The weather is cranking up – grab your pals and your swimmers and dive into some of the best wild swimming spots North Devon has to offer...
Tunnels Beach, Ilfracombe –walk through a series of 4 hand carved rocky tunnels to reach this truly unique wild swimming gem. Enjoy learning about the history (and Victorian etiquette faux pas’ dating back to the 1820s when sea swimming was all the rage!) before taking a dip in the tidal rock pool. It’s even been rated the 3rd best beach for rock pooling in the UK by BBC Wildlife Magazine so get their early!
Seawater Pool, Westward Ho! – half sea, half swimming pool! The perfect destination for you and some friends to have a gentle introduction to wild swimming. Created in1856 for visitors to take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean and experience the health benefits. Not much has changed in all that time and a snazzy refurb in 2015means it’s just as popular now!
Broad Sands Beach – tucked away amongst the rugged coastline between Watermouth and Come Martin, this gorgeous shingle beach is not for the faint-hearted – with approx. 240 steep steps to negotiate on the way down. It’s totally worth it for the enjoyment of this remote location and stunning backdrop – there is literally nothing here! The beach is well sheltered, so you can dry in the sun after a sea dip. But be aware, there is no lifeguard so follow the open swimming guidance and remain with others.
Long Pool, Watersmeet – if you can cope with the cold, after enjoying the waterfall and plunge pools opposite the National Trust tea shop, trek up the wooded valley for 1.5km to find LongPool in a ravine surrounded by ferns and oak trees. Take the plunge if you dare(it is very deep so please take care) but less hardy wild swimmers may wish to wear a wetsuit to last a little longer!
Plunge Pools, the River Barle – why not try a river swim if you fancy a change from salty water! Located between Withypool and Simonsbath on the Two Moors Way, you’ll find the plunge pools of the Barle, near the ancient hill fort ‘CowCastle’. Depths of 1.5m means you can get a good dunking and spot some wildlife too!
Before swimming in any of the above spots, you should read the guidance here for open water swimmers in England,Scotland and Wales, and ensure appropriate safety precautions are taken.