The secret countryside beach at the top of a hill loved by wild swimmers

Gaddings Dam in Todmorden
-Credit: (Image: DAH Sports Images)

The summer holidays see many of us forking out for a plane ticket in search of sunshine.

If a foreign holiday isn't on the cards, you can still pack your bags and venture to one of the golden sandy beaches closer to home. The sandy stretches at coastal spots like Formby and Blackpool are always popular but there's one hidden beach not too far away that you might just not know about.

Gaddings Dam, on the outskirts of Todmorden, West Yorkshire, is just over an hour's drive from Liverpool. At 355 metres above sea level, the picturesque hilltop spot is the highest beach in the UK and is run by a group of local volunteers who rescued the dam from closure in 2001.

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It's considered a relatively safe place to swim with clean water and no tides or currents. Swimmers are advised to stay near the walls and not to dive as there are a lot of rocks under the water near the edges. Situated on the moors between Todmorden and Walsden, the site is very exposed and usually windy so check the forecast before you set off and come prepared for the conditions.

Sturdy walking boots are recommended as it's a steep trek up the hill from the road and the footpath can be muddy and slippery. The site offers no shelter from the sun either so visitors are advised to bring their own parasol - and plenty of sunscreen - if it's a sunny day.

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