Wild Swimming isn’t something one tends to associate with the urban hustle and bustle of London, although we might be wishing it were different during some of those weeks we had last summer.
Barring a couple of exceptions, you’ll have to head down the M25 to get near wild spots in the great outdoors to cool down. Plus, the outdoor lidos are great and all, but getting a spot during a heatwave in London can often prove tricky.
Soon, however, that could all change. If you live in east London, taking a wild dip without jumping in your motor and driving for miles could be a thing of the past. Plans for an industrial site between Clapton and Leyton to become a wild swimming and nature haven are in the works, and you could help make it happen!
The site is even coloured with an aquatic past, given it was previously a Victorian water-filtering facility, and this East London Waterworks Park crowdfunder hopes that the community can claim the spot with the aim to create this new, groundbreaking space.
If successful, the 5.68-hectare East London Waterworks Park would create two new Olympic-sized swimming spaces for the public. These would be naturally cleaned by reeds and other aquatic plants, and even be open for swimming all year round. Also included in the project are plans to restore natural areas between Hackney and Walthamstow marshes, and even creating spaces for community-building in the depot sites around the location.
And there’s some really promising news that could be the first indication of the project coming to fruition. The crowdfunder hit its initial target of £500,000 in the space of just seven months, with nearly 5,000 people putting money towards the initiative.
Now, don’t get dreaming of summery dips in the wild swimming paradise just yet; there’s still a little way to go. However, this does mark an extremely important step. As outlined in the project’s crowdfunder page, this quickly gathered treasure chest of funds provides the purest indication that the desire for East London Waterworks Park is there.
By showing that the money can be raised, it will make the vital next steps to making this frankly delightful looking London oasis a reality that bit easier, with the group confirming there is a plan for raising the remaining funds to buy the site from the landowner. Watch this space, and hopefully the wild swimming utopia that the community is crying out for might just become more than a dream.
The project hopes to “deliver mental and physical health, environmental, learning and economic benefits to our community”, which, along with being a godsend during summer heatwaves, is something we can all get behind.
Read more about the project and view the land map at their website, and donate to the crowdfunder here.