Wild Swimming is a release, the likes of which are unrivalled. Such is the nature of wild swimming, it can be done in many different places, be it sea, lake, river or ocean.

Wild swimming offers you a unique experience, to feel more alive and to give you time and space in a natural environment to relax and be with nature. It’s a calming experience, even for those who seek thrills from waves and rapids. And while South Wales is one of the best places in the whole of the UK to enjoy an extensive range of exciting activities such as cycling, hiking, photography and wildlife watching, this beautiful region also lends itself to one of the most exhilarating natural experiences on offer: wild swimming.

From gorgeous beaches to secluded pools, there are plenty of places to take a refreshing dip in the South of Wales during your stay. Below, we’ve listed just a few of our favourite wild swimming hotspots.


Our Favourite Wild Swimming Spots


Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire

A person swimming in the sea at Barafundle Bay.

One of Wales’ most exquisite beaches, Barafundle Bay is the perfect place to take a dip in the inviting aqua waters of the stunning Welsh coast and let all of your troubles float away. If you’re looking for a picturesque alternative to wild swimming in the countryside, we recommend heading to this beautiful bay in Pembrokeshire where welcoming waves, golden dunes and an array of flora and fauna make this a truly postcard-perfect setting to enjoy with your loved one, family or friends.

Barafundle Bay is also one of Wales’ best dog-friendly beaches, so why not bring your four-legged friend along too?


Little Canyon, Pontneddfechan

Nestled away in the stunning little village of Pontneddfechan (spelt Pontneathvaughan in English) is Little Canyon, a secluded pool that’s perfect for gorge swimming and underwater exploring! A popular wild swimming spot for both locals and visitors, this crystal-clear pool meanders along for 30 metres to create a narrow channel and is accompanied either side by large rocky hillsides that provide the ideal base from which to jump into the shimmering waters below! However, a visit to Little Canyon is not recommended after heavy rainfall as the area can become flooded and, subsequently, dangerous.


The River Usk, Brecon Beacons

A person’s legs protruding from the water as they jump into the River Usk.

Winding between the mountainous terrain of the Brecon Beacons, the River Usk flows for 75 miles meaning, whichever part of this beautiful national park you’re visiting, a wild swimming spot is never far away! Take a refreshing dip in the charming pools at Llangynidr or enjoy a bite to eat at the island picnic site near Usk while your little ones play in the glistening water nearby. Whichever part of the River Usk you visit, a swim in this enchanting waterway is sure to make for a truly memorable experience during your South Wales glamping holiday!


Broad Haven Beach, Pembrokeshire

Known for its golden sandy stretch and breath-taking views of St Brides Bay, Broad Haven Beach is an idyllic location in which to enjoy a spot of coastal wild swimming while glamping in South Wales. Not only do the beach’s shallow waters make this an ideal location for swimmers of all ages to spend some time splashing about in the waves, but with lifeguards on duty between June and September, parents can rest easy knowing that their little ones will be safe while they relax on the sand nearby.


Horseshoe Falls, Pontneddfechan

Pontneddfechan Waterfall by Charmaine/Flickr

Pontneddfechan Waterfall by Charmaine/Flickr

Another of Pontneddfechan’s prime wild swimming spots, Horseshoe Falls comprises of two shimmering pools that lie beneath a majestic waterfall. As such, if you’re looking for a fairy tale setting where you can experience a peaceful swim in the heart of nature, this is the place to go.

Feel the cooling spray of the waterfall tickle your face as you float atop these serene pools, watching the world go by and listening to the sound of birds as you glide along the surface. For those who don’t fancy taking a dip, the riverbanks nearby provide great spots for several other relaxing activities such as photography, reading and wildlife watching.


Safety when swimming in the Wild

For some genuinely good safety tips involving the different types of Wild swimming, check out the health and safety section at wildswimming.co.uk. However, here are some good tips to stay safe.


  1. Research your spot. If you’re about to jump in with two feet first, know what you’re jumping into. Swat up on your research before swimming in a new spot – find out if others swim there? Find out if swimming permitted? If the answer is no, don’t be foolish.
  2. Do your checks. Always check the depth and speed of the water before you get in – especially in the sea or ocean, or before getting into rivers where there are rapid. Currents can have wicked drags that take you away from safety. You should check carefully for any hidden rocks, and in rivers, avoid areas with fast-flowing currents that you do not know where they end.
  3. Know when (and where) to quit. When you do your research, know your exit point. It is just as important as the conditions of getting in. Have more than one exit point planned, in case of emergencies. Search out your (easy, if possible) exit point before entering the water.
  4. Gear up. Make sure you wear the appropriate attire for swimming. In colder weather, wear a winter wetsuit, and consider a summer suit for the warmer climbs. Wear appropriate, water-resistant shoes with a good grip when you’re swimming off rocks.
  5. Don’t go wild swimming alone. Take a swimming buddy where possible, and have each other’s back.
  6. Warm-up upon exit. Start warming up as soon as you get out – keep some warm clothes, socks and a coat handy and if you can, have warm drink as soon as possible.
  7. Swim clean, part 1. Be sober and alert as you can be when you enter the water. Respect it, and if you’ve indulged in any other type of liquid, sit this one out.
  8. Swim clean, part 2. Only swim where the water is clean and avoid at all costs swimming in city rivers and canals – the water can carry harmful bacteria in built-up areas, and you do not want a piece of that action. Lakes and ponds can also be home to bugs and what-not, so avoid swimming anywhere with stagnant water or surface scum sitting on top of the water.
  9. Join the club. It’s a growing sport and many seasoned locals can help you gain confidence and knowledge of local reefs or swimming spots. This will keep you safe and informed.


When will you start ‘wild swimming’?

Will you be visiting any of these wild swimming locations? If you’re looking for the perfect accommodation to retreat to after a day in the water, why not browse our stunning range of glamping abodes in South Wales today? From cosy cabins and secluded shepherd’s huts to magical treehouses and stylish yurts, there’s plenty to choose from here at Quality Unearthed. Contact us today to start planning your wild getaway.

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Brecon Beacons Environment Nature Outdoors Pembrokeshire Things to do Wales