We are very pleased to be able to offer open water swimming during spring and summer in the beautiful lake at Compton Verney, Warwickshire.
Compton Verney is a grade 1 listed mansion house that was built in 1714. It is set within landscaped grounds designed by none other than the famous Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. The stunning lake he also created is where we have the privilege to swim. The lake is stream-fed and has been tested and given 'excellent' status during the latest set of water quality tests.
Swimming for 2024 returns on 2nd May 2024 and bookings open 11am Friday 1st March!
Single swim - £10
5 swim pass - £8 per swim
In addition to this there is a one-off (annual) fee of £15 (reduced to £10 if paid online before attendance).
Compton Verney, Warwickshire, CV35 9HZ
Compton Verney is very well located in the heart of rural Warwickshire. The main road routes to the venue are along the 'Fosse Way' (B4455), the B4086 from the direction of Stratford-upon-Avon or from Junction 12 of the M40 via Kineton.
The lake has two loops available with the largest being approximately 600m and the smaller one being around 250m. Sessions are booked on a first-come-first-served basis* with limited slots available per hour to ensure everyone has plenty of space and to allow for social distancing. Swimmers will be asked to sign for having read the swimmers' rules prior to entering the water and will go through a check-in and check-out procedure for safety reasons (see the details below). All swimmers will also be required to undergo a quick competency swim prior to setting off on the bigger laps.
All sessions are fully covered with safety kayaks, spotters and lifeguards.
*Sessions must be pre-booked prior to attendance (click here for more).
The entrance to the swim venue is off the B4086. Look for the green signs directing you into the car park.
Upon arrival at the car park (area 2 on the map) please find a space (no payment is required) and make your way towards the Welcome Centre. On a Sunday morning please park in the car/coach park shown on the map.
Toilets are available at the Welcome Centre. Please note there are only two toilets (plus one with disabled access), so they should not be used as changing rooms.
Enter the grounds via the pedestrian gate to the left of the Centre as you look at it from the car park. Please then follow the green signs to the lake when you will see the Do3 van and check in desk (area 1 on the map).
Tuesday 6pm - 8pm (2 x 60min sessions)
Thursday 6pm - 8pm (2x 60min sessions)
Sunday 7:30am- 9:30am (2 x 60min sessions)
Swimming is permitted only during these times and must be pre-booked.
Depending on demand additional sessions may be added in the future. Our open water swim season for 2022 will run from Sunday 1st May through until the Thursday 29 September.
We take the safety and security of swimmers very seriously. We have been lucky enough to be granted access to this beautiful venue (and would like to keep it this way for your use for many years to come!). For this reason we have a number of swimmers' rules which we ask all swimmers to agree to and abide by. They are as follows:
Please stick to the routes to/from the lake as described above and follow signage. The area of the grounds on the other side of the Upper Bridge are private and out of bounds - Please see the notes below about running and cycling pre/post swim.
Please arrive at the booking in zone no earlier than 20 mins before your swim time. This is in order to reduce congestion.
There are NO changing facilities at the venue at present so please arrive changed and ready to swim.
You are responsible for your own belongings and Do3 do not take any responsibility for lost property (we will of course hold anything accidentally left behind). We suggest leaving all property locked in your car. You can walk to the booking in area and leave footwear/small bags in the marked location near the start.
ALL SESSIONS MUST BE PRE-BOOKED PRIOR TO ATTENDANCE. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE (SEE "HOW TO BOOK AND SECURE YOUR SWIM SLOT" BELOW.
NO SWIMMERS ARE ALLOWED TO ENTER THE WATER UNTIL THEY HAVE BEEN CHECKED IN BY A MEMBER OF DO3 STAFF.
In the booking in zone you will see the booking in desk. This is where you will be issued your membership card (on your first visit). If you already have a membership card, on the first visit of 2022 a sticker will be applied to your card to indicate that you have paid the £10 admin fee for 2022. This card will be scanned to mark you as 'arrived'. At this point you are allowed to enter the water and start your swim.
You must exit the lake before the end of your 1 hour slot. Kayakers will prevent anyone starting long laps 10 minutes before the end of the session, but you can use the short lap after this time. If you book consecutive sessions you must return to the start point at the end of each hour and staff will allow you to continue from there.
When you finish your swim you MUST get checked out of the water by a member of staff.
The full swim loop at Compton Verney is approximately 600m. Please only attempt to swim full laps if you are confident to do so. There will be a shorter 250m loop available too for those who want/need it. The lake is regularly tested for water quality and blue-green algae. In the most recent tests the water quality results came back as 'excellent' and the blue-green algae tests showed 'no-trace'. We monitor these items on a regular basis.
