All 22 Wales Blue Flag Award beaches can keep their status next year
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’.
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 Water Regulations compliance by bathing water, 2022|
|Source: Natural Resources Wales|
|Total bathing waters||106|
|Country||Bathing Water ID||Bathing Water Name||2022 Compliance|
|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||36500||Trecco Bay Porthcawl||EXCELLENT|
|Wales||36600||Sandy Bay Porthcawl||EXCELLENT|
|Wales||36700||Rest Bay Porthcawl||EXCELLENT|
|Wales||37500||Port Eynon Bay||EXCELLENT|
|Wales||38150||Castle Beach, Tenby||EXCELLENT|
|Wales||38240||Broad Haven (South)||EXCELLENT|
|Wales||38300||Broad Haven (Central)||EXCELLENT|
|Wales||38688||New Quay North||GOOD|
|Wales||38690||New Quay Harbour||GOOD|
|Wales||38700||Traeth Gwyn New Quay||EXCELLENT|
|Wales||39600||Craig Du Beach Central||EXCELLENT|
|Wales||39790||Glan Don Beach||EXCELLENT|
|Wales||39993||Silver Bay Rhoscolyn||EXCELLENT|
|Wales||40105||St Davids – Benllech||EXCELLENT|
|Wales||40200||Llandudno West Shore||EXCELLENT|
|Wales||40300||Llandudno North Shore||GOOD|
|Wales||40425||Colwyn Bay Porth Eirias||EXCELLENT|
|Wales||40500||Kinmel Bay (Sandy Cove)||GOOD|
|Wales||40550||Marine Lake, Rhyl||POOR|
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