Dosthill Quarry is a hidden little lake not far from Kingsbury. It’s next door to a church and in the middle of a housing estate so it’s hard to believe there’s something beautiful hidden behind the houses.
It’s a little bit rustic so there’s no showers, heated changing rooms, running water and only portaloos. But that’s part of the charm of the place.
There are usually 1 or 2 members of staff who are incredibly friendly and talk to everyone who arrives. They seem laid back but are looking out for everyone and are safety conscious should you need them.
They have wetsuits for hire should you need it. Non wetsuit swimmers have to swim with a tow float and again they have them available for hire.
The lake is incredibly deep (25metres) and is also used for diving. If you’re at all afraid of deep water then this isn’t the place for you.
If you swim when the divers are in you might feel them rising to the surface through a rush of cold water and seeing more bubbles. But they rise very slowly so are not going to pop up underneath you. This can be a bit disconcerting to start with but you soon get used to it.
As it’s an old quarry the sides are incredibly steep. This means there is only 1 exit and entrance point. This is worth bearing in mind if you’re not a confident swimmer as there are no other points for you to get out the lake.
This also means that you can’t put your feet down anywhere in the lake like you might at other venues. This means that there are no places to stand up and rest and again is worth considering if you’re new to open water swimming or not confident.
The depth also makes it colder than other lakes and again do take this into consideration if you’re new to open water or don’t like the cold.
The water quality is superb. It’s crystal clear and beautiful. The wildlife and fish are incredible including a giant gold fish (actually a golden orfe) and such a treat when you live in a city. I’m also not sure where else in the UK you could get such clear water with wildlife to swim in.Due to the depth and temperature they never have any problems with swimmers itch.
It’s only a small lake which makes it safe because swimmers can be seen very easily. It’s about 400m per lap and takes me about 8min to swim round. If you need to do a long swim it could be a bit boring going round in circles.
Because it’s a small lake, life guarding is done from the bank and they do not put life guards in kayaks or on paddle boards on the water. If you’re super nervous and need support then it’s worth considering this and looking for neighbouring lakes that offer that.
They have generous opening hours which means there’s not usually a huge rush of swimmers so it feels quiet and calm.
They’re open all year round and there’s a regular group of swimmers that swim right through the winter including on a Thursday evening in the dark. Which is crazy but also quite special.
In the post co-vid lock down they are doing socially distanced swim sessions where they allow up to 10 swimmers per hour that have to be booked in advance. It still never feels crowded even in the car park and is a fabulous place to get your swimming fix.