The Outdoor Swimming Guide – Edited by Kathy Rogers and published by Vertebrate Publishing.


It is always exciting for me to receive a new open water swimming guide and a pleasure to be given the opportunity to review it.  The Outdoor Swimming Guide was a book I had my eye on as I was expecting its release.  A new book, full of swimming locations and ideas is a welcome gift.

The book is well presented and follows a similar format to other wild Swimming guides that I’ve seen.  It’s a similar size to other open water books such as Wild Swimming by Daniel Start and so fits nicely in the backpack.

There are 9 chapters, each one representing a region of the UK along with the standard safety information to kick start the book off.

I’m definitely a fan of understanding the safety and respecting the environment so this is important to emphasise.  The introduction offers advisory notes for beginners looking to swim outdoors and there are some excellent tips to getting started covering safety, equipment lists and some tips that you might not have thought about.

The chapters take you through the following areas:

The South-West of England

The South-East of England

Central England


Northern England



Swims at a glance

The book is more of a general overview of the UK so if this is your first wild swimming guide, I think it’s a great start.  It doesn’t really delve deeply into each county or region as that would clearly be too big.  For example, I’m a regular visitor to Cornwall and there are just 5 swims in this book in this county (one of which is a lido).

I think my expectations were a little skewed as I was hoping it would give me fresh wild swimming ideas. Having gone through the book, it’s important to note that this is called The Outdoor Swimming Guide NOT specifically a wild swimming guide.  Lidos and open water pools do feature throughout the book.  Devon has 31 entries in the book 18 of which are open water pools or lidos.  They are differentiated by a colour coding so its easy to pick out the wild spaces if that is what you’re looking for.  Green is for wild swimming places, blue for lidos and outdoor pools and purple for open water swimming places (described as rivers, lakes in supervised conditions)

Each entry is clearly laid out.  A colour coded title, grid reference, address, contact details and website (if there is one).  There is also a standard key offering a quick guide to whether there is parking, toilet and café facilities nearby plus more.  You’ll find a brief description of the swim and a short paragraph about how to access it.

There are some lovely photos in the book but I personally wouldn’t say it’s filled with stunning images and scenery. I feel it’s a book complied to be a useful source of material that does what it says on the cover.  I would happily take this with me, wherever I go to see if there are good swimming opportunities near by.  I don’t see myself browsing through it for a pleasurable read.  I’ll certainly take it to the pub when I’m on an adventure and use it to seek out the next swimming opportunity.  It’s useful and functional for the outdoor swimmer.

Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor swimmer or wanting to get started on your open water journey, this is a really useful book that’ll give you ideas of swimming locations wherever you are in the UK.  You will no doubt find many great swimming opportunities contained within.  Enjoy!

Copies of this book can be purchased from the publishers