The water temperature is monitored permanently and this will be displayed in the booking-in area.
Getting in-out of the lake. Please be careful and take your time getting in and out. There will be matting on the floor at the entry/exit point to protect swimmers' feet in the lake. There are lots of fresh water mussels (a sign of a healthy lake). These can be sharp so be cautious when putting your feet down and try to swim up to the matting if you can. The edges of the matting will be marked with flags on the bank so you know where to aim for.
Unless there is an emergency you must only enter and leave the lake at the designated start/finish point.
Every session will be covered by safety staff in the form of kayakers, spotters and lifeguards. There will always be a first aider on site. All staff have been trained to deal with and respond to incidents as they occur. Please be courteous to the safety staff at all times as they are there to protect and look after you.
If the lake needs to be evacuated due to weather conditions or incident, you will hear one long blast on a whistle. On hearing this warning, please proceed immediately to the normal swim exit point.
Abusive language or behaviour towards staff or other swimmers will not be tolerated and may result in a ban.
All swimmers will be asked to do a competency test at the start of their first swim. This will simply involve a simple out and back swim across the narrow section of the lake near to the entry point, rolling onto your back and giving the coach a thumbs up. If you get into difficulty when swimming, rolling onto your back and raising your hand signals to safety crew that you need help, so we need to know you can do that.
At Do3 we think that improving your open water skills should be a key part of your swim training. Whether you are someone who is looking to swim open water for the first time or an experienced athlete who wants to fine tune their open water skills then we have courses to suit you.
First Timers and Novices
Swimming in the open water can be a daunting experience to those who are new to it. "It's cold", "it's deep", "you can’t see where you are going", are just a few of the things we hear people saying. Some of these things may be true but it is purely a matter of getting used to it and becoming familiar and comfortable with things. Once you are over that bit, you then get to understand just how rewarding open water swimming can be.
Our 'Introduction to Open Water Swimming' sessions are suitable for those who are either brand new to swimming open water or those who are fairly new to it but want to learn some key skills. Some of the key elements that would be covered during this session are:
Open water swimming - the kit you need
Concerns, fears and dealing with anxiety
Safety when open water swimming
Entries and Exits (basic)
More Advanced Skills
If you are experienced at open water swimming and are looking for ways to further improve your open water swim ability or race times, then our 'Advanced Open Water Skills' sessions would be ideal for you. These sessions spend more time focusing on the elements that will make you even quicker through the water and help make you a more rounded, skilled open water swimmer. Some of the key elements covered during this session are:
Open water stroke technique work
Open water stroke - adapting to different swim environments
Turns (various types and angles)
Starts (land and deep water)
Entries and Exits
ALL SESSIONS MUST BE PRE-BOOKED PRIOR TO ATTENDANCE. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE
Swim slots are allocated on a per-hour basis and numbers are strictly limited. Prices are as follows:
Single swim - £10
5 swim block (recommended) - £8 per swimI
Introduction to Open Water Course - £25
Open Water Skills Training - £25
In addition to this there is also a one-off (annual) fee of £10 to be paid on your first visit (including children). You will be given a swim card with a barcode and this card will be scanned to check you into the water each time you swim. The swim card will be valid for the full swim season. The annual administration fee needs to be paid for with CASH or CARD on your first visit. Membership cards from 2020/21 can be kept and reused but the administration fee still needs to be paid by all swimmers, including children.
All swimmers must wear a brightly coloured swimming hat - not white nor silver (due to the glare on the water).
Any swimmer not wearing a wetsuit must use a tow float which can be hired or purchased from us. All children swimming (subject to the rules below) must wear a wetsuit and use a tow float, which is loaned from us free of charge.
Frequently asked questions
Children between 10 and 12, who are strong swimmers, may swim subject to parent or legal guardian permission. They must complete a competency assessment and will be required to wear a wetsuit, and use a tow float (which we will provide). They must be closely accompanied in the water by a responsible adult, who must swim close to them at all times.
Children aged 13 and above, who are strong swimmers, may swim subject to parent or legal guardian permission. They must complete a competency assessment and will be required to wear a wetsuit and use a tow float (which we will provide). They must be accompanied by a responsible adult who may be required to swim with them.
Under 10s may swim with a parent or guardian at the discretion of Do3 staff, if they can demonstrate that they are strong swimmers. Please contact us before booking by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adult supervision must be 1-2-1 and children are not permitted to wait alone on the bank whilst their accompanying adult swims.
