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Dive into a hidden paradise with our blog showcasing the best wild swimming in the Peak District. Expect the untamed beauty of natural pools, cascading streams and stunning waterfalls. An outdoor enthusiast’s haven!

The Peak District National Park is undeniably one of the most beautiful places in the UK, offering outdoor activities in abundance. If you’re looking for something different why not jump on the wild swimming craze?

Whether you’re looking to clear your mind with a peaceful swim surrounded by nature or cool down after summiting epic peaks Peak District wild swimming could be perfect for you. With a great selection of pools, ponds and rivers, there is something for everyone!

Looking to take the plunge? Read on to find 7  of the best wild swimming spots in the Peak District…

The 7 Best Peak District Wild Swimming Spots

1. Mermaid’s Pool, Kinder Scout, High Peak

Mermaid’s Pool

The first wild swimming spot in the Peak District thought to be home to a mermaid is the aptly named Mermaid’s Pool, tucked away just below Kinder Scout in the Peak District’s High Peak region.

This unusual saltwater ‘pool’ is thought to have healing powers. The brave of heart or those on a quest for eternal life would take a dip in the icy water at midnight on Easter Sunday when the mermaid was thought to appear. She would then decide whether to grant your mortality wishes or drag you to the depths!

Choose a pleasant day to visit this wild swimming spot, as the surrounding dramatic moorland can become quite treacherous in adverse conditions. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth treating yourself to a refreshing swim after completing the demanding Kinder Scout Walk.

Suitable For: Adults
GPS Coordinates:
Parking: Bowden Bridge Car Park, SK22 2LJ
Parking Charge:
Pay and display parking

2. Slippery Stones, Upper Derwent, Sheffield

Packhorse bridge at Slippery Stones

Located at the northeastern end of the Peak District National Park, just north of Howden Reservoir in the Upper Derwent Valley, is Slippery Stones.

This wild swimming spot in the Peak District is nestled within a network of hiking, cycling, and walking trails, offering a range of difficulty levels and distances. Taking a dip in this open-water swim area is the perfect way to cool off after a day of exploring attractions like Bamford Edge, Snake Woodland, and the Longdendale Trail!

The area deep enough for swimming is quite small and may become crowded during the summer months, but the remarkable surrounding views are well worth it.

Be sure to add this Sheffield wild swimming spot to your must-do list on your next visit!

Suitable For: Adults
GPS Coordinates:
Parking is available here every day except Sundays, 53.4419677,-1.7467555. Otherwise, there is parking available at Upper Derwent Visitor Centre, S33 0AQ, 10km away.
Parking Charge:
Free parking and Pay and display at Upper Derwent Visitor Centre

3. Three Shires Head, River Dane, Axe Edge Moor

Three Shires Head

Recognised as one of the best wild swimming spots in the UK is Three Shires Head! A particularly attractive open water swimming spot in the Peak District on the River Dane, where the counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire all meet.

Here, a striking waterfall and a collection of pools meet on the river, making it one of the purest bathing spots in the Peaks. The water is clear and flows straight off the hills, which provides a wonderful backdrop to your afternoon wild swim.

The 7ft deep pool can be found at the foot of the waterfall, whilst the large boulders are great for dipping your toes into the icy cold water.

End the day on a high by lingering over a pint at The Cat and Fiddle pub, the second-highest pub in the UK, resting just a picturesque walk away.

Suitable For: Families
GPS Coordinates:
Layby parking is available here, 53.219973, -1.9986102
Parking Charge:
This layby is free

4. Youlgreave, Bakewell

River Bradford, Youlgreave

This family-friendly Peak District wild swimming spot can be found on the River Bradford, just a short drive from the lovely village of Bakewell, famed for its sweet treat.

This designated spot for wild swimming in the Peak District has been carved out of rock and clean, fresh water runs through freely. It’s not surprising that it is a popular spot for children to paddle and for families to enjoy an afternoon dip.

However, the water can get pretty chilly, so for those feeling less brave, why not pack a lilo and bob along the water peacefully instead?

There is plenty of grassland surrounding the river, perfect for a picnic once you’ve dried off and warmed up. After which, you can embark on a circular walk that takes you right around the river. A perfect Peak District day out for all!

Suitable For: Families
GPS Coordinates:
Parking is limited in the village of Bakewell, find a small car park here, 53.1771921,-1.6805223
Parking Charge:
There is an honesty box for this car park

5. Chee Dale, Buxton

Chee Dale

This Peak District gem offers a dramatic backdrop to Peak District wild swimming. Admire the steep-sided gorge, which stands imposingly alongside the River Wye, just a short distance from Buxton.

Chee Dale offers also offers a selection of walking trails to embark upon. Meander along the curves of the Wye, negotiating the stepping-stones crossing. Before reaching the protected nature reserve, managed by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, complete with a quarry.

Access the Monsal Trail, which runs along a former railway line and takes in striking limestone dales, a plethora of colourful flora, an incredible viaduct and several tunnel systems. This is a must-visit for an unforgettable day out in the Peak District.

Suitable For: Adults
GPS Coordinates:
Limited parking at Chee Dale Layby, SK17 8TD and pay and display car park at Millers Dale Car Park, SK17 8SN
Parking Charge:
Free parking in Chee Dale Layby, pay and display at Millers Dale

6. Peakshole, Castleton

Peakshole, Castleton

Peakshole Water is the next spot on our list of the best wild swimming in the Peak District. Flowing from its source at Peak Cavern, it weaves through Castleton village and into Hope towards the River Noe.

Castleton provides a fantastic day out! Look forward to a network of intricate underground caves, filled with fascinating rock formations, including Peak, Speedwell and Treak Cliff caverns. Or discover fantastic walking trails through the limestone valleys and rolling countryside of Hope Valley; exploration is endless!

The Cave Dale walk is particularly scenic, encompassing striking rocky terrain and lush countryside, as well as the fascinating landmarks of Mam Tor and Great Ridge.

Cool off after an active day exploring above or below ground, enjoying a picnic on the grass that surrounds you, before rounding off the afternoon with an open water swim.

Suitable For: Adults
GPS Coordinates:
Peak Cavern Car Park, S33 8WN
Parking Charge:
Pay and display, £7 all day, £3 after 5pm

7. Padley Gorge, Grindleford

Padley Gorge

Finally, on our guide to the best wild swimming in the Peak District is Padley Gorge. Arguably the most magical, lose yourself in the dense woodland before stumbling across the flowing streams and cascading waterfalls.

This characterful wild swimming location is popular with families as its shallow waters are perfect for kids. Take off your shoes and join them by dipping your toes in the refreshing stream.

Padley Gorge is also the ultimate day out for families as there is an abundance of Peak District walks woven throughout the valley. Enjoy the 2.7 circular Padley Gorge walk and amble through the picturesque heather moorland of Longshaw Estate.

Suitable For: Families
GPS Coordinates:
Parking available at Long Shaw Estate, S11 7TZ
Parking Charge: 
Pay and display parking here, it is, however, free for National Trust members

Wild Swimming Peak District Map

Fancy taking the plunge? Share your favourite wild swimming spots with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Find your ideal Peak District holiday cottage and discover more fascinating things to do during your stay with our Peak District Travel Guide.

Image credits: Chris Downer – CC BY-SA 2.0; Chris MorrissCC BY 2.0; Steve FCC BY-SA 2.0; David Dixon – CC BY-SA 2.0;  Dave Dunford – CC BY-SA 2.0; Cattan2011CC BY 2.0

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