Wild swimmers will return to Bristol Harbour from April, Marvin Rees confirms

Around 1,200 swimmers took part in pilot sessions throughout 2023, and this has paved the way for swimming to return.

Wild swimmers will be able to return to Bristol Harbour from April, after years of the practice being banned.

Some of the city's residents led a prolonged campaign calling for permission to be able to swim in the river by the harbour, leading to two successful pilot schemes last year.

Following the trials in the spring and autumn, the Mayor of Bristol has now confirmed that swimming will be allowed.

In a post on X, Marvin Rees announced: "Safely-managed open water swimming returns to Bristol's Harbour this April, with Bristol City Council set to deliver regular swimming sessions for the next two years."

The campaign to reclaim Bristol's waterways for swimmers gained attention in October 2022, when swimmers gathered outside of City Hall to protect against the city's bylaws that banned the practice.

This led to two trials, where a limited number of places made available for people to be swim during restricted times on weekends in a cordoned off area by the Cottage Inn in Baltic Wharf. Each place cost £7 per person.

This is more expensive than swimming at most of the city's swimming pools, but Mr Rees justified the cost to put "in place the necessary water safety provisions".

Announcing that swimming will be now allowed, Mr Rees praised the trials, saying "1,200 swimmers joined [the] successful pilot sessions in Baltic Wharf".