During the summer months, one of the nicest places to swim in Devon is Chagford’s Open Air Swimming Pool, on Dartmoor.
The swimming pool is stream fed, and that means it needs much less chlorine than many other pools. It’s heated though – so it’s a lot warmer than some of the wild swimming spots on Dartmoor, like the pool between Belstone and Sticklepath or the river at Fingle Bridge. The stream runs right next to the swimming pool – look over the railing and you’ll see duck weed and flowing water. But on the pool side it’s filtered, monitored, and as crystal clear as you’d expect anywhere.
Chagford Open Air Swimming Pool uses solar heating and air source heat pumps, and generally the water is about 27 degrees – not ‘hot’ like a leisure pool, but warmer than most beaches. And there’s always the tea shack if you’re there in the afternoon. It serves tea coffee hot chocolate and snacks to refuel you. Drinks are served in proper, reusable Chagford Swimming Pool mugs – a nice touch.
When we last went it cost £4.50 for adults and £2.50 for children. Check the timetable for sessions – there’s lane swimming, family swimming etc and the pool is cleared between sessions.
It’s about 13 miles or 22km from Wheatland Farm’s Devon Eco Lodges, and takes less than 30 minutes to get there, making it no further from the lodges than the more conventional pools at Okehampton or Crediton. However, arriving can be disconcerting. Your sat nav tells you you’re just a few hundred metres away, yet you’re going down a narrow Devon lane with fields either side. And when you arrive, the car park is small (but there’s usually over flow parking in a neighbouring field).
Being open air, the pool has a limited season, generally opening only for the summer months, so if you’re thinking about some cold water swimming in the cooler times of year, do check opening details before setting off. Similarly, numbers will be capped at busy times, so if it’s a blazing summer day perhaps ring ahead to get a feel of things, as at time of posting you couldn’t book ahead.