One woman's wild swimming adventures in the west country

The Spell of Bel Pool

Glorious sunshine; the scent of bluebells; May trees exploding; a soft carpet of grasses, wood anemones, mosses and leftover autumn leaves. As we walk, I watch the sky glaring blue through illuminated young oak leaves. I briefly mistake a yellow-green Brimstone butterfly for a magically animated leaf.

We arrive at Bel Pool, a beguiling potion of reflected sun, frog-green light, dappled amber water and sparkling rapids. I climb in over a tree skeleton, washed here over the winter. The rocks below the surface are slippery, and I reach out to grab one near the surface. It feels like a hairy thigh with its patchy moss pelt. It’s the warmest water I’ve swum in this year, but still tastes fresh and lovely as I push upstream.

I hear a tinkling like raindrops and feel the chill emanating from the dank rock fissure near the iron ladder that leads down the rock face to the river.  Swimming quickly past, the sun warms my back till I meet the rapids and push into the flume. I sink slightly and whoosh down among the bubbles towards the luteous glow at the lower end of the pool.


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2 thoughts on “The Spell of Bel Pool

  1. My daughter’s favourite swimming spot and on one of my favourite walks – the Dart Gorge.

  2. Ah, another swimmer! It’s a wonderful spot on a wonderful river…

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