Adam Smith: This stretch of the Thames to New Bridge is one of the most prettiest parts of the river in my opinion. A very remote spot that will offer that true wild swim experience. There is plenty of wild life to see (and hear) and the Rose Revived public house at the end of the swim does keep a reasonable pint.
The river twists and turns and varies in depth - some places it is as shallow as a few feet up to twelve feet deep in some parts.
Chimney Meadows is a site of scientific interest and the hamlet of Chimney has no parking, however a public carpark is provided just north of Chimney itself. If you do try to park in the village you will get irate villagers berating you or worse run the risk of agricultural vehicles clipping your cars. The walk to Shifford Lock is about 10 minutes over rough grass lanes and through lovely woods. You will go over a large wooden bridge, and then immediately turn right (follow the Thames Path) throgh the wood until you get to another smaller foot bridge, do not cross but get in at the bottom of the weir and swim away. The water is deep here and ironically offers a very nice spot for skinny dipping even though it is right on the Thames Path and next to the Lock Keeper's house.
There is a relatively lot of boat traffic during the holiday season or sunny weekend, and as you get nearer to New Bridge you will encounter small electric boats that one of the Pubs on the bridge itself, rent out to the general public. There is also some fishing, but the main hazard is the remoteness of this swim. Once you get going, you can be over a mile from any civilization, so if you get in to any difficulties you are relying on passing boat traffic of the odd walker on the Thames path to help, so be careful. Some of the shallow banks can be deceptive in that they look like you should be able to walk out, but end up being waist high in mud so be careful.