KEEN to cool off but want to avoid crowded beaches? Here is a list of alternative places where you can go for a dip in Dorset...

  1. Pamphill near Wimborne. The River Stour is a wide river, deep and clear in the middle, with easy access and riverside walks. At Pamphill the river opens up in wide meanders with a deep ford and bridge.
  2. Colber Bridge on the River Stour at Sturminster Newton. Described as a little weedy and slow, but clean and deep. The best place is on the east bank by the old railway bridge.

  3. Cutt Mill is a little further north near Hinton St Mary. Here the water is clear and slow moving. There is a weir with deep water as well as shallows for a paddle. Park at the end of Cutt Mill Lane nearby.

  4. Moreton Ford on the River Frome . A wide, gravel ford and shallow pool, lined with willow and tree swings.

  5. Wareham Bridge on the River Frome. A popular spot for swimming, picnics and boating on a hot summer’s day.

  6. Lymington Sea Water Baths. Set within the popular Georgian market town of Lymington, you will find the oldest open air sea water baths in the UK. Facilities include a fully staffed 110m sea water pool wit 200 metres of inflatable obstacle courses, stand up paddle boards, aqua jousting and a children’s splash pool. See

  7. Tanner's Lane Lymington. Great remote location for pool swimming at mid tide. Tucked behind in the woods is a massive lake and although very enticing for swimming, although according to several websites the pond weeds can be a bit hard to contend with.

  8. The Quomps Splash Park on Christchurch Quay is a free family day out with a well-equipped play area, enclosed splash park, a shallow paddling pool and fountains.

  9. New Forest Water Park, situated in 50 acres of New Forest countryside, where you can learn a variety of watersports including wakeboarding, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding or have fun in the aqua park.

And here's some safety tips too

  • Acclimatise
  • Never swim on your own
  • Wear the right kit
  • No diving
  • Know your limits
  • Warm up slowly

The RNLI also advise to check conditions before entering the water, consider wearing a wetsuit or flotation device.

Treat water with respect.