Farleigh Hungerford is a beautiful quintessentially British village, found in the countryside surrounding the historical city of Bath. It is here where you can find what is believed to be the last river swimming club in England. Farleigh Hungerford is also said to be the oldest river swim club in the country, it was founded in 1933 by three brothers. It has been coined as the original wild swimming club.
I’ve been a member myself for over two years now and since the first summer of covid I have seen an increase in members due to more people escaping their homes. I have begun photographing people who swim here and it’s been truly wonderful to interact safely and be with people who share the same love for nature and wild swimming as I do.
One common theme I have found when speaking to the wild swimmers, is mental health and how swimming here directly helps people during this trying time.
I was drawn to the swim club for my own mental health, and I found it was a way of resetting my own mindset. I have spent many times floating on my back watching the English sun bounce from the river onto the surrounding trees and having chats with fellow members as we immerse ourselves in nature. The River attracts people from all around and feels like a wonderful secret that we are all in on.