Warleigh Weir

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View of the weir

Warleigh Weir is a river structure located on the River Avon in Somerset, near Bath. The weir was created between 1809 and 1813 as part of the construction program for the Claverton Pumping Station.

The weir is accessed from the adjacent island which is created from the bifurcation of the river running to the Claverton Pumping station and the main flow of the River Avon.

Recreation[edit]

View of the weir looking south

Warleigh Weir has been a popular local swimming spot for over 100 years.[1][2] In this time the site has become increasingly popular with national and international press coverage. The river island which is typically used to access the weir is privately owned and is not designated public access land. There is a public footpath across the field but this does not lead to the weir itself.

Safety[edit]

There have been reported incidents of Weils disease in the river.[3][deprecated source] Repeated warnings have been issued by the Canal and River Trust and the Warleigh Weir Project around the dangers of swimming at the site. The Warleigh Weir Project website states:

The Warleigh Weir, Island Field and River Avon are not safe places. This is working agricultural land which presents various hazards and risks. The river is not a designated swimming spot, there are no lifeguards and there may be no assumption of safety at the site whatsoever.[4]

Land Ownership and Warleigh Weir Project[edit]

Until summer 2018 the land adjacent to the weir had been used for cattle grazing. In June 2018 the land was purchased by the "Warleigh Island Conservation Project Ltd"[5] which is a not-for-profit social enterprise founded by local entrepreneur, property developer and philanthropist Johnny Palmer.[6] The Warleigh Weir Project was founded to "promote the sustainable use of the countryside" [7]

Controversy and Threat of Closure[edit]

Upon purchasing the land the new owner (Johnny Palmer) threatened to close the land to the public "unless people stop leaving their rubbish behind" The threat was published extensively on local and national media channels and received both criticism and support.[8][9] Subsequently, the "Warleigh Weir project Guardians" group was setup which is a 300-strong group of volunteers who assist with promoting the project values, making site improvements and cleaning the site.

The site has also become a popular spot for mass skinny dipping events.[10][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brinsford, James (14 July 2018). "Why beauty spot near Bath is hailed as UK's best swimming location". somersetlive. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  2. ^ "Posing for the camera at Warleigh Weir, c.1930s". www.bathintime.co.uk. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Man caught a killer infection from rats urine after going swimming". Mail Online. 17 July 2018. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Safety - Staying safe at the weir". Warleigh Weir Project. 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  5. ^ "Home – Portfolio button nav". Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  6. ^ Warleigh Weir Project (21 January 2019). "Warleigh Weir Project and Corporate Links - with WWP founder Johnny Palmer". Retrieved 3 June 2019 – via YouTube.
  7. ^ "Project & Values". Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Warleigh Weir landowner warns beauty spot could be closed if litter nightmare is not solved". Somerset Live. Local World. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Warleigh Weir users given closure warning". Wiltshire Times. Newsquest Media Group Ltd. 28 June 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  10. ^ "Popular beauty spot near Bristol taken over by 'mass skinny dip' event". Bristol Post. Local World. 15 September 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  11. ^ "The Great British Skinny Dip returns to Bath beauty spot this summer". Somerset Live. Local World. 1 May 2019. Retrieved 5 August 2019.

Coordinates: 51°22′37″N 2°18′01″W / 51.3769°N 2.3003°W / 51.3769; -2.3003