Rob Popper: A funnel on the River Itchen that is a man-made weir with deep pools and strong currents, but in a well-contained and well-maintained small basin ideal for swimming and splashing with the whole family. There are steps that lead down into the river and lots of space around for picnicking.
Jumping off the weir into the swirling pool below is exciting and fun, but get advice from locals on avoiding submerged concrete blocks or other hazards - or take some extra time to check for underwater hazards carefully before your first jump.
Cold, fast-moving in places, goes from shallow near the steps to very deep near the weir. Fast current means that it is sort of like swimming in an endless pool.
Jumping off the weir into the swirling pool below is exciting and fun, but be careful of submerged concrete blocks or other hazards and take some extra time to check for other underwater hazards before your first jump.
Kate Rew: Part of the beauty of this spot for me was being able to get in here. Hampshire is a land of clear shallow streams, crowfoot and trout, begging the swimmer to get in... except it also belongs in large part to fisherman, who pay a lot, and keep swimmers out. The Test and Itchen are largely unswimmable I believe because of this, but at Compton Lock there's a swimming spot in the Itchen by an old abandoned weir. Plus picnicking in long grass full of buttercups, nettles and cow pats. When I went it was full of children doing double keen drops into the water, and going around and around in circles jump in, swim out, jump in, swim out.... while two girls jammed into a large rubber ring like chatty Siamese twins spiraled about with uncoordinated kicks playing dodgems with other bathers. A constant heavy hum of the M3 and bird chatter in the background, as teenagers do revision on the banks. The water was warm and refreshing, and the meadow rimmed by oaks.
Potentially sharp stones - river shoes may be a good idea - and there are always dangers involved in jumping....
Magnus Weighton: Best enjoyed almost anytime of day. The locals are friendly and used to people swimming here.
A shallow bit just downstream that could be OK for younger kids.
Sharp stones and large submerged concrete blocks by the weir - know where your jumping!