Bradford-on-Avon Slow Swim and Picnic

The Tithe Barns, Barton Farm, BA15 1LF
Bradford on Avon.
8th June 2024
1.6km Social River Swim and Picnic
Entry £20.00 (£15.00 under 16s)
The picnic’s FREE (bring your own picnic), bring cake to share!

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The Bradford-on-Avon Swim and Picnic isn’t a race. It’s a social swim and a picnic at the medaeval Tithe Barns, in the historic town of Bradford-on-Avon. The only difference is to earn your picnic you have to swim along the idyllic River Avon a distance of 1.6km.
The Bradford-on-Avon Swim and Picnic is part of the Slow Swimming campaign, aimed at encouraging swimmers to take their time and enjoy the opportunity to be out fully immersed in nature.

We campaign for clean rivers and lakes. Petitioning to have popular local areas designated as bathing quality. In the meantime, we test the water purity ourselves to ensure the safety of our events.

There are no timing chips or results sheets. Everyone who takes part is a winner equally.
We are very keen to get children used to, and enjoying, swimming outdoors. This will improve their safety in and around water and should encourage them to be lifelong outdoor swimmers. There isn’t an age restriction as such, but obviously we would be depending on your adequate supervision of anyone under 16. I would very much recommend that they wear a wettie, as children lose heat quicker than adults when in water, and unless they are very good swimmers a form of buoyancy aid.
To give everyone an enjoyable swim the event is split into waves. Each wave will go off at intervals from 10.30am, but exact start times will not be known until nearer the time as some waves may be split into two to stop overcrowding in the river:

Wave one: Seriously Need More Cake (Known as Serious), start at 10.30am. Choose this wave if you would like to actually race, but be prepared for a bit of a scrum in the narrow sections.
Wave two: Relaxed ’cause we know where the cake is hidden (Known as Relaxed). Steady pace – no rush.
Wave three
: Enjoying the Journey (Known as Enjoying it). Sculling along, maybe with a bit of paddling, smiling and chatting.
Wave four: Pooh Sticks. Basically it’s for people who want to really enjoy the scenery using floaty things (nothing bigger than a lilo please) and paddle along with hands or feet. It could be as little as arm bands or a rubber ring. You can decide how much of the course you would like to complete – from 150m up to the full 1.6km.
BUT – please make sure it’s both safe (won’t go down and drown you. If you are a weak swimmer and using your floaty thing as boyancy ensure that you are securely fixed to it. If you cannot swim – please don’t enter the event) and won’t damage the river or river banks. We are here to help look after the river!
Start times subject to change nearer the day.

Order your 2024 Bradford-on-Avon Slow Swim and Picnic robe or towel patch now and have it ready for you at the picnic after the swim. A unique souvenir and profits go towards our good cause. £6.00

Please try to car share, use public transport, cycle or walk to the registration point at the Tithe Barns if possible. If you want to arrange to car share click through to the event Facebook page here


If you are arriving by car, park at the station car park (zone B) BA15 1DQ, which has 135 spaces including electric vehicle charging spaces. There is a 250m, level (one ramp), walk to the registration and start.

Registration opens at 9.30am. The start point is a very short stroll from the registration tent. Make sure you are registered in time to hear the safety briefing before your wave start time.

Swim start

 There will then be an opportunity to get in the river and acclimatise before each wave goes off.

If you are used to swimming outdoors you are welcome to swim in just a swimming-cosie. Most people will be using a wetsuit, either a purpose made swimming wetsuit or a surfers wettie.

The Swim

The swim starts out from the picnic field by the packhorse bridge at the Tithe Barns and heads downstream through Barton Farm country park, turning at just under a kilometre and back upstream to finish at the picnic field in front of the Tithe Barns again.
We encourage the ‘Pooh Sticks’ Wave to leave the river at the turn around point and walk back along the footpath as it can be difficult to paddle back against the slight current.

You then leave the river by a gently sloping section of the bank where there will be helpers to steady you.

One last bit of admin – sign out of the river at the registration table. We need to know that you have completed the swim so we don’t start looking for you in the river.

The Picnic.

First go and wash your hands and face. This is not just for general hygiene but also a wise precaution after having swum in an open river or lake as a guard against ‘Weil’s disease’

Weil’s disease

Cover any open wound with a waterproof plaster. Wash your hands and face after swimming and before eating. If you get flu or jaundice-like symptoms three to fourteen days after swimming ask your doctor for a Leptospirosis test. It is simply treated with antibiotics.

Now eat cake, drink pop and bask in the glory of your achievement.

Contact: Stuart Hamilton: 07957844512,

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