Northamptonshire open water swimming lake venue hosts open day event

Swimmers were invited to a local lake for an open-day event last weekend.

A family opened a wild-water swimming spot in the middle of the Northamptonshire countryside last year.

The private venue at Bare Hill Lakes offers a spring-fed 250-metre loop lake for outdoor swimmers.

To thank the community for their support over the past few months, Vikki and Hugh Bickerton held a special open-day event on June 8 at the lake in Daventry.

Vikki, 44, said: “We are thrilled with how smoothly our event ran. We all had an excellent day. I’m incredibly grateful to those who gave their time to support Bare Hill Lakes' official open day."

The Bare Hill Farm in Badby has been in the Bickerton family for three generations now. The husband and wife are keen open-water swimmers.

Hugh, 46, said: “My grandmother used to own it and then left it to my uncle. Me and my two brothers are now looking after it and trying to diversify the farm to bring in some revenue. Open-water swimming was my idea.”

The venue proved to be quite popular shortly after they opened it up to the public on August 5, 2023.

“At first, I think because you're a new venue, you become very, very popular very, very quickly, which was really exciting and a little bit overwhelming. Then it's going to calm down a little bit, and we've had a really nice steady flow of people ever since,” said Hugh.

More than 110 swimmers attended the event on Saturday, June 8, which offered a range of well-being and family talks and activities from several local business owners – including yoga and massage sessions.

Vikki said: “It was a great success. The overwhelming response and positive feedback have been truly incredible. We were so happy to hear the squeals of delight from the children leaping into the water during the kids' splash around. We are looking forward to welcoming more swimmers lakeside soon.”

Since the owners prioritise everyone's safety above all else, Julie Young, a qualified lifeguard and coach, starts every swimming session with a safety briefing.

Julie, 51, said: “It's actually really important to get the children into the water as well because we've had some very bad incidences out towards the other side of Northampton where some people have lost their lives because they've jumped into open water, and it's largely because they're just not prepared for it.”

The lake's water quality, which is spring-fed from the River Nene, was tested in the past and found to be one of the best in the area, according to Vikki.

“I find it really calming when I swim. You can always have a peaceful swim here, and we try to cater to all ability ranges.

“Our water is clean. We do a lot of work to maintain the lake,” said Julie.

To avoid crowding, only 25 individuals, or 10 paddle boarders, can swim at once during a session.

Julie said: “We have enough space for everyone to enjoy it at the same time, which is important.”

Take a look below to see people and swimmers enjoying the social gathering and swimming sessions in the natural setting of the open-day event.