The team at Nene Outdoors is delighted to announce the start of the open water swimming season on Gunwade Lake in Ferry Meadows from Thursday 5th May.

Open water swimming is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, combining an opportunity to improve fitness with an enjoyment of the outdoors.  Whether you are training for a triathlon or just want to take part in an activity which is sociable as well as good for you, just come along and have a go! You’ll be able to enjoy the freedom of swimming outdoors with the confidence of knowing our team are on standby to make sure your swim remains safe.

Swimming takes place around a 400m course on Gunwade Lake, a relatively sheltered and shallow lake (4.5m maximum depth) fed by freshwater from the River Nene. Swimmers can complete the 400m circuit as many times as they like during the session and can then use the facilities at Nene Outdoors Watersports and Activity Centre, including the heated changing rooms and showers. 

All swimmers are required to wear a NOWCA Safety Wristband every time they swim, which is their own personal profile on their wrist. Swimmers use their wristband to scan themselves in and out of the water, which means that the team at Nene Outdoors know exactly who and how many swimmers are in the water, at any time. For you as a swimmer, wearing your NOWCA Safety Wristband will also speed your entry into the water, plus record your swim time and distance, just like wearing a chip at a triathlon.  

If you are new to open water swimming and don't have a NOWCA band yet, sign up online before your first swim at Simply hit the 'become a member' button and complete the form, citing Nene Outdoors as the venue. You will then be able to collect your wristband from the centre ready for your first swim!  Your wristband can also be used at all other NOWCA safety accredited lakes and venues across the country. 

Please note that for safety, all swimmers will be required to wear a brightly coloured swim cap.  Bring your own or buy one on arrival from the Nene Outdoors reception shop, where wetsuits are also available to purchase and hire. The use of wetsuits is compulsory for swimmers under the age of 16. 

The open water swimming sessions are held weekly on Thursdays from 5.30-7pm until the end of September and cost £6.50 a session. Sessions can be booked in advance online at