Wild swimmers have been staging trespass dips at a notorious lake where four people have drowned. 

They claim that the former quarry at Bawsey Country Park, near King's Lynn is safe if people take the right precautions - despite a ban on swimming and paddling because of the number of deaths which have occurred at the site.

The country park has not yet replied to the claims.

Wisbech Standard: Pictures of a trespass swim on Imogen Radford's wild swimming blogPictures of a trespass swim on Imogen Radford's wild swimming blog (Image: Imogen Radford)

Imogen Radford, who runs a wild swimming blog, has posted reports and pictures of swims on her website.

"On a glorious sunny autumn day, October 22, 2023, a varied group of outdoor swimmers and dippers met to go swimming together and have a walk at two beautiful lakes in West Norfolk, along with some of their friends," one post says.

"As well as having a lovely day, they wanted to show that it’s possible to swim safely outdoors, including in these lakes, and that we want and need places to swim – especially in such benign water bodies – so that everyone can learn about staying safe in open water."

Wisbech Standard: A sign warns people not to swim at BawseyA sign warns people not to swim at Bawsey (Image: Newsquest)Another describes a "right to swim trespass", on September 23.

"Twelve of us swam and paddled in the Brickyard Lake on this day, as a deliberate swim trespass by local swimmers and Norfolk right to roam group members to make the point that we need access to inland waters and that swimming can be done safely and responsibly," it says.

Wisbech Standard: Wild swimmer Imogen RadfordWild swimmer Imogen Radford (Image: Imogen Radford)Ms Radford, a 64-year-old retired trade union officer from Dereham, said: "We were making a point, which is that we can do it perfectly safely and anyone can with the right safety information.

"We are aware of their stance on it, our point is we would like them to consider changing it."

Safety advice includes acclimatising yourself to the temperature of the water and not staying in for too long. 

Norfolk firefighters have been involved in a number of search operations at Bawsey.

Wisbech Standard: Firefighters search for a missing swimmer at BawseyFirefighters search for a missing swimmer at Bawsey (Image: Ian Burt)A fire service spokesman said: "We would advise people not to go wild swimming alone, to know their own limitations, and to swim in water familiar to them.

"We generally advise avoiding swimming in quarry lakes – especially where there is clear signage banning it. Quarry lake swimming is particularly dangerous because the water can often be very deep and extremely cold, which can cause cold water shock.

"Cold water shock causes you to involuntarily gasp and inhale water which can be deadly for even the strongest of swimmers." 

Tragic toll of deaths at park

Wisbech Standard: Flowers at the spot where Radek Gina drowned in June, 2021Flowers at the spot where Radek Gina drowned in June, 2021 (Image: Chris Bishop/Facebook)Four people have died at Bawsey in the last decade.

Radek Gina, 20, from Wisbech, drowned in one of the park's lakes in June, 2021.

Kristers Bednarskis, 22, died after getting into difficulty in August, 2020.

During an inquest into his death, which reached a conclusion of misadventure, a coroner said warning signs were there for a reason and people should not flout them.

Wisbech Standard: Kristers Bednarskis, who drowned at Bawsey in August, 2020Kristers Bednarskis, who drowned at Bawsey in August, 2020 (Image: Ilja Jevtusenko)

And Umar Balogun, 16, and Ryan Pettengell, 41, drowned on the same afternoon in July, 2013.