While the predicted Easter weekend heatwave may be coming a tad too soon for this, it’s still pretty exciting news that part of the River Thames will be receiving official bathing status soon.
You’d be correct in raising an eyebrow at swimming in the London stretches of the Thames – there’s still some way to go before pollution levels are low enough for that. Plus, there’s the issue of dangerous invisible currents that makes it a big no-go. But, Port Meadow in Oxford would be a perfect place for a dip in the sun on a day trip, and this could become a reality very soon.
Here, the river is both calmer and cleaner, meaning a stretch of it is set to receive bathing status as soon as next month! The open space of Wolvercote Mill Stream, part of which is a popular wild swimming spot anyway, is where the new bathing status will be granted.
This is all happening in an attempt to clean the water up in the area (don’t worry, it’s been deemed safe to swim in!). By giving it bathing status, it means that the Environment Agency is obligated to take samples of the water regularly, which puts pressure on water companies not to dump sewage into the area. It was recently found that companies dumped sewage into English rivers 372,533 times in 2021, so new measures are being thought up in an attempt to tackle this issue.
There is no data to support whether this new measure will have the desired effect, but there’s no harm in trying, especially if it gives us great spots to swim! Just don’t expect any of the London stretches of the Thames to get the same treatment anytime soon!