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).
• 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.
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