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Wild and free river swimming

The summer holidays are officially over, there is a chill in the air, the kids are back at school and we are back to the old routine.

This summer we managed to get out a fair bit - nowhere exotic - but most of our best adventures were fairly local and free!

One of the activities the kids enjoyed the most was splashing about in the river Eden. Again, this was one of Lee's little gems - his family used to go there when he was young. The river runs near Edenbridge on the Kent/Surrey border.

The first time we went there we took a really long route through wheat fields and under a fence and paddled through the river to get to the otherside. Recently we discovered there is a public bridleway and a little bridge - doh!

Once we'd made the discovery of an idyllic little spot the children asked to go back the following weekend. This time with their swimming costumes!

Lee got in to check the depth and once he knew it was safe (but freezing) the girls followed him in. Now here's a fact about me - I am pretty easy going, I like being barefoot, I will explore, climb, camp in nature but swimming with fish in a river does not appeal to me. Of course I got a bit of jip for this: "Mummy you're so boring - I dare you to get in". Well, I can be pretty stubborn so apart from a little paddle, I watched from the river bank whilst my daring daughter swam, splashed and even jumped in.

There are little sticklebacks, you can see them in the shallow water - and according to the "brave ones" they nibble your skin whilst your standing still in the water - who needs to pay for a fish pedicure?

We took a picnic with us and ate on the riverbank.

The walk through the wheat fields was so lovely - and we passed lots of wild flowers including chamomille.

We found the perfect tree for perching in - and it was a great spot to dry off!

The water pooled off at this spot and it was deep enough to jump in. Lee said it was absolutely freezing, but kids never seem to mind.

There is Indian Balsam growing along the riverside.

Here are two of my river monsters. My boy decided to totally strip off - typical three year old! This is a very secluded spot - I saw one dog walker and it's next to a field of cows.

Looking back through my photos makes me happy for what we have - even if sometimes it doesn't seem like much - days like this mean the world to me.

This is me, perched in a tree just above the river - hello :-)


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