The not-so-hot waters of Leith Hill, Surrey

Last weekend, inspired by Daniel Start’s Wild Swimming, we piled into the car with the newlywed Mr and Mrs KL and headed out of London to the greenery of Surrey in search of some wild waters.

Now when I hear the term “wild swimming” I instantly think long grass, clear blue waters and most importantly, SUNSHINE. Well, we got the long grass, we had some sunshine and the water, well it was a little murky but we braved it!

It took just under an hour to drive from Streatham to Dorking. Daniel Start’s book provides great inspiration for places in the UK where you can swim outdoors however for this particular route, it didn’t give very accurate information about actually finding the “series of idyllic private lakes” referenced in the book. Therefore we started in the car park on Friday Street as instructed but within minutes we were lost and the directions in the book began to bare little-to-no resemblance to the paths we were walking. We passed a sweet wee pub called the Stephan Langton Inn (resisting the temptation to sack it off altogether and just hit the g&ts for the afternoon!) then did a large circuit in the wrong direction before finding some cyclists who mentioned the “idyllic” ponds they knew in Broadmoor, the next valley along. Jackpot!

Following their directions, we made our way up the hill until we reached a sign for Broadmoor. A little further on, we passed a waterfall on our right and then spotted some water to our left which we decided must be the “idyllic” ponds . Had it not been for the cyclists we would never have found them!

Waterfall Copse, Leith Hill

After exploring to find the largest and clearest pool, we returned to the first one and before any of us could change our minds, dived in (well slowly and cautiously lowered ourselves in shrieking about how cold it was!!) We weren’t in for very long but it was long enough to take a few photos as evidence:                 Now I’m not going to lie: it was no Bains de Paquis or Blue Lagoon. However it was possibly the most untouched and natural waters I have ever swam in! Which is saying something considering its proximity to the big smoke. I think for now however I might stick to reviewing the hot waters of this world…

COST: 5/5 (free!)



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