Farleigh & District Swimming Club
The World's oldest river swimming club
Founded in 1932, the Farleigh & District Swimming Club is believed to be the oldest river swimming club in the world. This is the original "wild swimming club" with c. 150m of swimmable river, a slightly dilapidated hut, membership fees payable only in the real world with hard cash or even by cheque (remember them?)
It's a community club run by and for the members so there's an AGM for members to decide how to run it and elect their committee and officers. (See your membership card for details of the next AGM.) It only operates during the summer - a season determined by weather and water temperature in this instance.
The Club is sited 4 miles west of Trowbridge, Wiltshire, on the A366. BA2 7RS. Grid Reference: ST 805577, N51.31805° W2.28200°. Turn into the field on the corner by the club sign. This is on the Trowbridge side of the two stone bridges. NO DOGS please. Follow "Farleigh and District Swimming Club" on Facebook. The Club is a member of RALSA (River & Lake Swimming Association), where a database of other swimming locations is available.
Ring Rob 01985 847168 for more info.
Membership. The Club is only open during the summer. This usually means from after silage (approx late April), May to mid September, but if there is warm weather outside of this period then the Club is usually opened up. Cows are sometimes put into the Club fields in winter. They may ignore swimmers, but they have been known to chase swimmers into the river!
Club Membership Collectors are usually only on duty on warm sunny days when people are likely to want to swim. You can then join on site. If not you can join at the farm (Follow the "Cream Teas" sign.) which is 800 yards up the A366 towards Trowbridge. Alternatively you can join by post by sending a cheque (made out to the Farleigh & District Swimming Club) together with a completed Membership Application Form (printed out from the pdf available below) and a stamped addressed return envelope to Rob Fryer, 39 Portway, Warminster, BA12 8QQ
A Membership Card will then be returned to you. Membership is for the 2016 season, Families (up to 6) £20*, Adult £10. Membership is open to everyone except those under 12. Unaccompanied 13-15 year olds pay adult rates and need to come with an application form endorsed at the foot by a parent. There is no waiting list. Please read the Safety Notice which is printed on the back of both the Application Forms and the Membership Cards.
*Compare this with just a day at Longleat for the family for, yes, £160!
Occasional visitors. Payment of membership subs can be made by instalments of £1.50 per adult and 50p per child on each visit, until the Instalment total of £30 per Family or £15 per Adult is reached. If you only come once or twice you will not have completed your membership payments. This does not matter. The Club does not expect you to pay the difference. So for occasional visitors the admission per day is just £1.50 per adult, 50p per child. (payment on site on the day). No unaccompanied children.
Membership of the Club offers free parking in the first field and picnicking and/or swimming from the second. The river is about 8ft/2.2m deep, but you can walk in from above the (slippery) weir. Do not swim if the river is in spate (brown water). There are two ladders. There are no life-guards so you should always swim with company and be able to provide safety cover for your group.
Dogs are not allowed. This is because of hygiene. just as they are banned from playing fields and most popular beaches in summer. Please tidy up and take any litter home. Thanks.
DO NOT DRINK THE WATER. Generally we find that the water quality is low after heavy rainfall, and children swimming during these periods may develop tummy infections. We believe that this is because that they tend to swallow water when swimming or playing in the river. Therefore we advise against swimming during these periods, especially children.
Club T-shirts and Polo shirts embroidered in full colour are now offered for sale by phoning Phil on 01225 752253 and arranging to collect from Stowford Farm. We have in stock: T-shirts £10 dark green L and XL, Olive XL; Polo shirt £15 beige XL. Other items can be ordered by contacting Rob Fryer 01985 847168. Orders are usually made up in the spring. Items can be selected from www.Ralawise.com or supplied for embroidering.
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Ready to Join? Download this PDF application form.