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Tracing the lines

Swimdermere is an immersive research project that traces the different bodily, socio-cultural, political, and ecological lines of open-water swimming and environmental health at Windermere, England’s largest lake. The research is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council, South West Doctoral Training Partnership, and the University of Exeter (Human Geography).

Trace of Windermere
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Research Focus

Swimdermere questions the relationships between open-water swimming and environmental health at Windermere, focusing on two popular designated bathing sites (Rayrigg Meadow and Millerground) over a full 12-month season (September 2022 – September 2023).


This immersive research project included: (1) observing general swimming/lake activity and water/weather conditions, alongside recording the researchers personal swim responses; and (2) recording separate one-to-one ‘swim-along interviews’ with open-water swimmers.

Both recordings included written diaries, photographs, audio, and videos.

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Swimming with Care at Windermere

Research Zine collaboration between Taylor Butler-Eldridge and Bethan Thorsby.

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Recent Posts

Windermere Science Evening


The second Windermere Science Evening on Wednesday, 20th March 2024, at the Old Laundry Theatre in Bowness-on-Windermere was a huge success. We hosted guests in-house and online, with a combined audience of over 140 people. Thank you to our speakers, and to everyone who attended, shared the event, generated questions on the night, and provided […]

That’s a wrap!


That’s a wrap. One hundred visits staggered across September 2022 – September 2023. Last Sunday morning marked the end of my twelve month fieldwork at Windermere. Thank you to the Rayrigg regulars for letting me join in your weekly dip during my final visit. There is no way I can summarise an entire year on […]

Environmental Concerns


Environmental concerns at Windermere are again making local and national headlines, generating significant attention around sewage pollution and the seasonal fluctuations of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae).  I recognise this attention has created further adaptation, ambivalence, and avoidance within the swim communities, so I thought it may be useful to offer a snippet of my reflections explored […]