The Bantham Swoosh is the ultimate wild swimming adventure
An amazing 6km world class swim organised by the Outdoor Swimming Society
Where – River Avon, Aveton Gifford to Bantham Beach
When – 8 July 2023
Welcome to the Bantham Swoosh!
If you happen to be driving or strolling through the sleepy riverside village of Aveton Gifford on the 8th July things may be just a little unusual. This beautiful stretch of the River Avon is a normally quiet spot to launch your kayak or paddle board at high tide. But, on the 8th of July, something happens. The calm waters morph into an organised frenzy of bodies all squeezed into slinky wetsuits and topped off with brightly coloured swim caps which bob in the swell. And there are literally hundreds of them!
What is the Bantham Swoosh?
The ‘Bantham Swoosh’ refers to the very strong current on the ebbing tide which propels swimmers (and anything in its course), through the narrow mouth of the River Avon where it meets the sea. Swimmers experience an exhilarating swim speed of 4x times their normal rate as they’re funnelled through the clear waters, speeding along at 8 knots.
The Swoosh Route
The race starts from the small slipway at Timbers carpark in Aveton Gifford. It’s from here that the 6 km route winds its way through the beautiful Avon estuary. The valley remains completely untouched (no noise, traffic and people). Just small enclaves of deciduous woodlands along the shoreline, occasional reed beds and sandy beaches. Look out for the smattering of houses as you approach Bantham, it’s a welcome sign that you’re almost there!
Prepare to be Swooshed
Look out for the iconic pink boathouse on the left hand side of the river bank and Swoosh! You’ll end up in the shallows of Bantham beach, backed by sand dunes with views to the iconic Burgh Island. Time for a well deserved picnic and chill out on the sands.
Who can join the Swoosh?
Anyone up for an adventure and a challenge can enter the Bantham Swoosh. Join hundreds of fellow wild swimmers lured by the secluded waters of the River Avon. Experience the changing river ecosystem from the murky weedy waters at the start of the race to the sandy bottom shallows as you approach the sea. Keep your goggles clean and you’ll have lovely views of the underwater life along the riverbed.
How to enter the Bantham Swoosh
- Register for the Bantham Swoosh here
- General Entry: £90
- Charity Entry: £50
- Fundraising Target: £250
- Age limit: 18+
- Closing date for applications is Monday 5th June.
- Swim starting point – Timbers Car Park in Aveton Gifford, TQ7 4LQ
- Swim finish – Bantham Estate, TQ7 3AN
What happens next
Look out for your swimmer pack which will arrive in the post. This give details of everything you need to know. All that’s left is to get your sponsors on board and arrive in good time to park the car or hop on the the shuttle bus and register for the event.
Swoosh Safety is paramount so all swimmers will get a full safety briefing before they set off. There will also be lifeguards and a safety crew on the water at all times to ensure the safety of the swimmers.
For further details check out the Swoosh FAQ’s
What makes it special
Apart from the exhilarating experience of taking part, the money raised from your Swoosh sponsorship will pay for swimming lessons for underprivileged and disabled children. The not-for-profit event organised by the Outdoor Swimming Society raises funds for the charity ‘Level Water’ which recognises the positive effect that swimming can have on the lives of children with disabilities.
Don’t fancy a swim? Try the Bantham guided Swoosh Walk
This is a great way to see the start of the swim and follow the swimmers at certain points along the river as you walk the 3.5 miles to Bantham. The guided walk is timed so that walkers arrive in Bantham for the final Swoosh.
- Local guides will be with you on the walk so you won’t get lost!
- The 3.5 mile walk usually takes about 1.5 hours
- terrain can be a bit uneven and steep in places so make sure you pack your walking boots
- well behaved dogs on leads welcome
- don’t forget to register for the guided walk
Book your Finest Stay for the Bantham Swoosh
After swimming 6 km you’re going to need to lay your head somewhere rather special. Somewhere where you can kick off your shoes and relax and celebrate the Swoosh with friends and family.
(Main header image courtesy Graham Wynne/Outdoor Swimming Society)