Wild swimming spots in Cornwall
Cornwall’s beautiful coastline and rugged countryside is right on our doorstep, and there are so many places to enjoy a swim that offer something a little different than a dip in the sea. Although the wide open ocean might seem like an obvious place to go for a swim, we’ve rounded up our top five wild swimming spots that you may not have heard about, perfect for swimming in without having to dodge any waves or surfers.
Wild swimming in Cornwall
Open from early March to late October, Jubilee Pool is a fantastic place to enjoy natural seawater in a safe, controlled environment. High walls protect visitors from any offshore winds, and the pool has a smaller bathing pool for toddlers and younger children. The pool is the UK’s largest seawater lido, and was officially reopened by Prince Charles in 2016 after having been closed for a number of years. The first stage of plans to heat a section of the pool using geothermal energy has now also begun, with mechanics drilling down and tapping into a deep geothermal well which will eventually produce bathing waters of around 35°C.
Partly man-made and partly natural, Bude Sea Pool is a brilliant wild swimming pool tucked beneath the cliff at the northern side of Summerleaze Beach, providing a safe haven for swimmers who can enjoy the benefits of wild swimming without having to worry about the dangers of the sea. Originally constructed in the 1930’s, the pool is 91 metres long and acts as a major draw for visitors to Bude, naturally refilling at high tide each day. All public funding for the pool was withdrawn in 2010, and it has since been maintained solely by the Friends of Bude Sea Pool, which rely on donations from supporters. The pool is completely free to enjoy and is used for a number of purposes, including surf life saving and swimming lessons, and it’s only 100 meters from our hotel, so remember your swimmers.
(Read our interview with a Friends of Bude Sea Pool member to find out more about the incredible efforts that go into maintaining it: http://www.thebeachatbude.co.uk/insight-bude-sea-pool/.)
As if Perranporth’s three-mile stretch of golden sand isn’t enough of an attraction, the beach also houses a natural tidal pool within Chapel Rock, a large sea stack that juts out from the cliffs at the southern end of the beach. Being quite small, the pool is naturally warmed from the sun in the summer months, and provides a brilliant area for children to learn to swim, snorkel and dive. The tide can come in quite fast at this beach, so visitors are warned to keep an eye on it.
A small village and fishing port on the north coast of Cornwall, Portreath is located between St Ives and St Agnes, and on the north side of the beach the harbour wall shelters a small tidal swimming pool that’s perfect for relaxing in whilst watching the waves roll into the bay. The pool isn’t quite big enough to swim laps in, resembling a hot tub rather than a swimming pool, but it’s a great place to relax while the children scramble over the rocks and discover the local marine life.
Although not particularly glamorous sounding, Goldiggins Quarry is a beautiful, clear spring fed quarry lake in a sheltered spot on Bodmin Moor. With flat ledges for jumping into the deeper parts of the water, the surrounding grass banks provide perfect places to enjoy a picnic or sunbathe. The wild landscape also means there are some great walking routes nearby, navigating around and across towering granite tors jutting out from the moorland. The nearest carpark is over a mile away from the quarry and there are limited local amenities, so we’d recommend taking lots of water to stay hydrated in hotter weather.
Please be responsible when taking part in wild swimming activities at attractions that are not lifeguarded and never jump into water if you’re not sure of its depth.