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Wild Swimming: The Dartmoor Edition

Wild Swimming: The Dartmoor Edition

As the summer months are pending, it is time to start looking at some amazing wild swimming destinations across the UK. They make the perfect weekend escape and allow us to reconnect with nature after weekdays of sitting and screens. The spotlight in this article is on Dartmoor, situated in the beautiful county of Devon.


Wild Swimming, Dartmoor


Wild Swimming, Dartmoor


The picturesque landscape, from river valleys to moorlands, are the perfect grounds for exploration on your trip – and there are some truly unique wild swimming spots to stop off and cool down in. In these Wild Swimming article series, we include the coordinates of each location, which you can copy and paste into Google or Google Maps to plan your route and explore the setting further via Street View. Let’s take a look at four of the very best wild swimming spots in Dartmoor… 

Sugary Cove - 50.3402° N, 3.5669° W 

At the very mouth of River Dart, this secluded beach will make you forget you are still in the UK for a moment. With cliff walls either side and an expanse of open water, it’s quite the spot for amazing photographs on a sunny day. Access is via some steep steps, but it is dog and child friendly with supervision. On a hot day, you could spend hours here, soaking up the sun trap and the views. 

Haytor Quarry - 50°34′45″N 3°45′21″W  

Dartmoor is home to a lot of quarries – many are now disused. This creates features that make the area popular with walkers and climbers looking for some challenging routes to complete. Haytor Quarry is situated on the east side of Dartmoor National Park and is renowned for being a quiet and scenic location. The quarry itself provides towering rock faces around the pools, which is a perfect backdrop for some wild swimming in Dartmoor.

Sharrah Pool - 50°31'45.1"N, 3°50'20.4"W 

This is quite possibly one of Dartmoor’s best swimming spots. The banks of the pool are lined with trees that, under sunlight, deliver a beautiful dappling of shadows across the water. There are deep and shallow areas, and even fast running water in parts (nothing dangerous). Emma Croman of Tide blog provides excellent first-hand insight in her Sharrah Pool Review: 

“It’s an absolute beauty of a fairly undulating amble that is spectacular in its own right. Views of the rushing river and the deep scent of forest fern is nourishing and dense. The ground underfoot become knobbly and bumpy so you’ll need fairly good footwear.” 

Spitchwick Common - 50.5266° N, -3.8155° W 

Situated in Widecombe-in-the-Moor parish, Spitchwick Common is very popular for wild swimming. It can get quite busy in summer months but is certainly worth a trip to get your feet wet. The river has a peat bed and is very clean, and there’s plenty of areas surrounding the water that are ideal for dogs to roam, children to play and families to pitch up for the day having picnics. 
If you are planning to visit Dartmoor this summer, adding these four spots to your wild swimming hitlist would be a good idea in our books. Plan your route ahead, don’t forget your kit, and enjoy the sunshine and water in one of the UK’s most idyllic spots!