Guidance for Swimmers

South Elmham Lakes - the perfect place to discover lake swimming

When it's time to arrive for your swim session please park where indicated and following the signs walk 5 minutes to the swimming lake.

Please do not wander around the other lakes which are private.

Your group can use the swim lake for the 1 or 2 hour session you have booked. Please do not arrive early and remember that changing must also take place within the period of your booking.

Please also leave the lake on time so our next swimmers can have the same experience of arriving to find the lake quiet, peaceful and uncrowded.

Lake swimming is for groups of swimmers. The members of the group are your support and assistance if you were to get into difficulty while swimming. Having accessed the required safety course at, they have the knowledge and equipment to make your swim safer and give you confidence to enjoy your visit.

The lake is DEEP. You will always be out of your depth, so you need to be a strong confident swimmer in open water and even then, we ask you to wear a tow float which is provided. You can wear a wet suit or additional buoyancy if you wish, but not as a substitute for swim experience and technique. If you feel uncertain reading this, we strongly suggest you first gain more experience in open water where there is a lifeguard on duty. The nearest place is Southwold Beach which is shallow sandy and has a full-time lifeguard during the summer. It also has great ice creams.

The lake is 4m deep and usually clear. This is good as in deep water the submerged weed is unlikely to reach the surface in an amount that is a hazard to swimmers.

Please do not swim in the margins of the lake where weed is closer to the surface. Although fragile and easy to break in small amounts, being near the edge may increase your risk of entanglement. You will also stir up mud and spoil the water quality.

There are rubber mats where you can safely enter the water.

Never stand or wade around the lake edge. The mud has broken flints embedded in it which can cut your feet open.

Swim toward the deep centre of the lake and only use the safe entry/exit point marked by ropes on the bankside.

There is a compost toilet nearby.

Questions and Answers

Q. How much does it cost?

A. For a group of 2 people it costs £15 per hour plus an additional £5 per person for each extra swimmer in the group. The maximum group size is 12 people for a 1 hour booking.

Q. When can I swim and how far in advance do I need to book?

A. We are open every day 6am to 7pm June to October. You book your swim session on our website at any time up until 1 hour before the arrival time for available sessions. You can advance book to secure the swim session you want at popular times.

Q. Can I change my booking day or time?

A. Yes. There is a link in your confirmation email that allows you to make changes up until midnight the day before your swim session is booked.

Q. Can I invite extra friends or family to watch or swim with us after our swim session has been booked?

A. They will need to make a seperate booking.

Q. Can I book for just one person?

A. No. You can’t swim on your own, the minimum group size is 2 people. You can bring a non-swimming adult (husband) with you, they will need to be named on your booking and have accessed the online RLSS Water Safety Toolkit course.

Q. Do I have to really have to look at all the water safety stuff?

A. Yes. You are also responsible for ensuring that the rest of your group has done so too.

Q. So can I just turn up to have a wander round and swim if I feel like it?

A. No. Our lake is private property, you will be trespassing. You will not be covered by our insurance and will really annoy us. We offer prebooked swimming sessions only. To find free turn up when you like wild swimming, try the river Waveney at Bungay which can be really nice.

Q. What is the water quality like?

A. We test our water every 4 weeks. It is a excellent standard for bathing. The lake is filled by rainfall, and most importantly the quality of our water does not depend on Anglian Water doing its job.

Q. What facilities are there?

A. There is also a basic changing screen and a compost toilet. All water safety equipment is provided.

Q. Why can’t I bring my younger children swimming here?

A. Our insurer specifically excludes children below 14 years. Please do not bring younger children with your swim group. Try the River Waveney at Homersfield which has easy access shallow water that children can paddle in. Always cover their feet in case of sharp objects.

Q. Can I bring my Dog?

A. No. We do not allow dogs.

Q. What happens if it is raining when I arrive for my swim?

A. You are going to get wet. Bring an umbrella for shelter. In the event of a thunderstorm return to your car, do not remain outside. A full refund will be offered for swim sessions disrupted by thunder.

Q. Do the trout ever bite swimmers?

A. People eat trout. Trout never eat people.

Q. Can I go skinny dipping?

A. You are required to wear a tow float, other appropriate swimwear is recommended.

Q. Can I jump/dive/bomb/backflip into the water?

A. No please do not do it here, find another swimming spot.

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