavon
This high-level lake in the south Wales Valleys is a beautiful place for a dip. It is part of the World Heritage Site at Blaenavon.
The lake was built in 1817 to power the Garn Ddyrys iron forge. The force was dismantled in the 1860s and has been a local beauty spot ever since. It is know as Keeper’s Pond because of the gamekeeper of the grouse moors lived nearby.
You’ll find it a mile north of Blaenavon on the B4246. There is a lovely walk on the Blorenge Mountain nearby.
Bredwardine Bridge, River Wye
There are many lovely spots for a dip in the River Wye and few better than Brewardine Bridge.
The website wildswimming.co.uk describes the water here as slow and cooling with easy parking nearby.
Brewardine is close to Hay-on-Wye but just over the border in England.
The Warren, Hay on Wye, River Wye
Best-known for its bookshops and literary festivals this is also home to the well-known “warren” – a stretch of riverside shingle ever popular with families. The warren is around a 20-minute walk upstream from the town centre and a little further on the river gets deeper, presenting opportunities for a longer swim.
Llyn Eiddew Bach
A beautiful tarn in the remote northern Rhinogs on Snowdonia, with cliffs for jumping and fabulous views of the sea.
To get there, head for Maes-y-Neuadd house (LL47 6YA), off the B4573 to Harlech.
Turn right (by “hotel 200 yards” sign) up a narrow steep lane and continue for three quarters of a mile to road end and parking.
Follow the track three quarters of a mile, across wall stile, and a further three quarters of a mile to reach the lake.
Llyn y Fan Fach, Carmarthenshire
Llyn y Fan Fach is largely surrounded by sheer slopes which shield it from view in nearly all directions. If you don’t know it’s there, you only find out after a long walk uphill through the remote landscape of the Carmarthen Fans. It’s worth the effort. As the lake emerges in front of you, you’ll see why it spawned the legend of the lady of the lake and the physicians of Myddfai. A truly magical place.
It is deep, at 18m, and cold, but not as cold as Llyn y Fan Fawr nearby.
Llangynidr, River Usk
Near the village are two lovely, hidden-away pools in remote countryside.
The pools are deep enough to jump into in parts.
You can get there on a rough trail heading towards Gliffaes. The pool is also used as the salmon pool for fishing from the Gliffaes Hotel.
Llyn Cau, Cadair Idris
This beautiful lake will wake you up but you might need cooling down after a walk up here on a cold day.
The dramatic glacial lake is set at the foot of 400m high mountain walls.
Swallow Falls, near Betws-y-Coed, Conwy
This waterfall is one of north Wales’s best-known natural attractions, having been featured in paintings, postcards and films. Whatever the time of year the waterfall attracts visitors from all over the world, so you’re certain to be swimming before an audience. Those in the know say the best place to take a dip is below the waterfall by the footbridge.
Cilgerran, River Teifi
An impressive twin-towered Norman castle overlooks this deep, forested Teifi gorge.
Swim down the river under the shadow of its ruins, or take a canoe and go exploring.
Radyr Weir, Cardiff
This is a beautiful part of the River Taff. The river here is clean and gentle flowing. Above the weir the water is about 30cm deep, but upstream the depth reaches around three metres. However those venturing in should be careful because the Taff is one of the steepest mainland major rivers in the UK and prone to flash flooding. You shouldn’t swim in the basin immediately after heavy rain.
Pen-doll Rocks, Builth Wells, Powys
This is an exhilarating stretch of the Wye that narrows through rocky cliffs. Further downstream are safe white sandy bays, while upstream the water laps through a small rocky gorge. The area is said to be dangerous in high water.
The River Ewenny near Ogmore Castle, Ogmore-by-Sea, Vale of Glamorgan
This is more of a family paddling area, but those determined to enjoy the freedom of a leisurely swim can venture to a nearby site on the River Ogmore.
And when you’ve finished getting your feet wet you can always enjoy a stroll around the grounds of the ruined 11th century castle.
Llyn Mymbyr, Gwynedd
This is in the shadow of Snowdon. Pictured is Lady Alice Douglas, who often takes a plunge with her children in the wild waters around her home in the mountain’s foothills. The lake, about 30ft at its deepest and three-quarters of a mile long, runs from Capel Curig towards the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel.
A mysterious freshwater quarry with clear blue waters and rocks, surrounded by overgrown, ruined quarry buildings.
In the early 19th century, Rosebush and neighbouring Bellstone were small slate quarries surrounded by wilderness, and the area feels remote even today.
It’s found between Fishguard and Narbeth.
Stretching almost a mile in length and covering around 45 acres, this lake can be reached from Trefriw or Llanrwst in the Conwy Valley – but it’s not the easiest place to get to.
However it’s probably worth the effort as it’s the only lake in Snowdonia where power boats and water skiing are permitted.
Despite the lake’s vast size, it is never any deeper than 50 feet.
Llyn Du’r Arddu, Clogwyn
A deep blue lake set under a 100m sheer crag (Cloggy), this place is famous in climbing circles and in traditional folklore.
It’s found below the main Llanberis path, directly below Clogwyn station.
Cwm Pennant, Golan
Cwm Pennant is a clear blue lagoon in a hidden cleft, at the head of one of the most remote and beautiful valleys in Snowdonia, and is a favourite of Daniel Start, author of Wild Swimming.
You’ll need a map to find it – and these are Daniel’s directions.
From Penmorfa (A487 W of Porthmadog) follow the signs to Cwm Pennant via Woollen Mill, and continue four miles, through several gates, to a road end and car park.
Follow path 300m up to a ruined mine manager’s house, then continue up the old railway, to reach a ruined watermill and factor. From there you can follow the stream valley to find old reservoir 200m above.
Horseshoe Falls, Pontneddfechan
This is a pair of pools lying deep in the forest beneath the waterfall. The main pool drains into the second one, which is almost as large. Most of the time they are calm and serene places to swim.
Little Canyon, Pontneddfechan
There are large rocky outcrops to watch out for but on a hot day the water is blissfully cold on a walk up the valley from Pontneddfechan