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All 22 Wales Blue Flag Award beaches can keep their status next year

02 Dec 2022 6 minute read
Dawnstalkers co-founder Grant Zehtmayer celebrates as Penarth receives ‘Excellent’ bathing water quality status. Picture: Welsh Government.

Wales has once again published stellar results for its bathing water quality standards, with 99% compliance and 85 of the 106 water bodies assessed achieving the top grade.

First-time entrants Penarth and Col-Huw beach in the Vale of Glamorgan made their debut by moving straight into the top ranked category, with the former’s application having been submitted by local resident and ‘wild swim’ enthusiast, James Tennet.

Welsh Government is today reminding the public that anyone can put forward their local swimming hotspot for consideration as a designated bathing water, which would see Natural Resources Wales collect and analyse water samples from May to September. 

Categorised as either ‘Excellent’, ‘Good’, ‘Sufficient’, or ‘Poor’, 85 of the 106 water bodies assessed across Wales achieved top grade. 

All 22 Blue Flag Award beaches can apply to retain their status for the 2023 bathing season, with Aberporth, Llandonna and Nolton Haven beaches also achieving an ‘excellent’ classification, an improvement on last year’s results.

Celebrating the news today is a group of intrepid ‘Dawnstalkers’ who welcome in a crisp December with a sunrise sea swim off Penarth beach.  

Dawnstalkers is more than 100 members strong, its co-founder Grant Zehtmayer says, who dip in and out. 

They meet every day before morning breaks, whatever the weather.

Penarth resident Grant started the group with Lene Chmiel, after challenging himself to get in the water every day whilst doing dry January during lockdown and feeling a need to ‘break out from the repression’.

‘Just, wow!’

Grant said: “Just, wow! I can’t believe Penarth has received ‘Excellent’ status – this is nothing short of amazing. I hope this opens up opportunities for our lovely seafront and Penarth in general, while giving confidence that our muddy sea is perfectly good to swim in.”

He added: “Dawnstalkers has changed my life. Knowing that everyday there will be someone ready to brave the cold sea with you is really quite special. Our amazing community are so supportive of each other and that in itself is a big positive tick for our mental health.

“Cold water swimming is a big mood boost as it produces serotonin and dopamine. Can you get a better start to your day than a happiness hit like that?

Minister for Climate Change Julie James said: “Congratulations to Penarth and Col-Huw beaches, and all of those that have worked hard to reach the highest standards for our bathing waters in Wales.

“Cold water swimming is brilliant for your physical and mental health and if communities and friendships are created whilst doing it then we really have nothing to lose.

“We want to designate more waters, for example lakes and reservoirs, as bathing waters in Wales and encourage everyone of all shapes, sizes and abilities to don their costumes and brave our brisk waters in Wales.

“We will continue to work with Natural Resources Wales, local authorities and community groups as we think the challenge is more than worth it. Let’s get Wales top of the board for its wild swimming.”

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) visited all 106 designated bathing water sites and collected and analysed water quality samples throughout the 2022 bathing season. 

While 85 of the 106 water bodies assessed achieved top grades, Marine Lake in Rhyl, an artificial lake used mainly for water sports, is the only site to be classified as poor.

