River Itchen, Winnall Moors Nature Reserve
The River Itchen is a chalk stream so is spring fed, very clear and very cold. it is also fast flowing. Be prepared to be surprised by the cold compared with other rivers. There are more water voles in this stretch of river than anywhere in the rest of England. It is quite narrow so you can stand at the sides of the river to get your breath. It splits into many streams but this is the nicest spot to swim if you want a really hard swim. From River Park Leisure Centre car park, walk past the tennis courts, cross diagonally left to a bridge, across the bridge and again diagonally left to another bridge into the Nature Reserve. Turn left, then first right across a boardwalk, turn right and leave your things in the bushes near the double benches. Enter the water to the right end of the cleared vegetation. Swim upstream and come back to this spot. It is hard work so good for fairly strong swimmers. Lovely bulrushes and flowers in summer. Occasional kingfishers and swans.