Summer is just around the corner so why not combine a weekend of wild swimming with a great camping trip?
Last summer when the sun kept shining and we were treated to the best summer in a very long time I found myself a little bit stuck as to where we could go for a swim. All the local outdoor pools were either packed or had massive queues outside which just filled me with pure horror. In the end we decided to try local streams that were safe for young children and less busy .. until I came across a fantastic wild swimming spot on Hurley Lock Island between Henley -on- Thames and Marlow.
Hurley is quite unique among locks along the River Thames, as the river splits into a number of channels.
The kids love watching the boats going through the locks and there is a sweet little tea room where you can buy sandwiches, cakes and ice creams.
We found the best spot is right at the end of the island where the ground slopes gently into the river, relatively shallow until quite far out, but beware of stronger currents coming from either side of the island. It can be a bit silty but the water quality is still good. My daughter collected lots of fresh water mussels and enjoyed swimming to the big rock.
Hurley village itself is a historic village with river parkland, wooded river islands and a 1000-year-old pub. Parking is free by the church. Just follow the footpath until you come to the bridge.
If you want a nearby campsite then I can highly recommend Hurley Riverside Park. There is a bridge from Hurley Lock Island you can cross by foot.
Hurley Riverside Park is family-friendly park which sits alongside the River Thames and is run by the same family for over 40 years.
The site has direct access to the River and the Thames Path, so is perfect for lovers of the river and walkers alike. For those with a boat or canoe there are two slipways and for those without there is a mile over river frontage for picnics. With the lush green countryside of the Thames Valley all around, red kites circling above, and the river traffic gliding it is hard to believe it is only an hour outside London.
The campsite has won the prestigious David Bellamy Gold Award for Conservation for the last 15 years and even won their rare Special Distinction Award. To teach children about the local wildlife there is also a self-guided nature trail which follows the length of the campsite.
Please note there is no restaurant onsite, only a small shop selling basic essentials, so it’s important to come well stocked up with food, drinks etc. If you do need to pop to the shops then Hurley Village has a small village shop.
When we camped here we asked for a pitch right by the playground, the kids were happy playing with their new friends and we could relax with a glass of wine and finish a conversation.
Hurley Riverside Park will offer anyone that books the Vintage Caravan Hotel 10% off their pitch fee. Just quote ‘Vintage Caravan Hotel’ when booking. To book the campsite visit www.hurleyriversidepark.co.uk
We still have some availability for this half term and the summer holidays, so book to avoid disappointment. Prices start from £275 for 3 nights.