One woman's wild swimming adventures in the west country

Bel Pool

Bel Pool

Bel Pool

Luscious green vegetation ruffled by a cheeky breeze that gathers and flings birdsong in snatches. Brimstone butterflies, bluebells about to burst, wood anemones. Golden green light and a warm spring sun. Bel Pool looks still from the lower end, cuddled by trees in new leaf. My bare feet slither on silted rocks in the shallows, and I cling to the debarked fallen tree that’s been there ages. I can’t imagine how it’s survived the huge winter spates. When I swim the water’s far colder than expected; 10 at most. The little rapids at the top rush into sight and hearing together, just where the black, dripping crack in the side of the gorge sneaks into my peripheral vision. Here spring is sucked from the air and I can almost see trolls sidling out. Honey puffs to the island and boings off after a scent. My skin is flushed with cold and burning as I dry off.


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8 thoughts on “Bel Pool

  1. That’s one of my daughter’s favourite swimming holes, but she tends to go from the ledge. Rocky can’t get down to it so she has to swim him in from the end you swam from. Think she’ll be leaving it a week or two yet!

    • I like to jump in, but my back’s still way too fragile for that! Honey wandered up at one point and was about to climb down the ladder; I managed to divert her by swimming back down. The water last week was up to 12 degrees, but it’s definitely cooled again with the nippy nights.

  2. What did you do to your back? Sounds as though it is in a bad way.

  3. Much better, facet joint inflammation and bulging disc…occupational hazard!

  4. Eric Cowsill on said:

    Interesting to see this post and photograph. I was in Bel Pool myself on Sunday (twice). It was a little cold and, being quite new to open water swimming, I am not yet acclimatised. You certainly know you are alive. It was not a long duration swim! I have had a few dips in the Dart recently – much to the bewilderment of my pack of dogs – and it is quite liberating!

    Date: Tue, 6 May 2014 13:17:57 +0000 To: ecs56@live.com

  5. Beautifully described Lynne, the water looks deceptively warm!

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