If you've never experienced wild swimming, sea swimming, open water - whatever way you like to describe it - early summer is a great time to dip your toes into the sea - the water is still cool - but not cold enough to take your breath away.
The benefits of cold water swimming - including mood boosting, better sleep and making new friends - are widely talked about - and a beach holiday provides the ideal opportunity to see for yourself. Almost all of the beaches in the West Country are popular all year round - on the north coast some are best for surfing and body boarding but many are sheltered and provide perfect places for swimming. And here at West Country Beach Holidays almost all our self catering holiday properties are walking distance from one of our (many) favourite beaches - have a look at the selection in active holiday ideas for some inspiration.
Three of our favourites in North Cornwall are Daymer Bay, Baby Bay and Port Gaverne
Baby Bay (round the corner from Polzeath Beach) is popular with those who want to avoid the surfers and Daymer Bay is quite sheltered and as you rarely get big waves it's perfect for swimming. The sheltered cove of Port Gaverne is home to Cornish Rock Tors who offer a wild swimming experience - so if you're a casual swimmer looking for a fun experience, they can get you out and swimming with confidence-boosting routes to suit all abilities.
And on the South Coast, close to Salcombe, (another West Country Beach Holidays destination) there are several to choose - our favourite three are North Sands in Salcombe (close to Lower Deck, our luxurius self catering holiday home); a short drive away is Blackpool Sands, a Blue Flag beach and near Thurlestone is South Milton Sands which is owned by the National Trust. And even better - all three have great cafes for some post-swim goodies to help warm you up.
If you prefer to swim with a group - look out on Facebook or visit Devon and cornwall Wild Swimming for a list of the many groups in the West Country. They also have other information including local tide times and water quality for the region .
Staying safe in the water - check the RNLI beach safety for detailed information and below a few quick tips
Firstly, know your limits and before you get in, make sure you know how and where you can get out.
Don't swim alone and make sure someone looks after any weaker swimmers.
Check for depth and obstructions before jumping in.
Don’t get too cold - wear a wetsuit and warm up with exercise and warm clothes before and after a swim.
Be seen! Wear a coloured swim hat and/or a brightly coloured tow float.