I heard about this pool on the river Teign after an entertaining, chance conversation with a 90 year-old Chagford woman who used to swim here. I stuck a quick request on Facebook for anyone who’d like to come with me to find it, and was immediately contacted by Joe who’s always up for an adventure. It was a sunny, June afternoon, and there were still bluebells in the woods. We found the pool after a protracted scramble down the occasionally treacherous cleave through bogs, trees, rocks and undergrowth. At some point this must have been in regular use as evidenced by the remains of an overgrown boardwalk and a clam bridge downstream from the pool.
The top end of the pool is plugged by massive boulders cloaked in moss, like something out of an Indiana Jones film. Knowing the power of Dartmoor river spates we speculated that these were most likely sent crashing down here in a huge storm many years ago. The water trickles thorough the boulder plug to the pool, and also from a tiny brook through a mini side-gorge. As Joe said: ‘I feel like we’re intruders in a primeval landscape’, and there was indeed a sense that a dinosaur might suddenly materialise from the crazy tangle of undergrowth, mossy boulders, ferns, contorted trees, and oozing peat the colour of dark chocolate.
The water was fresh and surprisingly warm, and as we swam we stirred up swarms of feathery, long- rotted vegetation like baby pterodactyls. We spent 50 minutes swimming and floating, bathed in grass-green light and ivy-green water, sunlight glinting gold, and with just the sound of the river and the birds, and a view of the faraway blue sky and another world through the trees above.
Honey and Joe