Bathing quality

Bathing Water Regulations compliance by bathing water, 2022
Source: Natural Resources Wales
Excellent 85
Good 16
Sufficient 4
Poor 1
Total compliant 105
Total bathing waters 106
% compliant 99.06%
Country Bathing Water ID Bathing Water Name 2022 Compliance
Wales 36050 Penarth Beach EXCELLENT
Wales 36100 Jackson’s Bay Barry Island SUFFICIENT
Wales 36200 Whitmore Bay Barry Island GOOD
Wales 36300 Cold Knap Barry EXCELLENT
Wales 36350 Col-Huw Beach (Llantwit Major) EXCELLENT
Wales 36400 Southerndown EXCELLENT
Wales 36500 Trecco Bay Porthcawl EXCELLENT
Wales 36600 Sandy Bay Porthcawl EXCELLENT
Wales 36700 Rest Bay Porthcawl EXCELLENT
Wales 36800 Aberafan GOOD
Wales 36900 Swansea Bay GOOD
Wales 37000 Bracelet Bay EXCELLENT
Wales 37100 Limeslade Bay GOOD
Wales 37200 Langland Bay EXCELLENT
Wales 37300 Caswell Bay EXCELLENT
Wales 37400 Oxwich Bay EXCELLENT
Wales 37500 Port Eynon Bay EXCELLENT
Wales 37600 Rhossili EXCELLENT
Wales 37700 Pembrey EXCELLENT
Wales 37800 Pendine EXCELLENT
Wales 37900 Amroth Central EXCELLENT
Wales 37940 Wiseman’s Bridge GOOD
Wales 37980 Coppet Hall EXCELLENT
Wales 38000 Saundersfoot EXCELLENT
Wales 38100 Tenby North GOOD
Wales 38150 Castle Beach, Tenby EXCELLENT
Wales 38200 Tenby South EXCELLENT
Wales 38210 Penally EXCELLENT
Wales 38220 Lydstep EXCELLENT
Wales 38230 Manorbier EXCELLENT
Wales 38235 Freshwater East EXCELLENT
Wales 38238 Barafundle EXCELLENT
Wales 38240 Broad Haven (South) EXCELLENT
Wales 38248 Freshwater West EXCELLENT
Wales 38250 West Angle EXCELLENT
Wales 38255 Sandy Haven EXCELLENT
Wales 38260 Dale EXCELLENT
Wales 38280 Marloes Sands EXCELLENT
Wales 38295 Little Haven EXCELLENT
Wales 38300 Broad Haven (Central) EXCELLENT
Wales 38340 Druidston Haven EXCELLENT
Wales 38380 Nolton Haven EXCELLENT
Wales 38400 Newgale EXCELLENT
Wales 38460 Caerfai EXCELLENT
Wales 38500 Whitesands EXCELLENT
Wales 38520 Abereiddy EXCELLENT
Wales 38540 Abermawr EXCELLENT
Wales 38600 Newport North EXCELLENT
Wales 38630 Poppit West EXCELLENT
Wales 38640 Mwnt EXCELLENT
Wales 38660 Aberporth EXCELLENT
Wales 38670 Tresaith EXCELLENT
Wales 38675 Penbryn EXCELLENT
Wales 38680 Llangrannog EXCELLENT
Wales 38685 Cilborth EXCELLENT
Wales 38688 New Quay North GOOD
Wales 38690 New Quay Harbour GOOD
Wales 38700 Traeth Gwyn New Quay EXCELLENT
Wales 38750 Llanrhystud EXCELLENT
Wales 38800 Aberystwyth South EXCELLENT
Wales 38900 Aberystwyth North GOOD
Wales 38920 Clarach South GOOD
Wales 39000 Borth EXCELLENT
Wales 39050 Aberdyfi GOOD
Wales 39070 Aberdyfi Rural EXCELLENT
Wales 39100 Tywyn EXCELLENT
Wales 39200 Fairbourne EXCELLENT
Wales 39300 Barmouth EXCELLENT
Wales 39350 Tal-y-Bont EXCELLENT
Wales 39360 Dyffryn (Llanendwyn) EXCELLENT
Wales 39400 Llandanwg EXCELLENT
Wales 39500 Harlech EXCELLENT
Wales 39600 Craig Du Beach Central EXCELLENT
Wales 39700 Criccieth SUFFICIENT
Wales 39790 Glan Don Beach EXCELLENT
Wales 39800 Pwllheli EXCELLENT
Wales 39900 Abersoch EXCELLENT
Wales 39920 Porth Neigwl EXCELLENT
Wales 39950 Aberdaron EXCELLENT
Wales 39960 Morfa Nefyn EXCELLENT
Wales 39970 Morfa Dinlle EXCELLENT
Wales 39975 Llyn Padarn EXCELLENT
Wales 39980 Llanddwyn EXCELLENT
Wales 39985 Aberffraw EXCELLENT
Wales 39990 Rhosneigr EXCELLENT
Wales 39993 Silver Bay Rhoscolyn EXCELLENT
Wales 39995 Borth Wen EXCELLENT
Wales 40000 Trearddur Bay EXCELLENT
Wales 40010 Porth Dafarch EXCELLENT
Wales 40030 Church Bay EXCELLENT
Wales 40050 Cemaes GOOD
Wales 40085 Traeth Lligwy GOOD
Wales 40100 Benllech EXCELLENT
Wales 40105 St Davids – Benllech EXCELLENT
Wales 40140 Llanddona EXCELLENT
Wales 40170 Llanfairfechan EXCELLENT
Wales 40180 Penmaenmawr EXCELLENT
Wales 40200 Llandudno West Shore EXCELLENT
Wales 40300 Llandudno North Shore GOOD
Wales 40425 Colwyn Bay Porth Eirias EXCELLENT
Wales 40450 Abergele (Pensarn) SUFFICIENT
Wales 40500 Kinmel Bay (Sandy Cove) GOOD
Wales 40550 Marine Lake, Rhyl POOR
Wales 40600 Rhyl SUFFICIENT
Wales 40650 Rhyl East GOOD
Wales 40700 Prestatyn EXCELLENT

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George Atkinson
George Atkinson
1 year ago

As long as only 2 floating turds hit your face every metre swam.

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