The Best Wild Swimming Spots in Devon


Many people are abandoning the monotony of swimming pools and opting for the invigorating experience and natural beauty of open water swimming. Devon, with its breathtaking landscapes and health benefits, is the perfect destination for this hobby. With its two coasts, including the stunning Jurassic Coast in the east, there is a multitude of beaches to discover. However, Devon offers more than just beaches; it boasts a variety of lakes and rivers that are perfect for wild swimming. To assist you in selecting your next swim location, we have compiled a list of the top wild swimming spots in Devon.

Wild Swimming Safety Equipment

  • Tow Float/Dry Bag: These floats are crucial for water safety, making you highly visible to watercraft and rescue teams.
  • Swim cap: Swim caps not only increase your visibility in the water but also provide warmth in cold water.
  • Wetsuit: Wetsuits are especially important for winter swimming, creating a protective layer of warmer water around you.
  • Whistle and light: Attaching a whistle and light to your float can quickly and effectively attract attention during emergencies, potentially saving lives.

For more information on safety tips for wild swimming, check out our blog.

Anstey’s Cove

Location: Torquay

Anstey's Cove is an ideal beach for both experienced and novice open water swimmers.

The calm and crystal-clear waters make it perfect for a sea swim. If you're a beginner and need some guidance, coasteering experiences are available to help you gain confidence in your first few sea swims.

You can also enjoy snorkelling here to explore the diverse aquatic wildlife, including plants, seaweed, fish, and sometimes even seals.

Remember to treat these wild animals with respect while enjoying the beautiful sights.

Sharrah Pool

Location: Holne

Sharrah Pool, located in Holne Woods, is a well-known outdoor swimming spot. This 100m long pool in the River Dart offers a magical experience with its fresh, deep, and cold flowing water.

It provides various attractions such as a small waterfall to explore, a grassy area for picnics, and granite stones for sunbathing.

It's important to note that swimming should be avoided here after heavy rain as it can make the river dangerous due to increased speed.

To reach Sharrah Pool, it is recommended to park at Newbridge and take a leisurely 2-mile walk upstream through the ancient trees of Holne Woods. Proper footwear is advised for the walk.


Location: Staverton

The River Dart also flows through the village of Staverton with a warmer area of the river running past Staverton Railway Station.

Simply walk down the path from the station for 350m and you’ll reach an area of the river that’s perfect for doing some swimming laps.

The wild swimming water above the weir is deep, slow flowing, and dark due to the shade of the high trees along the riverside.

However, one thing you need to be careful of when swimming in this section of the river is a rock that is hidden under the water.

South Milton Sands

Location: Near Thurlestone

Located on Devon's south coast, in close proximity to Salcombe and Kingsbridge, lies the enchanting South Milton Sands.

This exquisite National Trust beach offers a plethora of conveniences, including a charming beachside cafe, public toilets, and a spacious car park right at the beach's doorstep. It caters to all your needs for a memorable seaside excursion.

With its diverse aquatic landscapes, South Milton Sands presents an enticing opportunity for both seasoned and novice swimmers to indulge in a captivating swim.

For optimal enjoyment, it is advisable to swim during high tide when you can embark on a thrilling 200m loop from the shore, passing under the majestic Thurlestone Rock arch, and returning to the shoreline.

Additionally, near Thurlestone Rock, a captivating reef awaits, making it essential to equip yourself with goggles or a snorkel to fully immerse in the local underwater wonders.

Sugary Cove

Location: Dartmouth

Sugary Cove, situated at the mouth of the River Dart, is a charming and tranquil beach. It's conveniently located just a mile away from Dartmouth town centre and in close proximity to Dartmouth Castle. Unlike other crowded beaches nearby, Sugary Cove offers a peaceful retreat.

Here, you can enjoy the company of seals and occasional dog walkers, away from the hustle and bustle. After a refreshing swim, you can have a picnic on the grassy area overlooking the beach.

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