Lewes Forum thread

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swimming in the Ouse

On 25 Jul 2012 at 6:18pm swimmer wrote:
Does anybody know if it is safe to swim in the Ouse and if so where is the best place to swim?
On 25 Jul 2012 at 6:28pm Harry wrote:
Don't. It's tidal, so currents go both ways. Can flow strongly, especially after all the rain we have been having.
Go to the pells
On 25 Jul 2012 at 7:07pm Southover Queen wrote:
it's safe up at Barcombe Mills, surely, assuming that the breached fence is still breached!
On 25 Jul 2012 at 7:35pm Mermaid wrote:
I've heard that it's safe to swim at Piddinghoe for half an hour either side of high tide, there is a jetty with steps.
On 25 Jul 2012 at 7:35pm Country Boy wrote:
Field is currently full of young cows. Much better than the security fence. I walked a little further upstream early yesterday morning and saw a mermaid just rising out of the water. Heavenly.
On 25 Jul 2012 at 7:48pm Mr Forks wrote:
There's a few grave stones in the cemetry of people who tried swimming in the Ouse.
On 25 Jul 2012 at 8:06pm Ducatipete wrote:
Be careful there is a nasty thing in most rivers to do with rats piss. If the fire brigade have to go in and rescue a cow the unfortunate officer has to have treatment and jabs. If I fell in I would not worry about drowning!!!
On 25 Jul 2012 at 8:34pm finger wrote:
The ouse in Lewes no, The ouse from Hamsey upwards yes.
Don't know about the rats piss but watch out after heavy rain, the agricultural waste brings some people out in a nasty rash!
On 25 Jul 2012 at 9:13pm swimmer wrote:
Thanks - think the rats thing is Weils disease mainly a problem if you have any cuts or broken skin. If the weather stays good I might give it a go but will take sensible precautions and not swim alone. Will try to go upwards from Hamsey.
On 26 Jul 2012 at 8:06am Harry wrote:
You might want to read this before you go

Check it out here »
On 26 Jul 2012 at 8:16am Vah wrote:
The lad's T shirt is maybe not the most apt under the circumstances
On 26 Jul 2012 at 9:37am Deelite wrote:
I'd stick to swimming in rain fed ponds and steer clear of rivers if I was you. 38 sewage treatment works feed into the Sussex Ouse and at times of low flow in summer the EA measure that up to 70% of the total water flowing at the (non-tidal) Barcombe Mills is from the output of SWTs. Worst still, in June the farmers stick their cows out in the fields bordering the river. They poo in the river and feeder streams. 10% of cow poo contains ecoli 051... which persists in river water and can make you very ill.
On 26 Jul 2012 at 10:04pm christnye wrote:
The usual alarmist cobblers from the "I wouldn't do that if I was you" brigade. Our rivers are actually cleaner than they have been for generations. The best place to swim is above Barcombe Mills or even better, above the weir beyond the Isfield lock. You just go to Isfield and walk upstream for a mile (except White Bridge was closed the other day, so you may to go from the Barcombe village side).
Obviously don't swim when totally plastered, when the river is flowing very fast, and keep your mouth shut. But your worst danger is getting stung by nettles and covered in mud when getting out. It's still great though, I've done it many times.
On 27 Jul 2012 at 2:05am Fairmeadow wrote:
Deelite is sadly right about the proportion of Ouse water that is sewage works output. Same is true for other rivers in the water-stressed south east. There was an idea to output Crawley sewage works into the Ouse, to provide extra water for the South East Water works at Barcombe Mills. It was ruled out because if they did that the river Mole through Dorking would have dried up altogether.
Sewage works output is of course quite clean. Quite clean, but not very clean. Always new pharmaceuticals to worry about - used to be oestrogens from those on the pill; now statins look a new concern.
On 27 Jul 2012 at 7:13am Deelite wrote:
The STW output is not UV filtered so bugs are a concern too.

However flow has been very good for the last month (and judging by the current weather forecasts will be for some time) so it's probably the best summer for swimming in the Ouse for some years as the crap will be so diluted.
On 27 Jul 2012 at 8:54am Southover Queen wrote:
I'm sure that's true, Deelite: the Winterbourne is flowing fast through Grange Gardens, which I don't think I've ever seen before in the summertime.
On 27 Jul 2012 at 9:56am huw wrote:
One of my friends suffered from a very painful ear infection caused by swimming at Barcombe Mills.
Personally I wouldn't do it due to risk of infection and problems with the tide not to mention the mud.
On 27 Jul 2012 at 11:03am Deelite wrote:
The Mills is not tidal... but there is a huge 35lb pike thereabouts. A pike is a large and powerful carnivore with razor sharp teeth. Here's what a tiny 4lb one can do to you.

Watch the video »
On 28 Jul 2012 at 12:45pm Rosalyn St Pierre wrote:
Swimming in the river does have hazards. There are 38, yes 38 sewage farms upstream and quite honestly a bit of cow poo is the least of your worries. There is cryptospyridium and very nasty bug, cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting. Last year a few local young people had a nasty attack and Barcombe people know of dogs that have died. Fortunately the new water treatment plant will open soon to specifically treat this without resorting to loads of chlorine. The rats have Weil's disease too. Yes the pike that wanders between the sluices at the Anchor down to the meadow is about 35 lbs. Last week some daft people were letting very young children out on the river in rubber inflatables, with no rope tot he bank. The water by the meadow is about 15 feet deep and the under current is quite powerful.
On 28 Jul 2012 at 9:26pm Angry wrote:
It is a wonder that many of you posters even get out of bed in the morning? Perish the thought, you might trip when going down the stairs or scald yourself in the shower. These comments are so typical of the risk averse society we live in these days. I have swam in the Ouse at Barcombe for many years and have never come to any harm, nor have my children and their friends.
On 29 Jul 2012 at 8:26am Ducatipete wrote:
Angry your post is typical and shows you have not read the thread. Swimmer asked for advise and got it. If you want to swim in the river its up to you but dont say you were not warned.
On 2 Aug 2012 at 1:29am AYATOLLAH HOGMANNY wrote:
I used to swim in the Ouse at Barcombe Mills and in Lewes in the 80s and never had a problem, I wouldn't now days though as it looks so much dirtier, as for jumping off the Phoenix Bridge, no way...all that mud getting out!!!!
On 5 Aug 2012 at 9:37pm michelle wrote:
Hi swimmer
I swam in the Ouse a few years ago, I don't remember being washed away by the tide. I don't know why people don't swim in it more regualrly, I know there are eels but ... If you want to swim I'll join you. Let me know. Piddinghoe has a little jetty which the outdoor swimming society have mentioned on their website.
On 6 Aug 2012 at 3:07pm al wrote:
You can swim safely in the Ouse from Southease bridge for about 15 mins either side of high tide. Just wait for the water to stop flowing and drop clear then in you go (preferably with a big jump from the bridge into the water)
As the Ouse is tidal and at low tide the river at southease bridge is only about 1m deep and at high tide at the bridge it is about 6m deep I reckon most (over 95%) of the water in the river here at high tide is sea water. If you are happy swimming in the sea in Sussex then you should be happy swimming in the lower reaches of the Ouse at high tide; just don't drink it.

On 1 Jul 2018 at 11:40am colleen wrote:
i am trying to find out where you would start your swim and where you can par, hoping someone can help :-)

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