Stoney Cove (Leicestershire)
toney Cove is UK largest and busiest Inland Dive Site. In the summer over a 1,000 divers will visit Stoney on a summer weekend.
he site offers diving for all capabilities with its 6m shelf, 20m drop and a 35m deep end with many underwater attractions, such as the Nautilus on the 6m shelf, the Staingarth and Defiant sunken wrecks on the 20m bottom and many others. Visibility is varied and can be as low as a couple of metres in the summer. In the winter we were able to see the Hydrobox (at 35m) when diving past it at 10m.
f you plan to use it at the weekend in the summer and you want a parking space near the water, it is adviseable to prebook your space with the dive centre, the alternative is to arrive very early (5 a.m.) and start queuing at the entrance.
Other facilities on site are changing room with hot showers (for 20p), toilet block, Nemo's restaurant (with a serving hatch on the outside when you are wearing wet-gear), air fill station (if you require 100% 02 check for availability) and a very well equipped shop over two floors.
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obster Quay lies about 30 km south-east from Bristol in the middle of the Somerset countryside. It is a flooded quarry continuously fed by a number of local springs. The visibility is extremely varied and a call to verify the current visibility is advisable, but 5m to 10m is typical. The lake is about 400m by 100m, which makes it quite large and therefore even at weekends doesn’t make it feel too crowded.
Diving is varied at Vobster Quay, with many underwater features such as the crushing works and the crushing works tunnel. The depth are varied, allowing beginners and deeper divers to dive, with a areas ranging between 12m, 24m and 36m. The deep area is extremely cold, dark and very silty, so you have been warned. Overall, it is a very pleasant dive site with lots to see.
Facilities are good, with a well stocked dive shop, a dive school and filling station, hot showers (free) and changing room. The catering van provides reasonable priced food and hot drinks. It is also a fantastic alternative site, if you get blown out on the South Coast.
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hepstow, the National Diving and Activity Centre, lies just on the other site of the Severn Road Bridge in Wales (about 5 km off Junction 2 of the M48). It is an elongated old quarry, which can be split into two distinct areas – the entry area where depth don’t exceed 25m and the deep area where depth of up to 80m can be reached.
The site facilities are at the top, parking, shop and filling station (and a new café in 2012) You assemble your equipment and transport for your equipment is provided to the entry point about 40m below you in the quarry. You don your equipment on any of the many pontoons and get in. After the dive, the same transport will carry your kit back up to the car park.
The quarry itself has many attractions placed in it, allowing for an interesting dive. Visibility generally is very good and we have never encountered of being too crowded, making a very pleasant dive site.
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he Rez is described as “The Deepest Two Metres You’ll Ever Dive”. It is an underground pitch black 40m by 20m reservoir, which you enter by climbing down a ladder. It feels deeper than the 2m and larger than it actually is as your spatial awareness becomes completely skewed in the pitch blackness (For safety reasons there is about half metre of air above the water, so you can surface if necessary). The water is generally quite cold, requiring you to dive with a dry suit (and have at least five open water dives with it).
The Rez in the middle of “Deep Hayes” country park (near Alton Towers). Facilities are limited to the café, so ensure that you have all your equipment with you (torches x2, line laying, dry-suit etc). As it is a small site, you must book in advance to ensure you can dive and it is only open at weekends as well.
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Eccleston Delph Dive & Watersport Centre (Lancashire)
ccleston Delph is one of the hidden dive secrets in northern England. The facilities are excellent (cafe, changing rooms, etc), which makes is a very pleasurable experience.
The site has a number of good attractions (APC, AA Gun, a tank and a cave to mention a few). The bottom can be very silty, so do take care not kicking it up. The maximum depth is around 22m (inthe south corner of the lake). The majority of the lake is between 6m and 16m making an ideal area to practice your diving (especially for beginners).