It’s worth bearing in mind that swimming in a lake is very different from swimming in a pool. Cold can affect children more quickly so they need to be monitored closely, and there is no edge to hang onto or shallow areas to stand up and rest like there is in a pool. Their wetsuit should be tight fitting and flexible to keep them warm and allow them to swim more easily. Wetsuits with 'growing room' will fill with water and be heavy, cold and hard to swim in. There is no pressure for anyone to swim around the full loops if that may be too far though, we are happy for people to stay in our warm up area until they feel ready to go off around the lake.
Wearing a wetsuit is optional, but recommended in the early season. Everyone’s reaction to the cold water is different and if you’ve not done open water swimming before you will find it very cold. Should you wish to wear one, a close fitting wetsuit will offer you warmth and buoyancy. Swim specific wetsuits are a lot easier to swim in than surf wetsuits (which are not very flexible in the shoulders)
Under 16 degrees wearing a wetsuit is compulsory unless you’re very experienced because of the risk of cold water shock. Any swimmer without a wetsuit must use a tow float. If you are swimming at one of our night swims, you must use a tow float whether or not you wear a wetsuit.
Whilst we can’t recommend a wetsuit specific to your needs, we have created an informative video which should cover off most of the popular questions we get asked. We would recommend a swim specific wetsuit rather than a surfing wetsuit. The video can be found on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8a-fKW2mQM&t=23s.
It’s fine to swim front crawl and breaststroke. Backstroke is not allowed because it can look like the swimmer is summoning help.
Yes, although you must exit the water by the end of the session you have booked unless you have booked consecutive sessions. For the early part of the season two safety briefings will be provided. This will allow new swimmers the opportunity to arrive a bit later to the session and have plenty of time to ask any questions. All swimmers must receive a safety briefing before entering the water, even if they have been before (the briefing will be much shorter for repeat swimmers). Swimmers must also be checked in by the staff on the check in desks.
There are two loops - one is ~250m and the other is ~600m. Swimmers must swim anti-clockwise and stay on the marked course, swimming directly from buoy to buoy. There are areas of the lake which are strictly out of bounds either to protect wildlife or because they are not visible to safety staff; it is imperative that swimmers stay out of these areas.
Because of fresh water mussels in the lake there will be matting on the floor at the entry/exit point to protect swimmers' feet. Their shells can be sharp so be cautious when putting your feet down and try to swim up to the matting if you can. The edges of the matting will be marked with flags on the bank so you know where to aim for. Unless there is an emergency you must only enter and leave the lake at the designated start/finish point.
What is the water temperature?
The water temperature fluctuates between around 13 and 27 degrees depending on the time of year. It is published on our website, and the check in and safety staff will always be able to advise you what the temperature is on that day because it is taken before every session.
Yes! At each session we have a lifeguard, two rescue trained kayakers, and at least two spotters. All new swimmers receive a safety briefing from the session manager before swimming, and regular swimmers receive any updates as required.
If you are swimming without a wetsuit then a tow float is mandatory. If you are under 16 a tow float (and wetsuit) are mandatory. If you are swimming at a night swim it is mandatory to use a tow float, even if you are wearing a wetsuit.
Yes! All swimmers must wear a brightly coloured swimming hat - not white nor silver (due to the glare on the water), or dark colours.
We hire out tow floats at the lake on a per session basis. We have the following available to purchase: tow floats, swim hats, changing robes, swim towels, as well as hoodies and t-shirts. West Midlands Wetsuit Hire are at some swim sessions to sell or hire out wetsuits, and sell other swim related equipment.
“I had a BIKE FIT after getting a new bike. The position needed altering. Robyn did a great job adjusting the seat, tri bars and cleats to make me more areo and comfortable. Robyn knows his stuff, is friendly and will answer any questions. Highly recommended.”
ANITA H. –
“What a great way to start another heatwave day...a magical swim at Compton Verney. Wish I had tried this sooner. Thank you for creating this opportunity!”
Jane E. -
“My first time and everyone was so friendly and helpful. It was very well organised and helpful and informative emails prior to the session. I will definitely be back!”
Lauren T. –
“Me and my friend Kerry did our first open swim today . We couldn’t of asked for a better day! Everyone was so friendly and reassuring the set up is brilliant . We will definitely be swimming again, think we are hooked!! Thank you to the great team that run this event .”
Jo A. –
“It was not that easy downloading and booking via the App but I had plenty of helpful support with this. I chose a great day weatherwise to try out this new challenge, and the organisation and friendly enthusiasm at the venue was fantastic. Can't wait to do this all over again.”
Rachel M. –
“Thank you to all the volunteers & Dave for making my evening swim totally amazing. The cakes were fabulous as always. Just love my lake swims at Compton Verney. Thanks to all.”
Jane P. –