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For the first time ever, West Reservoir, the 36-hectare reservoir situated in the heart of Woodberry Down, will be remaining open to swimmers year round.

In the past the Reservoir has closed in October for open water swimming, only reopening the following May.  However, a winter swimming programme has been agreed in response to a huge surge in demand from outdoor swimmers this summer – many trying the open water for the first time when swimming pools closed due to the Coronavirus lockdown.

Winter opening hours will run Monday – Friday during daylight hours and on weekends from sunrise until early afternoon.  Swimmers hoping to take to the water, should be experienced open water swimmers, due to the additional challenges presented when swimming at lower temperatures.  A cold water briefing will be given to all visitors and staff will be on hand to offer advice on how to swim safely at colder temperatures.

The health benefits of cold water swimming are well documented and include: reducing stress, decreasing inflammation, boosting immunity and improving mental health.  Most recently new research from Cambridge University has suggested that cold water swimming may help stave off dementia.

Ricky McMinn, Better’s General Manager at West Reservoir said: “This summer we experienced unprecedented demand from swimmers, many taking to the open water for the first time, as a result of the Coronavirus restrictions.  With so many ‘converts’ to the open water, we want to ensure they are able to continue to enjoy their open water swims year round.”

“In addition to remaining open, we have a number of new initiatives in the pipeline. We’re looking at introducing a members’ loyalty scheme, along with new activities, competitions and races during the colder months.  We’re also planning to create a one day, Introduction to Open Water Swimming course for swimmers new to the outdoors.”

Cllr Chris Kennedy, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Health, Adult Social Care and Leisure, added: “We’ve been working closely with Better to safely open up as many facilities as we can during the pandemic so people can keep active and healthy. All-year swimming at West Reservoir is one way that we can welcome more people to our facilities, with the huge benefits to health that open water swimming can bring.”

The cost per session is £10 for non-members and £5 for members.  Monthly membership at West Reservoir costs £32.50 and includes access to all Better operated swimming venues across the UK.


Notes to the editor

West Reservoir Centre has implemented a number of COVID secure systems to keep the customers and staff safe these include:

  • Requiring all swims to be prebooked in order to implement a trickle flow of customers every 10 minutes and so avoid queues
  • A one way system in and out of the facility
  • Staff completing enhanced cleaning throughout the day
  • Requesting swimmers to come beach ready when possible
  • Introducing an outside changing zone
  • Dedicating two large classrooms for use as indoor changing facilities, subject to maximum capacity and social distancing measures.
  • Situating hand sanitiser stations throughout the centre

For more information on winter swimming, the opening times, tips on staying safe in the water and visiting West Reservoir visit www.better.org.uk/leisure-centre/london/hackney/west-reservoir-centre

For further press information

Carole Pendle

On behalf of West Reservoir Centre


T: 07768462601