5 min read

Unveil Manchesters Hidden Swim Havens: 6 Wild Spots

Dive into Manchester's best-kept secrets where wild waters whisper tales of adventure. Ready to make a splash in spots that transform routine dips into extraordinary swims? Let's plunge into the wild side!

Tobi Miles
July 20, 2021

Wild Swimming, there is no better feeling than taking a dip into a scenic pool or lake on a hot summers day.

Thus if your in UK & Close to Manchester then these top 6 wild swimming spots should be perfect to try, from Peak District Beauty Lakes, rivers, waterfalls & even a Secret beach!


  1. Be aware Wild Swimming does come with risks so best not to go alone & stay close to edge if not a strong swimmer.
  2. Don’t jump in. Enter the water slowly to prevent ‘cold water shock’
  3. Check the Safety of the water (look for debris etc) & wear a wet suit if necessary to avoid cold water shock. The effect of immersing a body in water below 15'C.**
  4. If you find yourself in very cold water, then the best thing to do is to try swim on your back, it will save your life. (As your body goes into an involuntary reflex)

Interactive Map: Wild Swimming Locations Manchester.

Manchester UK Wild Swimming)

6. Lumb Falls near Hebden Bridge

Lumb Hole waterfall near Hebden Bridge is a scenic wild spot for a dip. The circular pool at the base of the waterfall is deep enough to jump into & overhung with ferns and ivy, and shadowed by mossy cliffs.

PaulFirthPhotography | Wikimedia Commons

How to get there?

Located approximately 37 miles (1 hour drive) from Manchester city centre.

Easy to reach by car but their is a steep walk down the cobbled path to the falls themselves. Be Careful care in the wet!

Drive through Pecket Well and take the lane on the left (Old Road), drive for approx 900m to the layby. There is a sign post at the road side.

Once at the bottom, cross the old Pack Horse bridge. The base of the falls can be reached.

It’ll take you about half an hour on the train, followed by a walk, but boy is it worth it.

And, if you're looking for more adventures, check out this guide about road trips in the UK.


Chorlton Water Park is located just 4.2 miles (16 mins) drive from Manchester City centre (closest on this list) .There is also Sale Water park nearby which links to these part if you wish for a longer walking route.

This is the best place for families & you will find a Large Lake, a Newly Installed Children's playground, a nature reserve with possibility of seeing green parrots in the trees, boats & much more.

There is a public car park. This is located at the end of Maitland Avenue (postcode M21 7WH). Parking here is free. There are toilets at the car park.

4. Pickmere Lake, Cheshire

Pickmere Lake is a Peaceful yet popular wild swimming spot despite the "no swimming" sign.  The water was crystal clear, though the bottom was bit silty close to the shore and it drops off quickly. The is a wooden jetty which allows easy water entry.

The area is also popular with water skiers, kayakers and windsurfers. You will also find lakeside paths around to explore & picnic tables.

Brian Deegan | Wikimedia Commons

Those with kids may also want to check out nearby Stockley Farm, but everyone will enjoy a stop at Great Budworth Dairy Ice Cream Farm.

Address: Mere Ln, Pick Mere, Knutsford WA16 0LB

3. URMSTON MEADOWS (Urmston Beach)

Located close to Urmston Meadows, Urmston beach is a sand filled area located on the river Mersey, which connects directly to the Manchester Ship Canal & the Irish Sea! A nice summer spot to take a dip close by to City centre.

david newton | Wikimedia Commons


Waterswallows Quarry is a very deep (40m+) freshwater quarry, popular with quarry divers & cliff jumpers in the summer time. Technically the Quarry is private but that hasn't stopped many people from attending in the summer.

The site is also 320m high above sea level so is really an altitude spot.

Richard Law | Wikimedia Commons

Tip: AVOID Harpur Hill (Blue lagoon) nearby has the PH of Bleach Apparently, & has been died black to try & stop people swimming in their.

1. Gaddings Dam, Todmorden "Secret Beach in the hills"

The Highest Beach in the UK (355 Meters above sea level).  Gaddings dam is scenic beach & wild swimming spot with relatively safe water & no currents (but still no lifeguard & it is advised not to dive in) due to rocks.

High and exposed, the reservoir is often wild and windy, sometimes tranquil, and occasionally a baking sun trap.

Alex Liivet | Wikimedia Commons


Gaddings Dam is an 1833 earth embankment dam which was constructed to supply water to the mills of Lumbutts.

Years later the reservoir fell into disuse when the mills began to use steam power.

After plans to be drained in 2001 due to its poor condition, the reservoir was rescued by a determined group of locals who bought the dam, repaired it,

and now continue to maintain it to the standards required by the regulations.

How to get there?

There is no road access to Gaddings Dam, you can only reach this by a steep hike on a rough footpath to the top of the moors. The closest vehicle access point is the Shepherd's Rest pub on Lumbutts road. Parking is very limited, there is room for only about a dozen cars, can get very busy in the summer.

Alternatively you can catch a train from Manchester to Todmorden, then catch the Walsden Circular (either the T6 or the T8 ) from Todmorden Bus Station to the Shepherd's Rest pub.

Top 10 Hiking Destinations nearby to Manchester, UK

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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