Hot days call for swimming. Back when living in Australia we would spend many days on the beach during the Summer months. So, when we moved back to England we were a bit stuck for ideas of where we could go. Until I discovered Olney River Swimming!
With Northamptonshire (and Olney) being so inland, getting to the beach is not really an option for a quick day trip. If you have visited Olney before then you won’t expect it to be a hot spot for a swim but you would be very wrong!
Please make sure if you are planning to go wild river swimming you are aware of the dangers. Please read this post on Wild Swimming Safety.
finding Olney river swimming…
The access to the river, where swimming is best, is right behind the football club (see map at bottom of post). There is very limited street parking but the club itself has a good size carpark. I am not sure what their policy is on using their carpark if you are not visiting the club itself and I also imagine it gets fairly busy at the weekends.
If you walk alongside the club, past the playground, and straight through the middle of the sports fields, you will come straight to the rivers access point (about a 3-5 minute walk).
On a side note, the playground looks great and once it is reopened (after lockdown) we shall visit and review it.
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once you get there…
Once you get to the river, there is plenty of space to sit. Most of it is in the sun but there are a few large trees that provide some shade. From the grass, there are some man-made steps that lead down to the water (but not into it).
On entering the river it is just under a metre deep and stays like this for a few metres. It does then suddenly get really deep so you do need to take care of non-swimmers.
If you head along the path to the right, into the next field then you can sit next to the deep area. This seems to be a popular area for families with older or no kids. A short swim across the river will take you to a rope that you can swing off, landing in the water.
There were a number of people with inflatable boats and canoes when we visited and loads of kids had inflatable rings and lilos which we will definitely take with us next time.
Please be aware that there is a strict ban on both drinking alcohol and BBQs here. There are police patrolling regularly that will ask you to empty your drink or extinguish any BBQ
Also ensure you park sensibly, there have been a number of complaints about people parking in dangerous or selfish ways. There are regular parking wardens about.
There are no public toilets at Olney river but it is easily accessible by pram.
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