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Dorethea Quarry (Gwynedd)
orothea Quarry is not a legal dive site, but it is frequented by divers nearly every weekend - as the car park is often quite full. The lure of the illegal and uncontrolled dive environment attracts many divers, but beware - planning your dive and diving your plan is absolutely essential here.
Diving at the quarry is done at your own risk, it is very deep (up to 108m), it is full of hazards (buildings, cables, tunnels, etc). In addition, it is far away from any help, this means in an emergency the absolute minimum requirement is to have 100% 02 available and due to its depth, back-up equipment for full self-reliance is highly recommended.
More about Dorothea Quarry
Midlands Diving Chamber (Warwickshire)
ven though Midlands Diving Chamber is technically not a dive site, you can actually go diving there - a Dry Dive (an it can be logged as well).
You will experience what it is like to dive to 50m and simple tests will allow to establish how "narked" you are, giving you an easy indicator on how much of your ability to think clearly has been compromised. We tend to go about once a year (especially in the winter and do a dry-dive) - it is a fun evening out and the experience is worth it (remember to take you dive computers along and throw them into the bucket inside the dive chamber).
To experience, follow the link below and book yourself a session at the Midlands Diving Chamber.
The Midlands Dive Chamber
Cromhall Quarry (Gloucestershire)
romhall Quarry is a former limestone quarry just off junction J14 of the M5. There is ample of parking available and a small shop offering air, nitrox and trimix fills and some equipment hire.
he platform at the north end of the lake makes access for divers really easy. The visibility is varied often only a few meters in the summer, while a good 10m can be available in the cooler seasons. In terms of "sightseeing" underwater, a few things have been dropped in, but nothing really exciting. The maximum depth is 17m, with some training platforms at 7m and 10m.
he site is often used by the British Triathlon Association, so it is advisable to check with the local centre on access and availability.
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Guildenburgh is just east of Peterborough, on the exit road from Whittlesey to March. This site and Dosthill Quarry is owned and run by Pauline and Ian Foster. They run a friendly site and offer a relaxed and safe atmosphere to dive in.
ildenburgh is a disused brick works site (evidence can be seen when you enter and exit the lake). The lake is around 21m in depth at is maximum, but the low visibility at times can make it feel much deeper (but ropes stretched between underwater attractions allow you to easily find your way around). It is an excellent training site for beginners, with a scaffolding platform structure in the dedicated training area - giving dive depth from 1m, 2m, 3m, 5m, 7m and 9m. We often use "Gildy" as a training facility, as it allows us to give our students comfortable depth and easy underwater assembly areas for skills assessment.
he site has a cafe, which serves the usual bar snacks and pub food. In addtion, a well stocked shop allows for "emergency" purchases and a gas filling station complete the picture. The only drawback are the toilets, changing room and showers, which could use a bit of an overhaul. In the summer the site does have quite a few wasps and the geese are quite keen to get some of your food.
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Dosthill Quarry (Staffordshire)
Dosthill Quarry, or Dozzi as it is affectionately called by the divers, is the oldest UK inland dive site. The site is owned by Pauline and Ian Foster, who also run Guildenburg. The site is nestled back behind the local church (entry 50 m to the right of the church). The site is only a 5 min drive from J10M42, making it very accessible to anyone living in the middle of England.
he quarry is surrounded by trees (the falling leaves can cause a visibility problem) and feels nicely enclosed, giving it a pleasant holiday lake feel. The quarry is about 150m by 80m and offers varying depth to about 24m.
ike the other inland sites, a number of “sightseeing” underwater attractions are dotted around the quarry. Generally, visibility is quite good and the diving is pleasant. A small shop, air fill station and a catering van complete the picture. A minor drawback is the current lack of sanitary facilities (portable toilets and container as changing room), which we are promised will be upgraded in the near future.
