Summer is here and there’s nothing better than enjoying a dip and a paddle in the water to cool off. And, the Yorkshire Dales wild swimming spots are fantastic. From Janet’s Foss’s beautiful hidden waterfall in the woodland surroundings to other beautiful plunge pools, the Dales has some beautiful waterfalls.
As well as being fun and connecting with nature, wild swimming has some great benefits such as boosting immune systems, improving circulation and boosting your brain power.
But, it doesn’t come without its dangers and you need to be very careful. Cold waters can be dangerous so make sure you don’t stay in for longer than 20 minutes. You should also make sure you don’t go in if you lack confidence swimming and be well aware that even in shallow waters there can be fast-flowing waters that will knock you off your feet o always think about whether you can exit the water and identify emergency exits.
Avoid rivers after a big rainfall and be aware that just because it looks calm on top, currents underneath could be dangerous so make sure you do your research on any river that you visit.
If you’re a beginner in the world of wild swimming, check out this article on wild swimming safely.
1. Ibbeth Peril & Hell’s Cauldron
Ibbeth Perial is a large plunge pool found in the Dentable region of the Yorkshire Dales. Downstream from the waterfall is Hell’s Cauldron which is a waterfall and a deep pool. A great old place to explore the waterfalls.
2. Stainforth Force
Looking for some action, Stainforth Force has a deep pool that offers chances for the brave to take a leap. There are a series of pools and falls along the River Ribble at this popular Yorkshire Dale wild swimming spot.
3. Janet’s Foss
A magical waterfall near the village of Malham, Janet’s Foss has a brilliant plunge pool that is the perfect place to cool off after the 4-mile walk along Malham Cove, Gordale Scar. It’s aid that a magical fairy lives behind the waterfall.
4. Catrigg Force
A couple of miles from Stainforth village is the Yorkshire Dales wild swimming spot of Catrigg Force. The beck flows down to a magical pool surrounded by woodland. Hidden away and perfect for a secluded swim after a walk in the surrounding hills.
5. Loup Scar
This grand stretch of water includes a short limestone gorge with a plunge pool and a grassy area for a picnic making it the perfect spot for Yorkshire Dales wild swimming as well as a picnic. It’s just a stone’s throw from the village of Burnsall, which is a beautiful place to visit in itself.
Semerwater is the biggest lake behind Malham Tarn, and unlike Malham Tarn it is the perfect lake in the Yorkshire Dales for wild swimming. It is half a mile long and if you don’t fancy a walk around in you stop for a swim and sit and relax along the edge of the shimmering water.
7. Cotter Force
One of the more popular waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales, Cotter Force is found along with Cotterdale Beck just down from where it flows into, the River Ure, in upper Wensleydale. It is accessible from Holme Heads Bridge where there is a large layby. It’s a perfect spot for beginners to the world of wild swimming and has great access, so all can enjoy.
8. Wain Wath Force
The lovely wild swimming spot has a grassy bank for picnics and a lovely wide waterfall and a plunge pool to cool off on those hot summer days.
9. Kisdon Force
Kisdon Force, in the heart of the Dales, is one of the most beautiful waterfalls that you’ll find in the UK. And we aren’t the only ones who think so, either. Deep in the emerald green woodland, it’s a series of waterfalls on the River Swale, which is also one of our favourite walks in Yorkshire.
A rocky pool along the River Wharfe, Applretreewick has a large beach. Bear in mind that due to the rocks, you should be extra vigilant for submerged rocks that can make it tricky for swimming.