Bathing in the Brecks: Outdoor Swimming past, present & future, is outlined in this separate section of the website. We will discover the history and promote safe and environmentally friendly outdoor swimming in Breckland in two projects, Tales from the River and Healing Waters, part of the The Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme (BFER). These began in 2020, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Get Involved, Dates
Volunteers are crucial to both projects. See a presentation celebrating the roles volunteers take – and how much fun it can be! Contact me if you’d like to get involved.
Dates for 2023 events in the Healing Waters project – including youth group swim intro 2 July and lifesaving 20 August – are now on the page Outdoor swimming practical project dates, together with reports on previous events.
Information: Q&A: key info on swimming safely; download the illustrated Q&A ; More detailed with index: What you might want to know if you have just started swimming outdoors
Coming soon: details on the river survey and mapping strand of the project.
Tales from the River project events
We are interested to hear if you have any Outdoor Swimming stories, memories, photos, maps or info to share – please contact me if so.
Tales from the River will involve young people and adults in gathering and celebrating stories and folklore about outdoor swimming and other recreational use of the water in the Brecks rivers and other waters in the past and present.
Healing Waters will involve people in outdoor swimming with training to enjoy the waters safely and with care for the environment, and it will map and consider establishing and publicising suitable places for swimming or for other recreational uses of the rivers.
I gave a presentation about both the Healing Waters and Tales from the River project and the key part played by volunteers to a BFER celebration event, December 2022.
These 2 linked projects are part of The Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme, which has now succeeded in the bid for funding and will be supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Read about the whole BFER project in detail – download the full report and a map of the area.
See reports of swim events on the Previous events reports and updates section of the Outdoor swimming practical project dates and previous events page on this website.
4 September 2022; 21 August 2022; 3 July 2022; 29 May 2022; 12 September 2021; 15 August 2021; 6 June 2021; 13 September 2020
More events are planned for 2023, and anyone interested can join our mailing list – Contact me and say you would like updates, or to hear about future events sign up for BFER updates and newsletter here.
16, 23, 29 May 2021 Open Water Lifeguard training . Eleven successfully passed and are now qualified. It was held at Thorpe Woodlands, near Thetford, open to young people over 16 (by 29 May) living in or near the Brecks, who could swim 400 m fast in a pool and swim confidently under water, be competent and confident swimming outdoors, and who would be able to pass the theory and practical assessment. This will give career opportunities and the chance to volunteer on later outdoor swimming intro sessions in the project. Another two lifeguards who already worked as pool lifeguards were trained as OW Lifeguards and have joined the team. Since the training lifeguards have volunteered and worked in the project and elsewhere, and some have told us about their experiences.
Landowners and other participants marked places on the Brecks map where they owned or managed land and where they have swum, at a Landowner workshop 11 March 2020 at the start of the Healing Waters project – read about the workshop.
Download a report of the day (Word.doc 4 pages), which also includes more information on workshop organisers and speakers, and a list of resources and guidance.
Over spring and summer 2020 for the Swims section of my website I put together some resources for swimmers, those interested in the outdoors, and for landowners. These included activities, reading, audiovisual, links when staying at home to do with swimming https://www.imogensriverswims.co.uk/blog/online-resources-swim-advice-exercise-health/ , culture, heritage and nature, and gave regular updates on swimming and outdoor exercise under Covid 19 for swimmers and landowners. In addition I wrote this post on Drowning Prevention and this page on Landowner liability and swimmers. (All of these are not directly part of the projects, but could be of interest.)
There is also a Facebook page: Bathing in the Brecks: Outdoor Swimming past, present & future and Twitter https://twitter.com/OSBrecks, Instagram account, www.instagram.com/osbrecks, and YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbLePqrdMTGIIcq1sjOXznQ. Socal media tag: @OSBrecks.
There is a Facebook group, Outdoor Swimming in Breckland (not part of the projects). (Members of the group swam in and explored many swim spots in the area over a weekend in early October 2019. They liaise with local landowners and help with litterpicking and keeping an eye on swim places.)
@TheBrecksLP is the Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme social media tag.
Contact me if you would like to get updates, to get involved, or have any comments or questions, or contact the The Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme for questions on the wider set of projects.
You might find many of the other BFER projects of interest; they cover a wide range of issues across the area, including conservation, heritage, and much more. You can sign up for BFER updates and newsletter.
You can also see the area map on The Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme website