Coronavirus: Will lockdown easing see more of us using rivers?

Claire Marshall, reporting for the BBC:

“Figures suggest that more people than ever are heading to Britain’s rivers with the easing of lockdown – renewing calls for better public rights of access.

It comes as MPs are to consider proposals aimed at opening up the waterways to all. But after recent incidences of littering and overcrowding, there are fears more people on rivers could ’cause chaos’.

Caroline Radford, who began wild swimming in lockdown, says it has helped her mental health.

Caroline, who is 52 and a nurse in the West Country, began taking anti-depressants two years ago after struggling with anxiety and panic attacks.

When the country went into lockdown in March, it was the nudge she needed to give wild swimming a go.

‘I was a bit worried about how cold it was, and whether there was going to be any wildlife in the water, but when I got in, it was like swimming through silk.’

‘There was a real feeling of peace and calm and tranquillity. I found a head space there that I haven’t found anywhere else.’

Caroline now swims twice or three times a week in ‘skins’, which means without a wetsuit.

She says she feels like she doesn’t need her anti-depressants any more and has ‘nearly come off them completely’ …”

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