Wild swimming on Dartmoor

Foggintor Quarry
Shilley Pool,  near Okehampton

Its one of Dartmoor’s best kept in the wild swimming community. It can be found just below Blackaton Brook which feeds the tarn, It was featured in Roger Deakins timeless book, waterlog, which gives it its cult type status amongst wild swimmers. If you haven’t read the book it’s a must.

It’s a little tricky to find as its It is off the beaten track. Beware of unsteady ground as they may be peat  bogs, particularly in the area known as Raybarrow Pool which carries the infamous reputation as one of Dartmoor’s most dangerous mires. For that reason, please plan your route and try to stick to an obvious path as much as you can.


Haytor Quarry Pools, near Bovey Tracey

Haytor Quarry finds itself in the most picturesque location, surrounded by sweeping hills lands and ancient footpaths. With its naturally rock sides keeps the pool out of the wind making it a great spot in the colder months. It does have some deep sections that may feel quite cold, so be careful and get us to the waters temperature before you take the plunge.

Sharrah Pool, near Poundsgate

This spot is simply beautiful and really easy to get to. Head to the nearest car park by the bridge and walk upstream along the obvious path to the left or the river.

This can become quite busy in warmer months as its quite easy to reach from Plymouth and Exeter so head out early if possible. Beacause of its easy access it doen prove popular with dog walkers and ramblers. That said it is definitely one for your list. The water is ice cold and crystal clear, the small rapids and drops makes it a fun spot for all the family. It is set deep in the heart of the woods, its steep rocky and tree strewn sides it can give the impression that your in a set from Lord of the Rings.

Spitchwick Common, near Ashburton

The waters of Spitchwick Common, also known as Deeper Marsh remain one of Dartmoor’s most cherished wild swimming locations. This is still the river Dart and is best just downstream of the Dart Gorge. It is close to Spitchwick Manor and the historic grounds of Buckfast Abbey. The town of Ashburton is also worth a visit for a cream tea. This is known as the gateway to Dartmoor!

Salmon Leaps, near Chagford

Based on the banks of the River Teign, to the West of Dartmoor. It is situated at the foot of Castle Drogo now owned by the National Trust.  If you have time take a walk around the castle grounds, the views from here are very dramatic. If you follow the trail down to the river from the main car park you may even find the Fingle Bridge Inn on your way. You may need a wetsuit if you fancied sliding between the series of small pools in the river.

Cullever Steps Pool, Belstone, North West of Dartmoor

A short drive from the A30 who will find the picturesque village called Belstone. Here you will find the Cullever steps. This is one of the smaller pools on our list but still well worth the trip. Not far from the pool is the charming village of Belstone where you’ll find the Tors Inn, a very quaint and homely Inn.

Cowsic Waterfall Pool, Two Bridges

This is one of our favourite spots, as we only live a stones throw away. It is set near the ancient and mystical Wistman’s Woods. You can park opposite the Two Bridges Inn, and follow the track which runs alongside the Cowsic River. Follow this upstream, towards Beardown Farm. You may need to scramble down to the waters edge, so please be careful if you have small children or dogs with you.

Foggintor Quarry

One of the easiest places to walk into, it’s on the edge of Princetown on the road heading back to Tavistock. You will need to park near the road and follow the wide track (suitable for off-road vehicles but unfortunately it can be used as its private) inland for a short distance before you reach the quarry on your left. It does get quite foggy here, hence the name but that adds to the ambience. Please note that the quarry is very deep and the water is very dark so go careful getting in.


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