Wild swimming isn’t a new fashion and is no threat to wildlife | Letters

Pat Simmons and Paul Williams on the pleasures of swimming in rivers, lakes and seas in harmony with nature

Wild swimming “the latest fashionable activity” (Letters, 26 July)? Hardly. Seventy years ago I learned to swim in the River Wey, in the company of other local kids (and a lot of water voles and a pair of nesting swans). Forty-five years ago we spent innumerable happy afternoons with our children swimming and splashing in the River Cherwell at Wolvercote – and there were other popular river bathing places in Oxford. Last week I took my granddaughter swimming in the River Chew. Wild swimming is certainly not a new fashion, though it has become riskier with the current levels of pollution in our rivers and lakes (not very beneficial for kingfishers, either).
Pat Simmons

• I’ve been swimming locally for five years. Most of the year I’m accompanied by seals, otters, geese, oystercatchers and a variety of other seabirds. In summer, the campervans roll in. Their owners don’t swim, but the wildlife disappears – so don’t blame the swimmers for disturbing wildlife.
Paul Williams
Argyll, Scotland

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