The Best Wild Swimming Spots on Dartmoor

Posted by Izzi Beresford on

Our Top 4 Wild Swimming Spots on Dartmoor!


If you follow us on Instagram you will have seen how often we try and get ourselves up to Dartmoor and swim in some of the beautiful spots there. We get so many messages asking where we go, so we’ve put together this blog to share with you some of our favourite places. 


Wild swimming has been a practice that has really helped us through the ups and downs, which come with starting and growing a business. Whenever we’ve felt swamped or burnt out we go to Dartmoor and get in the river. Once our heads go under it’s as if all the static surrounding our minds is instantly cleared and we can find that moment of pause amongst the fast pace of start-up life.


There are so many benefits that come with cold water immersion, which we’ve written another blog post on if you’re interested. But below are the directions to some of our favourite places.


Newbridge Car Park - The River Dart:

  • Start at Newbridge car park - this is actually the place to park for many of our favourite spots.
  • Spitchwick is to the left of the car park (under the bridge) and although its beautiful it gets very crowded so we don’t really go there. 
  • Face the river, head right and follow the natural path through the trees. There’s a few fields surrounded by stone walls, walk around them and when you come to a fork by lots of ferns you can either turn left or continue ahead. We usually go left and this drops you right down on to the river. 
  • When its been raining this part creates a nice little dipping pool but if there’s not been much rain its better to keep going.
  • One of the secret spots we call “the beach”.  When you notice the river forking around a small island this is the place you want to get to. There used to be an old metal bridge but it has broken and been washed away. You can still see the start of the stone steps just before the river merges into one again. 
  • Cross here if its not too high or fast flowing, you will need to take your shoes off and get a bit wet but its absolutely worth it. On the other side of the island it opens out onto a small sandy beach, its nice and deep here so you can have a proper swim and the cliffs look like something out of jurassic park!
  • If you continue on, without crossing to that Island you will find many spots along that trail. We would recommend walking as far as you pass 3 separate islands that the river forks around. If you cross onto the second Island and walk to the end of it, there’s a place you can get in. Or if you keep walking to the 3rd island there’s a deep pool which you can dive into.
  • This walk is relatively easy and is only about 40 minutes from the car park. But if you’re up for a bit of a scramble, keep going, there’s lots of amazing places to get in further on.


Venford Reservoir Car Park Mel Pool:

  • Park at Venford Reservoir car park, and walk out onto the moor land, on your right is an iron fence. Cut down the hill alongside the iron fence and you will come across a small stream.
  • Follow the stream and it will start to lead you down hill. Its a bit rocky and overgrown but keep going, when you see the waterfall you know you’re heading in the right direction.
  • A little way after the waterfall cross over when you can, and follow the path. This will lead you down to the river. Theres loads of places to get in if you walk along it.


Bel Tor Car Park:

  • There’s 2 options with this part of the river, you can also park at Bel Tor and walk down the other side. 
  • To find this route it took us 4 separate trips! It’s easy enough once you know, but in the summer it can be really tricky as it gets so overgrown with beautiful ferns and bushes. 
  • Pull in at the Bel Tor car park and walk straight down, turn left and head towards the rocks. Once you hit the space where the rocks are turn to your right and get as close to the field wall as possible and follow it down. It’s a bit of a maze, unless you find the route near the stone wall, the bushes are too thick to get through. Once you pass this small curved tree and start to drop down into the trees line you’ve found it! From there just keep following the stream downwards until you reach the river.  Turn left, and you can walk down side of the river, there are so many beautiful spots to discover here.


Cullevers Steps:

  • This is quite easy to find if you search it online. Its on the moors and less sheltered than the other places.
  • Once you pull in, head down the slope and turn to the left. You will see a small but deep enough pool. This one gets pretty cold but is worth it.


There are so many more places, but we will leave you with these for now! Let us know how you get on and if you discover any others you think we should add!