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
We held our first Healing Waters training session to introduce outdoor swimming and being safe on 13 September, and are now planning more for 2021. For more info see Outdoor Swimming practical project begins 2020, plans 2021.
During 2020 the Covid-19 situation has meant thinking carefully about how we deliver the BFER projects, and this is likely to continue.
We have 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.
We are keen to hear from you if you have any Outdoor Swimming photos or stories to share.
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 very popular and successful day of introduction to outdoor swimming; ‘have a go, learn how to be safe and have fun’. 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.
Landowners and other participants marked places on the Brecks map where they owned or managed land and where they have swum, at a 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.
There is a Facebook group, Outdoor Swimming in Breckland (not part of the projects). Members of the group meet other swimmers (following Covid19 rules) and learn about swimming in the area. They also 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, and to hear about future events sign up for BFER updates and newsletter here.
Downloads high res map (8 mb) from The Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme website