Go Wild for Open Water Swimming on Dartmoor

Go Wild for Open Water Swimming on Dartmoor

It’s probably one of the most iconic of Devon’s beautiful landscape areas, and whether you’re a fan of coast or countryside, this beautiful National Park offers some of the most incredible days out. From long walks exploring the rustic countryside landscape to following the trail of the dramatic Tors that scatter the land, there is arguably no end to the unspoilt character of one of our favourite places to spend a day out.

Many of our guests often ask us for the best places to eat, our favourite walks or even just places to park, but a question which so many people overlook is, ‘Where can I try my hand at open water swimming?’ Here at Fresh Escapes, our team know first-hand that taking to the water in the pools that scatter the land is one of the most exhilarating and thrilling ways to truly experience Devon in its natural state. Whilst plunging into pools of cold water may be a shock to the system at first, it’s the adrenaline and the thrill that will surely give you something to remember and is sure to be the perfect remedy to the cabin-fever sensation of lockdown.

We’ve taken some time to put together a few of our favourite places to take the plunge with a breathtaking Dartmoor swim

sharrah Pool

Weaving through the forest path that parallels the river approach to Sharrah Pool, it’s difficult to think that the windy rapids carved into the landscape by flowing water could turn into a clear, stunning pool of perfect swimming water… but that’s just what you get with Sharrah Pool

Easily one of our favourite spots for an open water swim, Sharrah Pool can be found by weaving the ups and downs of the moor and heading past a waterfall. Once you’ve passed this, you soon see why this beautiful spot is a keen favourite for both novice and well-versed open water swimmers alike. Whilst it’s a fair walk from the car park (nearly an hour if you take time to enjoy the landscape around you!) it’s certainly worth the wait, so don’t let that deter you. Once at the pool, clear waters surround you and a wide expanse of cold deep water will provide the shock to the system that will get you feeling energised and uplifted.

Find the route to Sharrah Pool here…

Open Water Swimmer on Dartmoor National Park
Salmon Leap open water swimming spot on Dartmoor National Park

Salmon Leaps

Flowing into a series of Victorian plunge pools, Salmon Leaps is a long stretch of open water on the river Teign, nestled in the secluded woodlands of West Dartmoor.

The thrill and attraction of this particular spot is clear – you’ve got a choice of calmer waters, or of feeling the rush from flowing rapids in the plunge pools. The name ‘Salmon Leaps’ comes form the nature of the pool in Autumn, when it is more common to find salmon joining swimmers in the water and leaping through the plunge pools. The pool sits at the foot of Castle Drogo and is accessible on foot, just a short walk from their car park. Alternatively you can pass the weir on the Fingle Bridge walk

Take a look at vlogger Kat’s ‘Wild Swimming Walk’ on Dartmoor from Castle Drogo to Fingle Bridge…


The Meeting House in Ashburton, on the edge of Dartmoor
The Meeting House, Ashburton

Steeped in character, history and charm, this iconic house in the centre of the charming town of Ashburton provides a gateway for walkers, four legged friends and groups of up to ten to enjoy the delights of Dartmoor, whilst sitting in an enviable position from the coast also.

Explore The Meeting House

Swifts Return Holiday Cottage Dartmoor
Swifts Return, Dartmoor

Featuring a private wood-fired hot tub, perfect for warming up after the chill of an open-water swim, this romantic bolthole for two sits in an exclusive residence on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. Choose this as your next Devon holiday destination and you’ll also enjoy access to a sauna and pool, for ultimate facilities and comfort

Take a Dip at Swifts Return

Strelna Coach House in Bovey Tracey
Strelna Coach House, Bovey Tracey

If you’re looking for a property literally on the gateway to the moor, look no further than the eclectic and characterful Strelna Coach House. An historic property dating back to the 1800s, this converted coach house effortlessly blends character charm with modern comforts, making this the ultimate choice for comfortable family getaways

Open the Gate to Strelna Coach House