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
Open Water Lifeguard training 16, 23, 29 May (12 places), will be held near Thetford, open to young people over 16 (by 29 May) living in or near the Brecks, who can 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. Recruitment closed 5 May, https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/OWLifeguardTrainingMay/
6 June 2021 – a day of introduction to outdoor swimming: ‘have a go, learn how to be safe and have fun’. Qualified trainers and lifeguards, assisted by volunteers, will introduce people in the Breckland area to swimming outdoors, understanding the risks and how to be safe and have fun. This will be held at Mildenhall Jubilee Fields, thanks to agreement from the Mildenhall High Town Council. Recruitment is now open: sign up and choose your time slot here, https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/outdoor-swimming-intro-have-a-go-learn-how-to-be-safe-tickets-153124733199
More events are planned for 2021 and 2022, and anyone interested can join our mailing list – Contact me and say you would like updates and to get involved, or to hear about future events in all the BFER projects you can sign up for BFER updates and newsletter here.
During 2020-21 the Covid-19 situation meant thinking carefully about how we deliver the BFER projects. We postponed training sessions in the Tales from the River project due to take place spring 2020, and are thinking ahead about how we can deliver that project in 2021.
For the latest on the Tales from the River project dates, see Swim history project plans 2020, 2021; and for the Healing Waters project see Outdoor swimming practical project begins 2020, plans 2021.
During the year we have been asking if you have any Outdoor Swimming maps, info, photos or stories 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 Breckland 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.
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.
Nearly 50 people got in the water on 13 September 2020 – a day of introduction to outdoor swimming; ‘have a go, learn how to be safe and have fun’, the first of these training events, which was very popular and successful. This was the first of these training events, in which qualified lifeguards supported by volunteers introduced people in the Breckland area to swimming outdoors and to understanding the risks and benefits. Read a report of the day.
More events are planned for 2021 and 2022, 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.
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 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 Twitter account
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