Cumbria park makes a splash with wild swimmers


Sublime swimming spots, such as Eskdale (above), are just a short scenic drive from Skelwith Fold

People with a passion for plunging into lakes, pools and rivers are helping to make a Cumbria caravan park the county’s capital for wild swimming.

Skelwith Fold near Ambleside says that lists of top wild swimming locations in the Lake District invariably place the park at the epicentre of opportunities.

As a result, it reports, touring caravan and motorhome owners who enjoy stripping off and slipping into cool, clear waters represent a fast-growing sector of guests.

Now park visitors even have their own personal adviser to natural swimming sites in the form of Jess Sutcliffe, a member of Skelwith Fold’s customer services team.

More visitors taking the plunge, says Jess

More visitors taking the plunge, says Jess (above)

Jess, who raised £1,700 for Parkinson’s UK when she took part in Windermere’s Great North Swim, says wild dippers get the best of all worlds at the park:

“There is a fantastic range of options just a short drive away, including lovely secret coves and beaches, waterfalls and tranquil glades with pools,” said Jess.

“But where we really score is that you don’t have to follow up a liberating wild water experience by returning to built-up surroundings afterwards.

“Skelwith Fold is in the heart of over one hundred acres of parkland, so you can retain that wonderful sense of closeness to the natural world which many swimmers say they enjoy.

“And just as welcoming on your return are the hot showers in our facility buildings, perhaps followed by a warming latte as you plan your next wild swimming experience,” said Jess.

Fresh water lovers without their own touring caravan or motorhome can now stay in one of Skelwith Fold’s Hideaway pods which are located in a forest glade.

Accommodating two people, each pod features a comfortable double bed, shower and loo, kitchen zone with microwave, oven and fridge, TV, and lounge-cum-dining space.

Measuring just 14ft x 10ft, the “posh pods” also boast large picture windows, and folding fully-glazed doors leading onto a timber decking area with a pull-out sunshade.

The park also provides caravan holiday homes to own, and Jess says that the chance to enjoy wild swimming nearby provides an extra incentive for a number of buyers:

“Some of our guests use wet suits when dipping, and other prefer the invigorating sensation of taking the plunge with as little on as possible – but either way, it’s a fantastic feeling!

“There are now also many health benefits associated with natural swimming, and the Lake District’s waters are among the cleanest, most accessible and loveliest in Britain,” she added.

A list of more than 20 wild swimming sites in Cumbria can be found at, and there is more information about Skelwith Fold at