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raysbury Dive Centre is located conveniently just of the M25 J13 and is easily accessible from London. The site entrance can be a bit difficult to find. The site is very pleasant with a large grass area to spend your time between dives. It is in a nature reserve meaning development is kept at a minimum, which also gives it such a pleasant feel, surrounded by trees.
he lake itself is very shallow, usually no more than 12m in depth, making it a perfect training and beginners site to build up experience. Visibility is usually quite poor, often only a few metres and suffers from algae in the summer. However, on the plus side, it is usually a bit warmer compared to the other inland sites – we have dived there in the summer with water temperatures of 21C.
The site can be very crowded at the weekend, making the area around the entrance areas into the lake very crowded and often visibility is reduced to less than a metre, but swimming north away from the crowd and the visibility improves dramatically.
The shop, filling station and café offer a good service. The only drawback is there are no showers or toilets – being a nature reserve they can’t build them. You have to use the portable toilets in the car park.
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Capernwray is just south of the Lake District just of the M6 J15, making it a long trek for anyone living in the South. However, it is definitely worth the drive and visit. The facilities are one of the best in the country with an excellent café, excellent hot showers and toilet block.
The quarry is about 200m (North to South) by 100m allowing for a varied dive between 5m and 20m in depth. The lack of real depth is compensated by the usually reasonable visibility during mid-week (we have had 15m mid-week, but only 1m at weekends) and the attractions available to have a look at – such as the WWII harbour minesweeper the Podsnap.
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The Blue Lagoon (Buckinghamshire)
he Blue Lagoon is Milton Keynes Sub Aqua Club (MKSAC) own site. The Lake is located in Bletchley, South Milton Keynes. It is a small lake with a maximum depth of approximately 18m.
The lake itself has a few attractions in it and visibility is extremely varied, but is usually, due to the limit on divers relatively good and has a reasonable amount of local wildlife (pike, roach, american crayfish, sponges, snails and mussels).
The site is restricted and does require permission from the local club to be used. The local club website will give you all the details you need to organise a dive trip there.
Visit MKSAC website
eybourne Lake is located near Larkfield in Kent and is easily accessible from London. Leybourne Lakes is a well know water sport centre offering swimming, windsurfing, paddle sports and scuba diving opportunities.
Two of the lakes allow diving, one 8m, the other 11m in depth. The lakes have a number of underwater platforms fitted, making the ideal for teaching and first "open-water" dives.
In addition, a retail dive shop offers "emergency" purchases for anything you have forgotten - including air fills (up to 300 bar) and Nitrox.
Visit Leybourne Lakes website
he Vivian Dive Centre in north Wales is one the emerging small dive centres in the country. The maximum depth is 18m with great visibility (it was a slate quarry, i.e. very little silt).
A slight caution, the quarry borders on the limit to altitude diving, therefore your driving route there and back and dive planning should consider this.
The site has developed well over the years and now offers the full range of services a dedicated dive site requires, air fills, small shop for equipment and spares, changing rooms and toilets.
During the surface intervals, it is only a short walk (2 min.) to some local attractions where food and drink are easily purchased.
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Eight Acre Lake (East Yorkshire)
ight Acre Lake in Yorkshire used to be very shallow and visibility extremely poor. However, in recent years (2009+), the visibility has improved, it is now 3 to 4 metres (which for UK inland isn't too bad).
The maximum depth is reported to be 15m, however, when diving we have never reached much more than 13m.
It is advisable to check opening times with the operator, as it tends to be open Wednesday through to Sunday only, please visit their website for further details
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Spring Lodge Lake - "The Blue Lagoon" (North Yorkshire)
he Blue Lagoon, or its proper name Spring Lodge Lake, is a flooded limestone quarry. The maximum depth is only 11m, but the lack of depth shouldn't discourage.
It is a very pleasant lake to dive, with a nice "beach" access on the eastern lake side (where the car park is).
The on-site facilities are good, shop, cafe, changing rooms, toilets. Again, with it being a smaller site, park parking can be an issue and it is adviseable to check opening times with the operator.
Visit The Blue Lagoon Website